So often when I’m starting out with a new class, especially my adult classes, I am challenged by the task of taking the fear out of art. Traditional instruction in art often focuses on following the paths of the “masters” and attempting to emulate their work on some level. This style of teaching is not wrong, but it can create unnecessary stress for some people.
I can’t tell you how many students have told me horror stories about how much they used to love painting until their art teacher told them to stop wasting their time. Their art would never be “good enough.” My question is, does it matter if it fits within the rules of “good” art, if it fills a person’s soul while creating it? Art is subjective in the end anyway. I like to say, It’s ok to just play.
As toddlers, hopefully at some point we were given the opportunity to play and explore our world freely, To “see what happens” and experiment, make “mistakes,” problem solve and invent new ways of using the tools given to us. This “creative play” feeds our curiosity and encourages ingenuity. If we were lucky enough to have this opportunity at a young age, then it would make sense that as adults we would want to recapture that feeling we had as young children.
As we get older, we are given the “rules” of art, how to use our tools to create something aesthetically pleasing. We are taught to have a goal in mind when we set out to create and to pursue that goal with purpose. We are given examples of what art is and which art is “good” art. Through this training of how, why, and what, teachers, students and their peers learn how to judge art and that art should be judged.
I say, play. Encourage yourself to explore and be curious about untested techniques and materials. Art allows us to express our ideas, share our stories, bond communities, add beauty and/or character to our spaces and more. There is not one reason to create art, there are millions of reasons to be creative and not necessarily for anyone else, but for ourselves to feed our need to create, connect, and express our unique selves.
With this in mind, I have created a series of workshops and classes that focus on the need to be creative, period. Our programs give students access to art materials, a creative space, and guidance through process driven art activities. The end result is not just a work of art (shared or not), but a sense of creative satisfaction.
-Emily L. Taylor
Founder of Artfulu