Final Thoughts

In my previous Field Work Term experiences, I was beginning: cutting my teeth in the workforce. Most of my learning in the positions were skills that an experienced worker takes for granted: errand-running, data-entry, short-writing tasks, and unspoken codes of behavior in a workspace. But this field work term I started the position with those skills already which allowed me to focus on observing Cora work, which gave me a lot more resources as an artist. Watching her work, I realized that a lot of the engagement an artist has with material is experimental, a lot like play. Before I thought that I needed to have a clear thought out approach to every mark I make, or else I would just come up with garbage. In hindsight I realize how stupid this was. The best work I have made as an artist has happened when I wasn’t worrying about my execution of the final product. The work I have done when I have had a definite image or concept in my mind has usually does not turn out exactly as imagined leaving me frustrated and disappointed. I think it no longer makes sense for me to work in this way. After this field work term, I have realized that the best thing I can do is to simply experiment in a playful manner within the parameters that I set for myself and with different materials. I learned lot about materials from the artists I worked with. Pigments, dispersant, thickener, and gouache will offer a lot more possibilities with paint than I realized possible. Moreover, I concluded painting is fundamentally a language, and like language every expression need not be perfect or coherent to be effective. I gave automatism a try during field work term with drawings in my sketchbook in my free time after watching Cora work. I found myself starting to grasp my own visual language. I am excited to develop this in my studio art classes this term. I have purchased some of the materials that Cora showed me to experiment with this term, and plan to apply for a grant to get some more. However, this experience also gave me some anxiety about the future. After reading Seven Days in the Art World and helping Cora get ready for her shows, I am beginning to realize just how long it takes to develop your work and gain enough recognition to have your work featured in galleries. Even when you have matured as an artist, you still cannot rely on your paintings to support yourself. Most shows you end up in a group shows, and work in group shows very rarely sells. Getting a solo show is incredibly hard, and you usually only have one ever 4–6 years. Studio space is incredibly hard to come by, and it quite expensive in NYC along with everything else. Most studios have huge waitlist, so most artists rent an entire apartment when they start out and convert one of the rooms into a studio. This has lead me to believe that while I am in school I should also consider develop some other skillsets to put into my tool belt, some that could land a job that would allow me to support myself and still practice art wherever I go. Going forward after my field work term experience I will take what I have learned to work towards developing my practice as a painter. I want to try to emulate artists who grapple with the inchoate, inexpressible sensations and emotions like Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, and Tomma Abts. I look forward to the work that I will create in light of this recent experience.

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