Nudibranchia/ A breakthrough

So this year, as in the last few months or so, I’ve felt like I was having a bit of an artistic crisis.  While I was enjoying my work, I didn’t really know what exactly I was trying to do, or why.  I was trying to make my work about a really heavy topic (genetic engineering and the meddling of man), but my work is more…. light and a little bit funny.  I was told my artist statement didn’t match my work, which, in hindsight, I agree with. 

So I felt a little lost.   I kept making work, and continued to play with work I had already made (in my Stride exhibition, as well as other places), and there was no slowing of the ideas there.  But how do I formulate it?  Talk about it?  What exactly was I trying to do?

I spent time with the Morphoids, studied them.  I photographed them in nature, in my house, had other people photograph them in their houses.  I was concerned about display (all on the floor?) and how to present my work to get what I wanted across.  Problem was, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted.

And then I started doing animation.  I did a really short stop-motion animation this semester, mostly because I felt like I had been talking about it for so long, I had to do it before I was finished ACAD.  Again, I wasn’t really sure exactly what the animation would be about. My narratives tend to be really subtle, because we relate to the Morphoids much differently than we relate to, say, other human beings, pets, or even puppets that are intended to resemble human beings.  So I approached the animation with an idea about trying to just observe what the Morphoid might possibly do if we weren’t there.  

While I feel the animation is successful, especially for a first animation, there are some major problems with it, mainly that I don’t really know how to use my mother’s camera.  I had to figure out how to address the problems without redoing the animation, as I didn’t have the time to do it. I had other work to do, and the animation was to try it before I graduated, because I’ve talked about wanting to do it for a year now. The biggest problems  were the jumpiness of the film, the background, and the coloring wasn’t quite right.  So, I decided to frame it like it was newfound old black and white footage of a creature we’ve never seen before.  I think it’s quite effective in this way, although I still want to redo the animation, or do a similar one a little differently.

The timing must have been right with doing this animation. It seems to have solved my context problem.  I needed to sort of explain what the “footage” was and where it came from, so I introduced it as “presented by the Institute of Morphoid Research,” not really thinking too hard about it.  So now I have a context to work in, and am working on developing the IMR and framing my practice by the parameters I am setting up for the IMR. (More on that later.)

A role model of mine, artist Suzen Green said, in one of her recent blog posts, “As a teacher, when I see students struggling with the conceptual side of their work I always tell them to ground themselves in process and the answer will come on its own terms. Making is its own form of meditation. … Answers will make themselves known when [you’re] ready to receive them.”  

Sometimes the answer to a problem you have comes out of something else all together.

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