I am a Visual Artist. ‘Visual Arts’ is used to define art that is primarily Visual in nature. It includes ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printing, photography, video, film-making and ‘installation’ (the creating of a temporary unique environment) – any one or a combination of these is used to convey an ‘idea’.
Multi-Sensory Artist is perhaps therefore more apt! My work with Special Needs Schools in particular always reinforces my idea that art is a multi-sensory experience, and not just for the artist but for the viewer too. The more one is aware of this the more one gains from the art. A good example of this is to walk around a sculpture park, visiting the same pieces of sculpture throughout the year: the art is experienced differently as nature gives us crisp bright light or dark dampness, the sounds of the birds or wind in trees, the smell of cut grass or earth from recent rain. All our senses help to determine our interpretation of the piece of art. And a painting seen on a wall in a crowded bustling white cube gallery will be experienced differently when the room is empty and still.
It is for this reason that I also place a lot of emphasis on enjoying the actual process of making art and believe that the focus should not always be on the end result. Some art is transient by nature, made to deteriorate or be weathered by the elements and is often more powerful because of its fleeting quality. I believe that the process of producing art enriches lives, bringing about wellbeing and confidence as well as the opportunity to learn about ourselves and our world.
Whole School projects are constant reminders for me of the importance of the process. There may be an end result in mind of a large stunning piece to be admired and enjoyed for sometime afterwards, but for those that were involved in the process of ‘making’ the art however, the finished piece will also be a tactile reminder of what was a rewarding art ‘experience’: a few hours or days spent discovering their own abilities; of exploring media, form and colour; of working together as part of a team; enjoying joint ownership for something and sharing in the excitement of each other’s ideas. Enjoying the actual process of making art is the key to the feeling of achievement – and by shifting the focus away from the end result, one is more open to experimentation and acceptant of serendipity and that’s good for the artist and their work 🙂