Self Evaluation Essay

Three Aspects of the Self Evaluation Essay

  1. It should ground your explorations in the class by discussing you thinking, research and creative applications of topics considered.
  2. It should demonstrate your awareness and perspectives on creativity and innovation by documenting your thought process through the semester.
  3. It should offer essential evaluative discussions of your own work, highlighting your successes and failures.


Self Evaluation Essay

                Creative Concepts was the most useful class I took this semester.  I began the semester with no real idea of what kind of artist I wanted to be. To be truly honest, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be an artist. I just wanted to learn about art so that I could find out if I had something to say that was worth saying. I had some ideas about what that might be, but they were terribly undeveloped. The Creative Concepts class helped me figure it out. I learned to apply my creativity directly to concepts. It opened my mind about the nature of art and gave me the opportunity to see that maybe I did want to be an artist after all, I just needed to know what art was. It also helped me to develop a mission that can provide direction for the next phase of the program.

I learned to think about concepts rather than skills. So much of my art has been “because I can.” I never had to think very much about why I did anything. I just did it because I wanted to. I think the most important thing I have realized is that “because I wanted to” wasn’t really true. There were reasons and many of those reasons were linked to concepts that I had not articulated. It isn’t the “concept first” approach that I am working towards, but it gave me a place to start figuring out what I cared about. I have been maintaining an Idea Log all semester. Some of the ideas are things that I want to do, but more and move I am able to list the concepts that interest me. There is an entry that says: “Collect Images of mushrooms, symbol key to altered reality but not really, more like intellectual Russian roulette, better off knowing.” This leads to a concept. It asks the question, “How far will we go for experience/knowledge.” I don’t know if I will ever follow through with it, but I know that I could. I saw the mushrooms and I took the picture because I thought of the concept. It wasn’t just because I could.

“What I cared about” was the next phase of my development. I discounted most of the things that I liked the best because I didn’t think they were art. I didn’t think plastic dinosaurs matter to anyone but me. Postcards were just something I did for my Mom. If I collected model ships or made dioramas with a train set, I thought it was something I had to do in my spare time because it couldn’t possibly be anything. When some humorous little image popped into my head I thought I should move on and get back to doing something better. I should make sculptures or work with glass or fold origami. Those things are real art after all. The Concepts class helped me figure out that maybe anything can be “real” art if it  means something and is presented in the right way. My final project in Studio class showed both sides of the issue. On the one hand, I displayed “things” with my paintings and I allowed them to be art in a way that I would not have before. On the other hand, I must not have fully learned my lessons because I pulled away. I resisted. I did not include all the things that I wanted to because I thought it was too silly. Ironically, the criticism session showed that the very things I omitted would probably have improved the project significantly.

The most important part of the class was developing a mission. I had to look at everything I have done and everything we read an all that we talked about and figure out what I needed to say. I needed to find a common thread and I think that I did. I think that most of what I have most enjoyed doing has somehow related to intellectualism. More specifically, it has been about making intellectualism accessible. There seems to be this idea that certain types of intelligence are reserved for certain types of people. If you are not one of those certain types, you don’t get to care. I think we reinforce that as a society. We basically suck every ounce of joy that we can out of learning. We make it work. We treat it like a chore that must be gotten through to get on with a successful life. We are building huge clumps of society in which the people don’t know anything they don’t need to know. Ignorance breeds fear and people are afraid. They are afraid of so many things. They are afraid of science, of technology, of the future and of other cultures and other types of people. They are even afraid of art because it confronts them with what is uncomfortable. I want to create art that encourages people to want to know. If they want to know, maybe they won’t have to be so afraid.

Next semester I am going to apply my mission. I am going to build robots. I am nervous about this because I feel like I don’t know nearly enough to try, but I also know that I need to try. I don’t think I can do what I want to do with the skills I have. I need more. I am going to build robots and I am going to teach them to do art and I am going to find a way to make people like them. I know that seems unimportant, but I don’t think is. The whole idea came to me because I was reading face book responses to a set of robots. Half of the responses were doom and gloom statements about the danger of the technology. It amazed me that so many people could feel that way about something that is really an amazing feat of human intellect. I decided I wanted to try and do something similar but I would focus first on making them appealing. I don’t just mean I want to make them pretty. I want to figure out how people relate to machine and I want to make it better. Then I will teach the robots to create art. I hope that I can learn enough programming to expand my thinking about this. It was partly due to the Creative Concepts class that I feel I have the right to try something like this.

Developing my mission has also helped me to see common threads in my art. At first I thought that my postcards were an anomaly and my love of them had little to do with the mission. Then I made the “Dinosaur’s Don’t Love Snow Days” and I realized that as I was selecting the cards, I always knew that they were public works. I knew  I was sending a message into the world and I selected images and ideas that would promote critical thought. When I made the postcards for Open Studio Night, I did the same thing. I promoted dialogue and I gave people a way to participate in it. The link is subtle, but is there and now that I am aware of it, I can strengthen it in the future.

Ironically, while I learned more from the Concepts Class than any other, my analysis of my own work is not as good. I am often hard on myself, but I am also honest. I know when I do the best that I can. I did the best work I could for Interactivity and for Studio, but  I didn’t do the best I could have done for Creative Concepts. I feel that I could have accomplished more. I let myself get distracted by Interactivity. Then I got distracted by being sick. Then I wanted to improve my Studio projects. It always seemed like something else needed more of my attention. Technically, I put in the hours. I am sure I averaged at least 10 hours a week. I did all of my Creative Responses. I read everything I was supposed to read though I missed a few notes. I participated in class. I met the requirements, but I think I could have done more. I will probably reference the material from this class throughout my time in this program. Hopefully, I have given myself enough foundation to make it effective.