Intermedia Studio Critique

Self-Evaluation Essay

You will write a substantial self-evaluation essay (think 1000 words). This paper should form a key critical grounding for your studio work. To this end, the self-evaluation should cover three principal aspects of your work over the semester

  1. It should contextualize your explorations by connecting your studio research with historical and theoretical investigations.
  2. It should demonstrate your conceptual growth by documenting the morphology of your thought process through the semester.
  3. It should offer a self evaluation of your work highlighting your successes and failures.

The Paper will be evaluated in accordance with graduate -level college writing standards and expectations.

 

 

The semester began in a state of confusion. I did not have a good understanding of what was expected of me. This is not the fault of any single person. It is only the result of lots of information and very little contextual understanding. I set aside projects that I wanted to do because I misunderstood advice I was given. I worried about not working enough because I thought all the talk about creativity was a warning not to be disengaged (lazy). I had no idea what kind of common thread I wanted to use to bring my work together. It was all a sort of overwhelming tangle of conflicting thoughts. I made three different studio plans. Each one progressively removed the subjects of greatest interest to me and I settled on one that I felt might provide some answers. I would love to say that I was fully cognizant of my self-experimentation, but I am not sure that was the case. I think it was a rather desperate bid to figure something, anything out. It might not have been the most interesting possible subject, but the act of deciding helped settle me down and figure out how to start. In that context, the semester really started on September 27th.

Beginning studio work provided a period of important concentration. I began to settle in and distribute my time between projects. I completed more than half of my miniature paintings in the time between September 27th and October 27th. I worked diligently and with significant focus. I bought the White Chapel book on Time and used it as a reference to try and think about the nature of time spent on my work. This was very interesting but not very helpful. I quickly realized that my focus was really on data and work rather than time. I knew that I was asking the question, “How does the process of creating influence understanding of the product.” I shifted my research to an attempt to calculate all of the hours that went into the production of a single piece. I wanted to include my own hours spent painting as well as the time producing, shipping and purchasing materials. This process sis currently ongoing. Not all of the data is easily obtained. It requires correspondence with manufacturers who are not always forthcoming. Then I wanted to expand into more indirect influences like food, medical care, shelter and mental health. The indirect influences were harder because I couldn’t find a way to compare it all. Dollars did not work because that was not an adequate measure of work. I read a few papers on Economic Cost Benefit analysis that showed systems by which disparate data could be assigned worth based on a unified system.  I tried to compile it but it really did not work so I dismissed that part of the idea and moved on.

When I got sick around October 25th. I went through a period of decreased concentration. I continued to paint and I also added several of my smaller projects during this time. The lapse in concentration had more to do with research. I was so exhausted from lack of sleep that I had a hard time keeping up the pace of researching. I tried to stay productive by focusing on the simpler tasks for as long as I could. Unfortunately, the illness dragged on for several weeks and I got somewhat behind.

I got better and picked back up again around November 22. I felt terribly behind. I resumed my research and came to the unhappy conclusion that my primary project was not very interesting. I had lots of data and lots of paintings but everything I had done to tie them together seemed ineffective. I presented the project on November 29th and received some valuable feedback. I decided that the work could be continued as part of a bigger project. I started thinking more and more about the aspect of work. That is when I decided that instead of just resenting the graphs, I would submit the work along with all of the things that went into its creation so that I could attempt to connect the finished products with the process that went into them. I went through several versions of this before I settled on the final product.

I presented that project in the final presentation and received more feedback. The feedback was dominantly in keeping with my own thoughts. However, two things stood out. Jolene said the project needed more. She was entirely right. The ironic thing is, that I could easily have added more. I thought of it but I removed the things that would have been more impactful because I felt like I was being too silly. That is very much a psychological issue that needs to be broken. I always seem to think that if it is too silly and fun I need to keep it as some kind of side project rather than a primary focus. In this case, the “silly” would not have been silly at all and would have added impact to the project. The second comment was from Owen. He said that it was muddled. This was also true. It reflects the numerous changes that I made throughout the project. My concept started in one place and ended up somewhere else. I struggled to find a way to tie it all together and make it cohesive. I think that I could continue the project and do something better with it, but I have not decided if I want to or not. I will continue to paint but I may let the project stand as it is. The most likely option is that I will take part of the project and create a book from it in some later semester.

This semester I feel that my work was successful over all but failed in some specific components. The final project did not remain true to the initial concept. It was also a failure as a personal experiment. I thought that if I made charts of all the time spent working, I would learn something to improve my work process but I only learned that my work process does not need to be improved. Timing myself was a stressful experience. I have never minded if work takes me a long time. It is in my nature to be dedicated  and patient. I like the way it feels to absorb myself in a task. Timing myself made me feel pressured to hurry but I did not have the ability to hurry very much. I ended up just deciding not to do thing that I knew would take an excessive amount of time. I probably dismissed  some very good ideas because I was afraid of spending too much time. That is not good and it is not necessary. I am never lazy and I almost always finish what I start. If I don’t finish, there is a good reason not a lack of dedication. While it is good not to overextend myself, once I decide to do something, I need to allow myself to work on art in the same way that I always have.

The final project was successful because I learned how to follow a path from beginning to end, despite the detours. I also learned what is expected of a final exhibition. I have never had to think that much about display except in the content of selling, which is quite different from other kinds of exhibit. That was probably the most valuable thing I did all semester. I understand now that I need to start thinking about my audience and my exhibition very early in production so that I can construct it with purpose and precision.

The remainder of my studio work this semester was focused on developing smaller projects that can be continued throughout the following semesters. These projects are listed and discussed in my Final Project review on my Word Press. I am particularly pleased with the revision of my initial Pecha Kucha images. While that project will remain ongoing, I am satisfied with the current iteration. I was also pleased to add a small postcard project, “Dinosaur’s Don’t Love Snow Days.” I wanted to do work with postcards at the beginning of the semester but my plans were too large and I needed to focus on smaller projects. The Dinosaur project was fairly small. It encompassed approximately 12 hours but I feel that I learned a lot from it. I learned that if I create postcards out of my existing art, it is likely to make them more interesting to others and increase the likelihood that they will engage with the project. I also found that using the postcards to record the thoughts of strangers (as well as friend) created a very interesting impression of the community system. It is a project that is worth pursing on a larger scale in the future.

Next semester I hope to continue my work with a stronger and more consistent conceptual base. I plan to explore man and machine relationships. I hope to move from that to the capacity of machines to create art. Some of my existing research from the Interactivity class should help me start the research process. Then I will spend the Christmas holidays studying and preparing to initiate the project. I also plan to institute a larger project using postcards to record community impressions. I hope to have a studio plan ready before the semester begins so that I can plan a vigorous work schedule and a productive second semester.