Memories of Art-Making

The first time we had Painting Performance I wasn’t so excited about it until I walked into our closed off area and saw a few familiar faces, mainly friends from fine art. As several people from our Illustration course moved to Fine Art, I’ve been subconsciously questioning my decision not to. Painting performance gave me the chance to relax and take a breath before we’d even started the key note lecture.

What immediately struck me during this first session was how deeply connected I felt to this sort of art and art-making; I could relate  it to some of my oldest works from years before I started thinking about art school. Later on this type of art helped me through a really dark period in my life, helping me to accept and get over what happened; I was in a state while I was doing both paintings, grabbing blindly for colour, getting violent and messy and splashing and beating and hitting again and again and again with the brush and my hand until there was no more paint left, and then I grabbed for more tubes. I remember my mom coming into the room and trying to calm me down, she didn’t know what was happening and I wasn’t in a state to explain and she ended up yelling at me, which made things worse… there was so much anger, sadness and despair poured into that painting I don’t even know how I didn’t get rid of it after. But once I finished it, I felt a strange sort of release. I’m not carrying all those feelings around in me anymore, they’re out there, on the canvas. They no longer have power over me, I have disconnected myself from them…

I did the second intensely emotional painting soon after, but that time I had experienced something awful recently, I still felt disconnected from the world, in a way, and what happened then flooded me just as fast as I tapped into it and poured it out onto the canvas. This time I wasn’t expelling the emotion and feeling, this time I was using its energy to paint because I had no energy left of my own. I felt empty and lost and it was like I wasn’t even present. I was just following a shape that felt natural, it was forming and expanding on its own, I was just letting it. Whenever I felt like I should maybe change colour I did. I did not question anything about it, which I suppose preserved the purity of the emotion.

I kept both paintings as reminders and proof of personal growth, I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for these experiences and I respect that. As I said, the emotions stored into these paintings are out there, overcome, released from me.

I like how looking at and learning about the history of Performance art brings up memories of intense past experiences overcome with perhaps the ultimate form of expression – Art. I have also noted how I haven’t done anything like this in a while, and how maybe it’s time to get back into it and see where it leaves me. Not to mention what a valuable base for experiments it is.

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