Creating an Original Narrative
So the series had cohesion. There was Proof of Concept. And what I mean by that is, have you ever wandered into a gallery and you see a piece of art where you're just so certain that there was no thought behind that? It's the moment where you're like, "I could've done that blue dot," you know? And of course there is because you can't get to the place where you hang your stuff on gallery walls if you didn't put any thought into your work. It's a very childish way of going in to view art, of course. But we probably all had that experience. We're like, "I coulda done that." But you didn't. But you could've. And that's how we feel sometimes. So, Proof of Concept is not... It's basically saying, "OK, their image is out there, where somebody says "that there was something behind it, but was there really?" And you have that moment of like, "Or did they just put this up really quick "and hope that it looked good?" Proof of Concept is when you look at it and you know that the artist had to put ...
a lot of thought into this idea to make it look how it does. So Proof of Concept, instead of just concept. Is there a through-line in your series? Now, when you're creating a series, one image necessarily must relate to another in some way. Visually, conceptually, technically, whatever you want to do, there has to be some through-line there of cohesion. Commitment and Dedication. This is another reason why galleries and other organizations love to see a series. Because it shows that you, as an artist, can focus your attention. Now a lot of us artists have a reputation for being a little bit scattered. So you can focus your attention on something that's really meaningful to you. If you were looking through an artist's portfolio and you saw a whole bunch of different things but then just saw a few images that all went together, that would sort of clue you in to the fact that, "Oh this is something that they felt so passionate about "that they created many images about this thing." So it's sort of a little bit of like, letting people trust you a little bit more. It will lead to multiple sales potentially, I mean that's the hope. It won't always, but you have a better chance of selling multiples if they're all within a series. So how do you create a series that contains an original narrative? This is what we've been talkin' about, isn't it? How do you do it? So I think that one way that you do it is by analyzing these four things: interest, experience, reaction, and emotion. Now we all have interests, okay. It's like, the most boring thing that we have. Everybody has interests all the time. We're all interested in lots of things. So then, what interest is so important to you, that you have to pursue that? Once you have that, that one thing that you feel like you could really dedicate time to, what is your experience of that interest, of that passion? What experiences in your life have come to lead you to a place where you want to pursue that? What reaction do you have to that? I think that some of the best art comes from things that make us uncomfortable, from not wanting to do something, from not wanting to experience something. Like April here, we were talking about how you wanna do a series where you're in this water and you were like, "I don't wanna do it." And I was like, "Yes!" And then we had this moment of like, "That's why you have to do it!" And we're all so excited to one day see this. And that was a really beautiful moment because it's this exact idea of, the experience is sometimes the thing that you have to work through and then the art that comes from that becomes your cathartic experience. It's really beautiful. And then emotion. How do you feel about a certain thing? How do you feel? What emotions can you put into that? And this is how we start to build an original narrative. Now the question of "Why" comes into play. And I have to say it. And I know it's a big, big horrible question. But I believe the best art has this big question of "Why" at the center of it. Why is that artist personally compelled to create? Why is the viewer compelled to look? And if you can answer both of those things, then you're probably creating some pretty interesting art. If you can get a person to want to view it, and they are connecting with why they want to view it, and then you can create it with the connection of why you need to, that's a beautiful marriage. So why do you have an interest in something? What if you just wrote down every single interest that you have, in the world? Every single interest that you have. It would probably be a long list. You can probably think of tons of things you'd be interested in learning more about. What if you went through that list and you just instinctually pick that one thing that stands out to you the most. And then you actually pursued that thing. I think more of us should do this more often. First of all we get stuck in what we've always done. So for years I was like, "I'm a photographer. "I'm a photographer. I'm a photographer." And I'm still a photographer, and I love being that. But I felt so chained by that one thing, that I felt like I couldn't do anything else. So I was moonlighting as a writer. Whenever I'd be home, I'd be writing my novel and I wouldn't tell anyone or share it with anyone 'cause I was like, "Oh I'm a photographer, "I'm not a writer. That's not me." 'Cause it feels bad to say, "I am a blank," if that's just an interest that you have. So what allows you to say, "I'm a photographer, "I'm a writer, I'm an artist," when you feel like you have nothing to back that up? And my answer is, do you have an interest in a thing? Why do you have an interest in a thing? If there's a deep personal connection to your interest, and you commit to pursuing that, then you are that thing. Your commitment to you passion, gives you the right to say that you are this thing. I am an artist because I am passionate about art and I am pursuing that art, consistently. Why is this experience meaningful for you? The experience of creating the experience that brings you to the point of creating? What is meaningful for you about this experience? And why do you react in certain ways? What makes you react in certain ways? If I were to come over and pinch you on the arm would you punch me? Would you laugh at me? Would you push me over? What's your reaction? That's a really silly example, but we all have very instinctual reactions to things. Why? Why do you react that way? Why do we tend to feel certain emotions over others? If I had to define my emotions I would say usually joyful, I would say highly anxious, I would say very passionate, very dreamy. These are emotions that I feel all the time. All the time. I'm like a weird little ball of anxious and excited and passionate. And why is that for me? And how can I channel that into my art? I think that negative emotions, for me, are way more likely to make them into my art, versus the positive side of things. And you might be different. You might feel joy and want to express that. Why? Why is that you over something else?