“Inputing launch coordinates now”…..”Wait. wait just a minute!…Who replaced my calculations with a recipe for Caesar dressing?”…”Damnit!!…This is important!…I mean, I brought my space travel helmet and everything!””

I am wondering lately how important trajectory is to the work of an artist.  Hell, I would imagine that a certain amount of forsight to where one’s work is heading would be important to anyone doing anything.  These matters are appearing lately for me because I am stuck.

Stuck is such an odd thing for an artist to hit.  Depending on who you ask, being stuck is a debilitating condition that can only be overcome by careful steps and gentle encouragment.  Conversely, I have spoken with those that at the mention of “Stuck”, immediately erupt in disbelief and outright frustration that artists (possibly the most fortunate people in the world) could allow themselves to be stopped by something so meaningless.  “Why are you stuck?” or “What could you be stuck with/on?” or even the dreaded “What the fuck is stuck?”  I am getting off subject.  The problem at hand is that I am stuck.  Stuck at the question of what part of my work gets my attention next and for how long.  After that, it is things like, “What comes after this thing that I am doing now?”  I feel that this is a problem and is happening because I 1. do not have a signifigant pathway or trajectory for where this work is going and why I am being dragged there  and 2) Perhaps I am simply bored with the military or toys or even allegorically illustrating familial strife.

All of these things make me think, realize and accept the idea that my work is not about the problems in the world or the relationships in my family, or better yet, a clever amalgamation of all of the above that no sane person would ever be able to digest.  I am flirting with the notion that my work is about nothing more than itself.  Just when I think that it is about the paradoxical coexistence of agreement and disagreement or conflict and unity, it is probably just an underutilized synapse in my brain containing a couple of disparate elements that fuses with another of equal uselessness creating…..voila!….giant mass of army men, bullets and rockets.  I guess that I am alright with the idea of making work that’s sole purpose is to father the next generation of itself and to sort and illustrate my own neurosis.  Surely this has been done before and surely this practice did at least some amount of good for someone?  I don’t seem to remember this much wandering when I was a practicing potter.  Then, my hands knew what shape my brain wanted to see and my brain knew what shape my hands wanted to feel…and that was all it took.  Throw in some actual planning and some sketching and shit, you have an entirely new, reinvented body of work that people could understand and more importantly, one in which I could easily site the moments in the vessels where I was happy with the result and aware of where a certain part originated.  This may sound like a second helping of crazy but my pots spoke back to me.

I gotta find that place again.  A place where I am in agreement and awe with what is floating to the top of my work.  I have to come to terms with just making to make and not to narrate.  The narration is already there, I am just now realizing that this narration speaks poetically and austerely, just the way I want.-ian

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4 Comments

Filed under Artists-in-Residence, Ian Shelly (10-11)

4 responses to ““Inputing launch coordinates now”…..”Wait. wait just a minute!…Who replaced my calculations with a recipe for Caesar dressing?”…”Damnit!!…This is important!…I mean, I brought my space travel helmet and everything!””

  1. Jason Hyde

    Perfect! To a guy of your means(brains, that is), this most likely just feels like nonsensical bullshit flowing from your lips, but that was spot on!
    Never forget your roots!

  2. Debo

    I am with you on this one Ianthepotter. I have never been more confused or dissatisfied with my work as I am now. Maybe that is the key to “fine” art, to keep searching and finding answers that create new questions or that question the questions. However, the issue at hand, “to create with mind (concept) or to create with body (instinct) seems insufficient and frustrates the relationship between the artist and their work. This semester I asked Bede if I could just throw beautiful and yes I dare say functional pots that fed my body, mind and soul. That feels more real and meaningful to me. Perhaps researching the why of meaningfulness and intentionality is the way to focus here.

  3. Ron

    Sounds like you already know what you’re doing. We can be always making all the time, creativity ad production comes in waves. If it happened all the time we wouldn’t have balance. But do you really want to make something that someone can easily understand right away? I think the most poetic and strong work is the kind that keeps you thinking and wondering what the hell you just experienced. There are no solutions to problems, but simply creating new problems as art.

  4. kerri

    being stuck sucks, but it sounds like you’re working hard next to me which in the end, is the only savior and peace in any of our craziness.
    WORK WORK WORK and then drink

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