An incident happened yesterday that got me thinking about Artistic Integrity and how I as an artist and a teacher respond to this idea. I will not go into details about this incident, as its beyond the point, but I will tell you that after an initial couple of hours of shock and dismay, and yes ~ even anger, I am now determined to take this energy and push forward. With this post I hope to share and perhaps even open a discussion about why Artistic Integrity is so important to me, and how we as Artists and Teachers need to respect one another.
What does Artistic Integrity mean to me? Someone who is truly Artistic follows their own muse and has a personal vision that defines their work. Integrity I feel, is a virtue, best defined by honesty, morality and sincerity. Someone who has Artistic Integrity, creates a body of work they can call their own and has standards and values that they adhere to unconditionally. Looking at my own body of work over the years, I see my personal vision as one filled with 'fairytale style' and whimsy. The Techniques I use are nothing new, but the 'look' and 'feel' of my work and the 'ideas' and concepts I offer my students have been created with Artistic Integrity and Love.
We live in a world now where ideas travel faster then sound. Have you ever thought of something 'new' and 'original' only to discover that someone else created something just like it recently? I certainly have, and when those moments happen, I smile and repeat to myself; "there is nothing new in this world, only new ways of seeing them." As an artist I try to take these 'ideas' and make them my own. As a teacher, I hope that my students will take what they learn in class and run 5 miles ahead of me to create something that I hadn't even thought about. When I teach I see myself as an instigator to new creativity. I offer my knowledge, skills and creative ideas with the hopes that my students will take what they learn and create their own personal visions.
What I love most about teaching, is being able to share ~ not only techniques but how to use these techniques to create new art. I challenge my students to make something that does not look like my sample, but rather comes from their own inspiration and personal insights. This is more difficult than teaching everyone a 'cookie cutter' version of what I do, but ultimately I believe it more fulfilling for the students, and certainly more exciting for me! I hope that when my students leave class they will continue on this road of self discovery, and take my ideas and techniques but make them their own.
Being a Mother has taught me how important it is to lead by example. Children naturally imitate and copy as a process of learning. ("Imitation is the highest form of flattery" we often hear) My heart melted when my daughter first told me she wanted to be an artist just like me. Now as a Mother of a Teenager, I see my daughter daily take what I taught her and make it her own. Her teenage 'rebellion' is like an artist following her own muse ~ She knows plenty of techniques and has seen how 'I' do things, but now wants to do it her way! Bravo I say! Maturity has turned imitation into new ways of seeing the world!
When I create I am in my own world, conscious of 'what has been done' but trying to move beyond what I've seen, and following my own muse. I will freely credit any and all who have inspired me ~ which This BLOG is certainly a example of. When I teach, I share everything I know, and show various techniques through my own personal artwork and visions. It is my highest hope that those students who continue with their artistic pursuits after my classes will take what they have learned and create their Own personal visions while maintaining a strong Artistic Integrity.
I welcome any comments and further discussion on this subject as I believe it is one that many of us think about but don't often talk about.