This seems very cliche to do, to reflect about my life in a blog format. But I think what I have been discussing with a classmate is interesting, and I would like to open it up to those reading this, and maybe start a conversation that way. I have been having a lot of mental blocks here at konstfack, and have been trying to pin-point the source of the block, the sources of stress and frustration, so that i can hopefully move away from these negative feelings and begin to feel better.
At first, I felt that I was very homesick, and this was the reason I was having trouble working or making anything that i either liked the result of, or enjoyed the process of making. But when i thought about the prospect of moving back to the bay area at this point in time, that didn't make me feel better either. In fact, it made me feel worse, because i knew that the problem didn't lie there, and it would be a temporary solution that wouldn't make things better in the long run, it would put me back at square one, which was feeling the need to experience something radically different than what i have been experiencing.
Next, i tried to convince myself that i am not really interested in jewelry at all, just ideas and their physical manifestation. this isn't necessarily untrue, but then i had to remind myself that one of the reasons i came here was to experience a completely different paradigm. europe is so different than north america, in its' culture of course, but in the jewelry world, it is completely different. i do not know this world yet, not really at all (sorry I can't really illustrate the differences here), and it makes me feel awful. so now i am going to research more about that.
A problem that remains for me in my department is that few people seem to be engaged in or curious about theory or art history, and nobody seems to be questioning the institutions of (one of my most hated terms) "art jewelry", and that makes me sad, because I feel like some ranting alien if I try and talk about it with people. i don't have heated debates about the validity of the gallery or discussions about the why of anyone's work. this is ok though, because there are others at the school i do have great conversations with, and that feeds that part of me. there is a geeky philosophy/theory reading group we are starting here, and i think that will be good.
back to focusing on right now though: i now realize that the material experiments they are assigning me are just other ways of saying they want me to develop my formal aesthetics, which, in my opinion, leave a lot to be desired at this point. why?!?! how could this be, i wondered. why is working abstractly and 'freely' so difficult for me? WHY am i so uncomfortable and frightened? why do i feel untalented, like i can't develop this side of my work? a classmate of mine pointed out that she and i both come from cultures that don't have aesthetics like europe. Bingo. it's not that we don't necessarily have the potential to do work that is communicative and exploratory the way people seem to naturally do here (i think her work is amazing, though she is not happy with it), but I certainly come from the paradigm of media, representation, appropriation, conceptual works, multiples, etc., while ALSO coming from a background of traditionalism in terms of craft and craftsmanship. these two main backgrounds don't really engage themselves in the same approach and creation of aesthetics that i am experiencing out here. this is not a bad thing, this is not a good thing. it is a thing.
To conclude: I have been feeling like an outsider and fearful about approaching art and/or jewelry in this way, coming from my background. Now that I have accepted and acknowledged this, I think I can begin to let go. So here I go....how do you feel about the different schools of thought and art making? And have you seen the film 'Conceptual Paradise'? go see it. it's not really related to the european model of contemporary jewelry, but it is a great, glorious, gorgeous documentary on the history of conceptural art. yum yum yum.
sorry for the crazy and long rambling post.