There are different kinds of aesthetics. The great thing is that there's something for everyone.
Some like things clean, smooth and modern. Others like things kitsch.
I like things perfectly imperfect. A little crack, a tear, a loose seam.
(When I was little I used to deliberately loosen the hem on my dresses just to explore what the texture of the fabric was like, much to the displeasure of my mother)
I didn't always apply that to my art though. I remember in school one of my teachers said, "You paint so smooth!", with a look of disgust on his face. I was really taken aback by that exchange. Up until that point, I thought the primary focus of an artist was to render a subject as accurately as possible. I had to paint smoothly to accomplish this, not so?
I was wrong. To say that was to shortchange my brain and also completely ignore the vast sources of inspiration around me. The world is bursting at its seams with textures.
Some of my favorite artists have harnessed textures so well in their work. I love the work of painters like Aaron Smith, Nathan Ford and Cian McLoughlin. Their work is arresting because their approach. The results are multilayered and complex, anything but smooth.
I'm also obsessed with the ceramics of Pagasari and Brian Rochefort. Rochefort's work in particular is inspired by volcanoes. Think of epic eruptions of colour from a ceramic cone. The glaze on the surface of Pagasari's raku pots crackle, run and pool. The finished work is exciting to behold.
Since being enlightened, I've tried more of an experimental approach to painting and ceramics. I prefer to create my ceramic pots by hand, and I mix a variety of clays and glazes to get interesting effects. I layer paints of various thicknesses when painting and I work wet in wet as well. This results in work that is deeply satisfying to me as an experimental artist.
That is one reason why I always encourage students to experiment. Our brains work so differently and we all have something awesome to bring to the table.
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