For Fall 2020, I decided to take two virtual doctoral courses. One of these courses was inquiry-based art and design – a recommended course for my field of study. The class description read:
Teachers who search for their questions inspire students to do the same. They transform their curiosity into knowledge, empowering others to learn and grow with them. This course provides educators with ways to integrate technology into various learning environments. Students will utilize project-based learning, design-thinking, and maker-centered learning to develop maker-projects and curricula for a diverse set of communities. The course will enable students to look at contemporary and historic examples of art, design, and technology — as well as the social context in which these works were produced.
The class, and the educator, proved to push my out of my creative comfort zone, asking me to think and create differently. We knolled, we created art pieces using cardboard and other upcycled bits, we designed word art – both digitally and physically, we fashioned ‘zines and then mailed them to each other, we did a little bit of coding, we explored nonsense machines, we generated glitch art, and then we evaluated all we had learned to create one comprehensive final expression.
For my final project, I created a physical ‘zine exploring the ideas of sins versus graces. The empty book I discovered had twelve blank pages, so I created twelve sins and twelve graces. If you flip through the book to the right/front to back, you experience my sins. If you flip through the book to the left/back to front, you experience my graces. Each page was fashioned using a combination of paint, collage, and typography. The pages are best experienced physically in order to feel the textures, the levels, and the glue, but I hope you are able to semi-experience the art here in its digital format.
In order to push myself out of my comfort zone, I gave myself parameters I had to follow in completing this expression: the art would be a series – no giving up and changing direction after two or three pages because I became enamored with something new suddenly, as I have a tendency to do; the sins side would be primarily red and black with white stenciled letters; the graces side would be primarily yellow and neutrals featuring my own handwritten text, even though I am embarrassed of my handwriting in most cases; and lastly, I wanted to invite another artist or two to add their flare in order to combat my much desired total, overarching control over my art – something that I think I need, but probably don’t, and although I did run out of time to complete this step, I do plan to follow through in the future.
This project took me outside of the comfortable, digital design environment that I most commonly reside in. Since, in my past, I had a more technology-based educational art experience rather than a fine arts educational experience, I sometimes feel behind my other classmates in that I have not produced as many physical art pieces. This project allowed me to explore the physicality of art; lose myself in textures and color and paint and mess; and create something I can hold and share. I will continue to add to this piece as inspiration reveals itself, and plan to work on additional physical art pieces to continue to hone and develop my craft and style.