Later this summer I will be teaching a class at the Creative Arts Center in Dallas for mosaic artists on the very subject of working in a series. I often see mosaic artists labor for months and months on one project, say a bird or a landscape and then when they are finished they are so ready to move on and do something completely different. While this is very understandable it does not allow them to build a cohesive body of work that tells their audience what they are about as an artist and what is important to them.
Top 3 benefits to working in a series as an artist:• Playful experimentation ... when you are working on a series of projects within the same theme you can approach each one as an experiment instead of a masterpiece. You can relax just a tiny little bit and treat them as studies. While still doing your best work you can give yourself permission to not have all the answers on the project in front of you ... after all this is not your last one in the series. Some better solutions and ideas will arise on your 2nd or 3rd project within a series.
• Understanding Yourself and Your Art ... When you work in a way where you create a portrait one day, a landscape the next month and then an abstract painting the next month, you are not traveling down a straight path and you are not digging very deeply into what motivates you and what makes you tick. It is perfectly fine to have many favorite subjects, I certainly do, however I find that by spending extensive time focusing on one subject at a time in my personal works I am able to get closer and closer to some core truths about my art and my self and what is important to me.
• Be taken seriously ... I have been in museums countless times and seen work by artists that I do not particularly like however walking away from the show I always state that I am so glad I saw the show and while I may not like a particular artist's work I can still respect what they are doing and respect them. With that said Cindy Sherman comes to mind for me, she recently had a show here at the Dallas Museum of art and while I am not a huge fan, I thoroughly enjoyed that show and I loved seeing her many different periods of work. As an artist if you do enough of something the world can not ignore you. By working in a series you are telling the world that you are damn serious about the subject you are tackling. Give it a try ... be "Damn Serious" and work in a series.
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