Thoughts on Art & Academia
Most of my art-making has taken place in academic settings — as an art student, a gallery director, and most recently a university professor. My understanding of the art studio has been shaped (and limited) by the understanding that art is a serious academic discipline, in which studio time is analogous to scholarly research.
One of the delightful things about the Guild, then, is the sense that studio time can be any number of things to different people. For some, it is a serious discipline that carries the weight of a divine calling. For others, it is a peaceful place of rest, healing, and recreation. Still others come to the studio for personal therapy or spiritual exploration. We work side-by-side here, and though our hands manipulate the same materials, our souls are often hungering for completely different things. That is true even when we are not particularly aware or able to articulate it.
I think that is a much truer understanding of creativity than is often found in an academic setting. Expressiveness and art-making cannot be limited to scholarly pursuits, because they are a fundamental part of what it means to be human. When we confine art to a serious academic discipline, we miss out on its incredible potential to connect, heal, and liberate us. That is increasingly unacceptable to me.