A New Dictionary of Art is an absurd project, but a serious one and, to paraphrase a final definition from page 131, ‘makes the ordinary seem extraordinary’.
I have this conversation with students time after time about how a practitioner can explore what they perceive to be drawing. It can be a really interesting or frustrating chat – I genuinely do love to hear what others see drawing as, and what they themselves do in response to that word. Some like to really explore and experiment, whereas others just want to perfect a certain technique, or maybe don’t feel they want to or can push those boundaries. For me, drawing is a translation, from one view to another.
You may be familiar with the idea of writing a first draft of an essay, and then editing it down to get to the final version? In my view, to edit a body of work is something that needs to be done continuously and not done just at the end, through reflecting on what ideas/techniques are working and what isn’t and making the decision to either take them forwards or ‘edit’ them out and leave them behind. Editing your work ensures that ideas are always pushed forwards and projects aren’t left to become stagnant and uninspire.
Reflecting on your work underpins your entire practice; it is essential to be able to look objectively at your work and really review things such as- why you have done something, how does it work, is it a success or does it require more development/thought, how would it be improved, and the specifics of why it has worked/not worked.
Beginning my first Level Two course last year, I had confidence I would be just fine; happily settled after receiving a pleasing result at assessment for my previous course at Level One. I flew through L2 Developing Creative Textiles, sure I knew what my path and career specialisation would be. As far as I was concerned, I had developed my “style”… All I had to do was repeat it.
A stark shock came at assessment, when I got a much lower mark than expected. Why? I questioned; with my confidence in tatters.
Kaarina Kaikkonen studied at the Academy of Fine Arts between 1978 and 1983. She has become one of the leading artists of Finnish art thanks to her work in sculpture and installations using clothing. Her research is primarily distinguished by using old clothes, which are bearers of stories and anonymous memory.