Monday, February 8, 2010

Artist Question: Learn new skills or improve old ones

I have this undying need to ask questions of artists. 

Their process, their inspiration, their art marketing, their concepts, their education, their techniques, their opinions on the art world, their ability to balance, their artistic path and anything else that they will let me bother them with. 

So it only seems reasonable that I should be asking these same questions to my blogging and social networking audience. Therefore, I am going to start posing more questions and hope that some kind soul will take pity on me and answer them. 

With each answer, we all learn more about the artist and how they tick. So here is my first official Artist Question: 

As artists, is it better to learn new skills or improve old ones? 

With our limited time, how to you best utilize it? Is it better spent working in your chosen medium, or spent learning something new that you can connect later?

My example here, of course, comes from my own experience now. As a college art student, we are required (usually) to take studio courses outside of our chosen field. This is challenging and rewarding because it can show you a world outside of what you are already making and expose you to different instructors with new ways of working. You have a semester to learn these new skills, and even if it is painful, you can make it through.

This semester, I am taking Fiber Surface Design this semester and it includes embroidery. It is definitely not painful, and can be connected to most of my current work.

Learning traditional skills is rewarding, but I love how it can be applied to contemporary art issues. If you haven't seen this exhibit "Pricked: Extreme Embroidery" you must check it out. This is not your grandma's sampler.

But for me, embroidery is a new skill. It is time consuming.

Encaustic painting and beeswax sculptures are my chosen medium. It is also time consuming.

Three hours on a Saturday free. What do I do?

So artists, which do you chose? Learn new skills or improve existing ones? 

 Eagerly awaiting your response! ~ Jaime Lyerly


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