...or tries to...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Perfect Scale

I  keep thinking about my friend Sans' lovely post about her art project with her nephew, Nat, all about perfectionism and spontaneity. I've been mulling over the amount of control you need to assert over your process, how much you need to rein in and how much you need to let go, to have your artwork resemble what you imagine in your head. It's a constant back and forth, of course, there has to be some idea of a direct route, a certain amount of stick to your guns perfectionism to get flying, amorphous ideas to take a reasonable shape. But how much, and when, do you allow for accident, impulse, foolishness? Part of it depends on how you work - if what you do needs a steady hand, most of the free thinking probably needs to come early, in the planning stage. But if what you do allows for wrong turns, erasing, tearing out, you're more fortunate. You can riff.

The whole thing, Sans' post and my own struggles for balance, has reminded me of an old episode of Friends.  I bet my doll house friends know exactly which one I'm talking about. I hate when I hear living, breathing, flesh and blood people describe themselves as being a tv character, this happened a lot during Sex and The City, (as in, adult women saying to each other "you're 95% a Carrie with a smidgen of Charlotte mixed in") (ack), and I bet it's being done again with the series Girls, a show I truly love so far. But I have to admit that watching this Friends episode the first time, and re-watching later, I get a burn of low-grade shame acknowledging who I'm more like, and who I would rather I be like.

Do you think that, ultimately, there's anything you can do about the way you are? Is the best possible route to push yourself to be the strongest version of the yourself, go all the way with your own version of things? Or should you fight the parts of your nature that seems to be fighting you? And are you doing yourself a disservice to think of yourself as only a Monica or a Phoebe, when there must be aspects of each of them in all of us?


Sans! said...

Firstly let me be really presumptuous and tell you that you are NOT at all Monica-like :). "The House of No Imagination", imagination being the key word.

Then I want to thank you for posting these clips. They made me laugh so hard each and every time. The writer for that episode must have had a doll house friend :).

Mostly, I want to tell you how you have, with this post, helped me clear some of my own perplexes.

These are my struggles : art or craft? artist, artisan? realism vs imagination. Very basic questions because being able to create is so new to me.

You have helped me decide, Amy, that maybe I just want to keep pushing the boundaries, set new standards, break some rules, even if they are just my own. I am at the same time, mindful of my terrible obsession with aesthetics, harmony and taste, values that necessarily entail rules. And so I expect to walk, each time I create, this uneasy line, hoping for the aha moment when I think I have achieved that balance.

Will you believe this is something I have been meaning to ask you about. I am so glad we have this "conversation", Amy. Thank you!

Next time, maybe we can discuss if I am really romanticisng decay :):).

Sans! said...

O yes, have you noticed how even Phoebe adhered to some rules when it came to her cool doll house? There was no oversized dog that could pee on the roof, no ruffing dinosaurs, not even a wispy ghost. :)

rosanna said...

Oh gosh... I love these clips. I have never watched Friends but now I think I missed something.
What shall I say ? how much of Monica and how much of Phoebe am I ?
I guess that I am Monica when it comes to facts but I'd like to be Phoebe and let myself run loose.
Rules are so deeply rooted in me that I seldom consciously allow myself to break them but I am working on it.
Self control, or rather too much of it, has been the curse of my life and it is only too true when it clashes with imagination.
That's why I call myself an artisan, someone who works with her hands but following a set path .I haveimagination but creativity is what I yearn for, sometimes I feel I can grasp it but most often I loose it.
I still have to make mine, truly mine, bashing and dirtying and letting myself free. I should love it , I actually need it but I am still struggling to see my own vision. Definitely blogs like yours and Sans are a great ispiration .Thank you for this post , it's been enlightning on many aspecs and also most funny to look at.
Minihugs, Rosanna

Daydreamer said...

Now You know why I have SO MANY Dollhouses....
or Unfinished Dollhouse ATTEMPTS! There is so much I cannot make up MY Mind about! I admire people who are so Clear about their vision.... and Sometimes I feel that way... but Mostly I am struggling to create an Atmosphere.... something so Very subjective... and Hard to define! And then I want it to be Unfinished... something that adjusts with the Seasons or the changes I imagine into the People's lives....... Not static. Which is SOOOO Un-"Art"! Art is supposed to be Done.! Which is maybe why I take refuge in the "play-ful" part of it... with the Houses more stage-sets than completed art-forms.... with room for changes.... and living...
And yet I want to think of each of my creations individually as "artworks"..... and I want to learn to make them more perfect... more what I see in my imagination... more "Art", More Done!
Amy, do not, for even a minute, berate yourself for HAVING a Vision.... for Pursuing that Vision or idea to the Completion of it! And you too, Sans! The very fact that you have made your Tribal House a completed Vision... says to ME that you have been pursuing a Dream.... and isn't that at the center of all Creative Art?

Amy said...

Such fascinating comments, you guys! Thank you for sharing so much with me, so much of yourselves. It's so true, there are rules we make for the best possible reasons, not because we police ourselves this way, but because they are our way of being honest with ourselves, our way of talking to ourselves. I can't think of anything that's harder, to devise some kind of method of making shape out of our thoughts,our impulses, our passions, our fears. Our entires lives play part in this. And how to know when the method is too strict, too methodical, too safe, especially when it seems to be working? I often worry that when it's working it means that there isn't enough struggle, grasping, or reaching, that I'm playing it safe. There's no certainty to any of it. Sometimes things take form when you're in a half-aware state, and you see what you were doing later on. But if you try to make that kind of magic again, it fails, because the magic, the half-knowing, is lost. I'm thinking that even when there is a routine, a learned process, like a potter would have, sitting at her wheel, there's still that not knowing exactly what her hands, her mood, her clay, will do, what will come out of the session. Why else would she do it, otherwise it would be so dull, like something a machine would make. Maybe the answer is that we'll all never know exactly what we're doing, maybe that's the whole thing. That we learn from what we've done, but not so much that it closes off all new searches. It's the searching that's the art.

Or not?

Shalini said...

Such an interesting thing to ponder about Amy. Yes, we all wonder which character we are like and which one we want to be like!