sun, sandworm, dune inspired, drawing, blackwork, pointillism


When I was in college attempting (and mostly scrambling, flailing) to study art for my A levels, I bought into a very idealistic and romantic message that art always has to come from the heart, and that audiences can tell when it doesn’t. And it’s strange how many people still believe this to be the case. I hear it from all sorts of artists: singers, directors, dancers, painters. They all seem to believe that there is this magical process that happens when a story is uniquely heartfelt. After years of making stuff, I don’t believe this to be true at all. We want to believe it’s true, so then we can feel good about our tastes, and sleep at night knowing all our favourite artists are Good People who make Good Art, and I suppose that’s why we’re so shocked when someone we’ve had an emotional connection with turns out to be a bad person. As seductive as this “art always comes from the heart” mentality is, I think it lies in a fundamental falsehood. I can barely understand myself, never mind the innermost artistic motivations of other people. The thing I’ve learned is that art takes practice. Over and over and over again, it comes down to practice. The heart, I think, comes from our natural ability to recognise patterns and to recognise skill; to perceive someone’s hard work, which often comes at some kind of emotional expense. I could be wrong, but the art I’ve made recently that I actually really like is stuff I’ve made when I’ve not been trying to make a complete and heartfelt piece of work, but have instead been practicing a technique, and/or trying something new. I’ve poured my physical body over the page, trying to get a line to fall into a particular place, and then I’ve had random ideas that have been manifest within the hour. Either way, whether it’s spontaneous creation, or the result of hours of process, it has all come down to practice. I really hate when people use the word practice as a verb. It’s an adjective, really. You’re just describing a thing you do. I used to watch a youtuber who’d describe exercise as her “running practise” and it used to make my blood boil. It sounded so pretentious and off-putting. Until, here I am, describing making a collage as “practice”. AT least I’m not calling it my “heartfelt practise” or something.

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