Confessions of an Artist
Ann Grasso Pattern Art introduces guest blogger Julie Anderson.
My son chose wisely. This by way of alerting you to the connection I have with Julie, my daughter-in-law. However, I did not ask Julie to contribute based on family. I asked her because of creativity, ability to see patterns – particularly in nature – and her constant pursuit of artistic improvement both in technique and visual meaning.
And now the page is hers.
“Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they may say something.” Georgia O’Keeffe
Since I was a young child, I clearly remember my interest in art, specifically trying to create realistic images of things using pencils and paints. I always knew I would have my artistic skills in my back pocket, but I had many other interests as well. After whole-heartedly pursuing biology in my undergraduate years, I found that science suited me quite well in addition to art.
Today I am a practicing ceramic artist with a scientific past. Because the ceramic medium requires a good deal of science, it is easy to get hung up on the technical. I still frequently find myself drawn towards realism and precisely designed forms. While there are benefits to these habits, they can also leave the viewer bored or coming to quick conclusions about the creation. I do enjoy precision in my work, but skillful realism does not necessarily equal good art. After years of honing my carving and shaping skills, I now find myself resisting the urge to simply illustrate the obvious. Instead, I allow surrealism, abstraction and complex ideas to come into play.
In order for me to embrace both loose and creative thinking, I have to allow ideas to seep in slowly. Only then do new ideas and mutated forms present themselves to my conscious mind.
I begin my process by gathering a number of images from Pinterest, Google Images or my own reference photos collected over many years.
Depending on the complexity of the project, I will sometimes start with a sketch.
However, once I begin the carving process, I try not to adhere too tightly to my plan. This is where I have to intentionally let go of my controlling rational mind. As the hours of carving quickly pass, the design takes on its own personality.
I use carved patterns in many different ways, but most of them end up as part of the Migrations series.
These sculptural wall pieces are abstractions from nature, a generalization of how living things move in groups. One can see the carved realism and detail on the surface of the individual pieces, while the entire composition suggests a dance of nature. My intention is to draw the viewer in with the overall form and then to invite curiosity and questions about my work with the ambiguity of the forms contrasted with realism or surrealism on the surface of each piece.
To see more of Julie’s work, please visit: https://www.julieandersonceramics.com.