Joe Twinn: make art everything

Joe Twinn writes about the importance of making practice central to the life of the artist.

Taking that this is meant to be an advisory guide of sorts detailing the possible problems and solutions a recent graduate/ new studio resident will face. I feel I will have trouble writing this without coming across as condescending, patronising or just stating the obvious as the person who reads this is likely to be in the same position as I am now so I do not feel entitled or equipped to be giving advice.

I will now tell you the few things I have learnt and am trying to implement. First I would like to start with a fairly major point but one that needs constant reinforcing and seems to be underlying foundation that everything else stems from: Life must become art, by this I mean your life must become solely driven, focused and directed towards and around the creation of your art. Everything you do, every moment of your time must be geared towards the making of your art, the progression of your practice, of course when put it like this it sounds impractical but it isn’t, you sleep because it is necessary for you to function, it is necessary for you to eat for you to function but you function to produce art. You work to make money to maintain your lifestyle, to live, but really you are working to buy materials, pay application fees, go to shows, buy books, you work to enable yourself to make art. Everything that is compulsory for you to do to survive is just a means to an ends, used as a step towards your sole goal your main ambition to produce work. Every moment of your time should be accounted for, the best way to achieve this is through planning and organisation, make notes on your I phone, in your notebook, on your arm. To do lists keep the world revolving, time is the most valuable of all commodities do not waste a single second of it. Of course everyone needs a social life, a break, sometime to relax but remember these things are secondary to your primary objective of creation they always come after and never before, your practice is always the top of your list of priorities to which everything else works around.

My second point is do not be scared, do not be fearful, do not be hesitant and never doubt yourself.These are negative qualities and will only hold you back the main obstacle you face is yourself. I am not advocating running haphazardly with buckets of water into an electric fence, or doing away with caution, due care and thought but do not ever tell yourself that something can’t be done or that you do not have the means to do it, go and read an Adidas advert if you don’t believe me “impossible is nothing”. Jump at all opportunities for every show, award, competition, collaboration, event, any chance for you and your work to be further involved in the art world will be beneficial for you in one way or the other, do not miss your window.

Now this brings me to my last point, one of the main skills you will need amongst others to achieve the former two points is by utilising one extremely important behavioural attitude, be flexible, be fluid, work your way around obstacles do not let them halt you in your path, do not be stubborn, do not resist change let yourself grow and expand and see where it takes you, develop, by being flexible you allow yourself many more options and path ways, the collaboration you thought you couldn’t do you can by being flexible, the project you thought you couldn’t complete because it was practically impossible with your skill set, materials and budget work around it, compromise, change, find a solution, improvise. Without tests there are no results, without experiments there is no science. Now I leave you with a quote from someone lot wiser and more eloquent than myself.

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee.

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