Friday, September 18, 2015

No Shame In Fail

I was going to talk about food, but what with all the bleak news about how us ape-shaped bugs doing our best to make this planet uninhabitable for ape-shaped bugs, it's just too damn depressing.

So, using my best optimax formulae for deck chair rearrangement, which involves a certain amount of denial, I keep plugging away making art and submitting it. Here's the latest, and it's getting submitted to the Corning New Glass Review, which I never get in:

Machinerette Polyptych #1

This won't get in either, but, hey, it's not for lack of trying. This creation and submission would be considered in today's terminology a FAIL. It's a pity that this term, which pretty much applies to everyone and all circumstances, has entered into the snarky descent of the treadmill of pejoration.

There's nothing wrong with fail. In fact, I often tell my students "No shame in fail".

Case in point. Last night I used up my personal studio time to tutor a kid in the Design II class. Design II moves the students from two-dimensional works to three-dimensional, in preparation for the Sculpture. The sculpture professor teaches the class. He has basically had enough of this kid, and so he was handed off to me.

Look, I understand the sculpture professors dismissal of the kid. He's got his favorites, whom I call little poodles, and for whom art is effortless, or nearly so. They are easy to teach and they always follow the rules. He has little patience for the strugglies and problem children.

I get the strugglies. I get the broken toys. I get the problem children. I have no problem with that. The art they make is often awkward, clumsy, misshapen, deformed, disfigured.


Always always far more interesting than the perfectly crafted and perfectly bland art that the poodles make. The rejected kids have a had time following the rules, often because the rules are incomprehensible to them.

So, this kid last night, obviously is within the autistic spectrum and also is tourettic with a profound verbal tic. But he's earnest, hard-working, wants desperately to get it, and is willing to put in whatever time and effort is necessary to get it.

Well, shit, I really had not choice but to see what I could do to help him.

He had been in the Design I class. I had been told by the instructor that he struggled in that class. A lot of the students in there were snickering at him, because he's weird and a retard. That kind of shit makes want to crack some skulls and get in some faces. But the nice story is, a girl in the class, a gorgeous stunning brilliant girl, stepped up to the plate, moved her stuff over to his table, provided him some support and companionship and silenced the snide little poodles.

Good on her!

This poor kid just didn't have the first idea of where to start. Two dimensional composition was hard for him. He can't understand basic spatial composition. He can't read a ruler. He doesn't understand what angles are. And the assignment is to create platonic solids from the cutouts on paper. So, anyway, I spent an hour and a half with him, tried about five different approaches to the problem. I had him ignore the instructions, gave him lots of paper, scissors, masking tape, the occasional timely advice, and said, make the solid as close as can, don't worry if it is exact, and have fun. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.

I had to some arithmetic for him, but I made him watch me do the work. I had to show how to work a protractor and compass, but he had to do it. Because we learn by doing. I wasn't going to strictly speaking doing the work for him.

"It's just pentagons and equilateral triangles. Just keep on cutting them and piecing them together", I said. I had him cut out each face and tape it together, and then I had him take it apart and lay it out as a contiguous piece on paper. And then draw it. Then cut that out and fold it, and tape it together. It was nice to see at the end of evening that he made kind of a fucked-up but recognizable icosidodecahedron.

"I think I'm starting to get it" he said.

1 comment:

  1. good for you.

    and I fail to see how your submission is a fail. btw, I always fail to get in New Glass Review too.