In an age where computer appears to be King, where computers can do practically anything, faster and in some eyes better than their human counterparts I question the need for the pursuit of a time consuming craft – in my case drawing – more specifically drawing that is now continuously testing the outer reaches of my skill, my patience and my ambition. The drawings I produce could no doubt be rendered very quickly to a perceived artificial, perfect visual standard, absolute colour, absolute consistency of line, flawless surface – I could continue but I think you get the idea. Whilst all this is true, this seemingly immense beast which is the technological world lacks the human touch. It lacks the empathy displayed intuitively by a thinking, living being. The immense and absolute power of the computer is also its downfall in certain respects.
The colours I lay down on a page, the lines I carefully pull around the paper, the inconsistencies I leave in the wake of the passing pen tip signal to the viewer that this is the work of an imperfect human being, someone that understands good days, bad days and everything in between, someone who understands the sheer joy of creating something with all of its inherent prizes and pitfalls. The computer / printer/ software cannot do this, it cannot rejoice in a mountain climbed, it cannot salivate at the prospect of a new and daunting challenge – or its completion. The human touch in the 21st century I argue is now more important than it ever has been and it follows that hand crafted objects of whatever description should be prized and looked at with an eye that can respect and understand the imperfections of millennia of tradition. I feel very proud to be part of that inherently human tradition.
Thinking about the education of an artist (which can come in many different forms but here, specifically the fine art university route), it is imperative that a degree – with all of the valuable skills learnt whilst studying is used only as a springboard from which the artist MUST propel themselves forward and make the commitment to continue learning and developing. It is all too easy to graduate and not move forward with many elements of ones practice, the loss of stimulation, discussion and interaction of others on leaving a shared studio can be lethal for anyone serious about making artwork beyond degree years. It should be taught (perhaps it is and I never noticed) that it is only the beginning and the vast visual riches that could lay ahead can only be unlocked via considered – and considerable hard work and application of what has already been learnt with an eye to develop and look to the future. Becoming an artist is universes more than simply getting a degree under the umbrella of fine art. It is a lifelong journey.