As an art and design teacher at a 6th form college I teach my students a way of working through a project, and they often argue that it is pointless, that they should just work on a finished “perfect” idea, and not have to explore all the different ideas, materials and techniques we make them do.
my main question, or issue is why creative people don’t want to explore and experiment with new materials, and what impact this perfectionist, non experimental, focus on achieving a qualification (over producing work they are interested or inspired by) approach to learning will have on the future of art and society. What is this idea they have of a certain type of finished outcome, all neat and precise, but very rarely new, or challenging, or exciting. They want to pass the course, not develop ideas and projects, it feels like something has been lost, about trying things out, and making mistakes. It all seems very serious.
We teach them all these different things, because it is part of the course, but more importantly, so they have a massive arsenal off tools to make work with, as well as a developed and sophisticated visual language. But I struggle with whether I am right, is it wasting their time to try things they don’t enjoy, or feel makes “good art”, or have they been programmed to create manicured art with no substance.
Is the way I teach through a project actually productive? To answer this, I am doing their latest project at the same time as them. It is a graphic design project, based on “life cycles”, with the final outcome being a leaflet of a set size, with some specific format requirements.
So here is the start of the project! Lets see what I come up with!
1) INITIAL STAGE: Explore the question, and possible subjects . Select a couple to explore further (using words and images). Select on to develop (further investigation into words and images)
2) RESEARCH STAGE: Look at a range of artists, designers and styles to give inspiration
3) DEVELOPMENTAL STAGE: develop ideas and get initial visual responses. Develop these using different materials and processes
4) APPLICATION STAGE: Define final outcome. Make final outcome
5) REFLECTION STAGE: Evaluate project