Why paint making should be for everyone.
Teaching. It’s a concept I have entertained since watching my year 7 art teacher painstakingly render an accurate yet grossly unnecessary drawing of a dentist’s chair and thinking ‘pfft, I could well easily do that.’
Not that I could draw a dentist’s chair with the same precision as him. In fact, in hindsight, the guy was probably a frustrated yet brilliant designer. But, even as an 11 year old, I did think briefly that the idea of teaching a craft looked fun – you got to do what you loved doing and you got to communicate with others the value of what you are doing.
Of course, what I was witnessing at the time was the teaching of school pupils under a structured syllabus. And I have taught before – In 2009 I belted out a few lectures about the history of British art to summer-school students who, frankly, would have rather been outside than in a stuffy lecture theatre being bombarded with information that they’ll either forget instantly or won’t even listen to in the first place. What concerns me in earth year 2013, however, is the idea of teaching people the practice of making paints: I envision this to occur either in the form of workshops or through guest lecturing.
It is practice steeped in rich history, yet its appeal is diminished with the ease at which paint can be purchased. Yet I believe that it is important to develop a relationship with your materials: materials purchased from a shop contain no presence of an artist. They are joyless, and can be applied to a surface with dispassion, flippancy and disregard. They are a consumable product – untouched by an artist’s hand and, as such, without integrity or passion. If a tangible affinity with materials is established, then it will enable an artist to richly engage with a piece of work on a physical, tactile level. Further, it will considerably develop an artist – allowing a more coherent communication to occur between artist and material and consequently, artist and subject matter.
I will take a conceptual approach to the teaching of paint making and communicate the idea of seeking new directions to achieve an established process – In similar vein to how I extract pigment from food in order to achieve a re-imagining of still-life. Indeed, the practice of producing your own materials is an art in its own right – it contains within it subject matter, craft and can be considered as a concept. I believe that the idea of communicating this and allowing people to engage with their materials has the potential to be extremely valuable and absorbing. Now all that’s left to do is the tiny matter of finding someone who’ll have me teach…