Technique, Technique, Technique.

November 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Commentator:  Karen Joan Topping

Artist:  Shanthi Chandrasekar

When last we met, I had started to broach the subject of technique, practice and repetition. We are not born with technique, we must master it.  If you are to master it you must practice it so much that you stop thinking about it and become able to do it without thinking about what you are doing. Basically if you are doing it right, you do end up looking like you were born with it. Seems like a real shell game when you put it like that.  

Watch an interview with a major athlete and they say things like: “We didn’t hustle enough”, “It wasn’t meant to be”, “We weren’t lucky enough to make it happen”, “We wanted it and we went out and got it.” It’s like they’re talking about evading a parking ticket.  In a situation where optimum performance means that you are not thinking about what you are doing, it’s not surprising that putting thoughts into words becomes like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.  Just doing it?  There is a reason that’s a trademarked saying.

After years of experience, introducing myself as an artist I still get the feeling that many people have a very schematic view of what being an artist means.  They want a round peg in a round hole.  They either assume that you are a Picasso–like, one-in-a-million individual that actually was born being able to do it, or they assume you’re not.  Most of us will not fit the schema of artist = Picasso, therefore they seriously don’t know what to make of us.  

Well listen up now, even if you are Picasso, and you have mastered a lot of techniques, being an artist is a constant education.  There always seems to be more to learn.  My sculptural training involved carving in a much cheaper and softer material, plaster-of-paris.  I’ve been around art studios for close to 20 years now and although alabaster is a classical material to use, it’s peppered throughout art history; I’ve never seen anyone working with it in real life before.  I hope you enjoy this small peek at SHANTHI CHANDRASEKAR working on sculpting an alabaster block:

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