These are really great points Maggie...thanks for sharing them...
From: Maggie White [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 9:02 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: James Joyce
"Lawrence A. Parker" wrote:
> > >Yes, L', I agree -- especially if the artwork is created with the
> > >intent to influence its audience.
> Can an artwork be created for any other reason?
> Does, or can, an artist create something solely for her/himself, with no
> intention of ever sharing it with others to elicit a response from those
> around her/him?
> Is artwork always outward directed?
What artwork I've produced was always for myself--just the sensual joy
of manipulating materials and color in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Whether it communicates with anyone else has always been beside the
point. Many kitchen-table artists probably feel the same way.
But that raises another question: "aesthetically pleasing," following
some of the established conventions of elements and principles...does
that automatically infer a line of communication between the work and an
Maybe Joyce's "irresponsibility" is the artist's rejection of some of
the conventions--which we often do as a form of self-expression. We
teach our students the conventions and ask them to follow a sequence of
steps in an assignment, then flip out when they don't follow the lesson
correctly. Joyce says we won't recognize that "irresponsibility."
However, as I always told my students, I'll teach you the right way to
do this, and you can make up your own bad habits later. I want them to
learn how to do something in an efficient manner, so they're not wasting
time reinventing the wheel. Later in life, if they continue to make
art, they will start to develop their own techniques (the bad habits I
referred to facetiously). Some students are too lazy or uninvolved to
want to learn technique, so they do it sloppily--irresponsibly. But
they're not truly rejecting conventions for self-expressive purposes,
they're just trying to get through the assignment as quickly and with as
little effort as possible.
I'm guessing Joyce probably never taught in a classroom. Surely he was
a student once, and learned the conventions of writing. I'll bet he
could never write the way he did if he had not learned the conventions
and then conciously rejected some of them.