By Lillian Linscott
On Monday, Sept. 24th, the Visual Arts Department at Grand Rapids Community College held an ArtPrize discussion panel featuring artists Kristin Casaletto, Jay Constantine and Jonathan Lopez (a.k.a. The “Clay Alchemist”).
The artists where each allotted time to disclose their inspiration, history and medium to the public and to answer any questions. They closed with statements to college students and fellow artists concerning their favorite part of the artistic process, how to overcome artist’s block and other advice.
As many artists can attest, art is essentially an oxymoron. At times it can be both relaxing and frustrating, painful yet healing. The artists at the panel all conveyed the general feeling that seeing a concept developed in their heads come to life is very rewarding.
“I think the best part of the process is when you’re all done and it worked,” Casaletto said. “Art is lots of work, and I think there is that part of agony in many of the pieces sometimes. There are moments of doubt and that painful birthing your art kind of thing. I guess these are the favorite parts, those great moments when you lose all track of time and you’re in the flow and you’re not consciously connected to your thinking, judging part of your mind. You’re in the materials and you’re instinctively moving.”
Likewise, Constantine said, “…it’s almost more fun (researching and coming up with a concept) because you don’t have to have an end product where you feel you’ve maybe failed.”
Getting lost in the art is a phrase artists express often. The panelists exuded their thoughts on becoming immersed in a project or subject and how fulfilling it can be.
“It’s a good feeling when you have an idea that’s so hard that you can’t do it currently because it gives you something to look forward to,” Lopez said. “I always look forward to the next project…and giving myself bigger and bigger challenges.”
However, some creators don’t always have their next project lined up, or if they do they have trouble unleashing it as they are spent from the previous one.
“Sometimes you just have to let the well fill up again,” Constantine said. “In other words, don’t stress yourself out about it, but do some reading, do some traveling, let yourself absorb some experiences because if you force it it’s not gonna happen. It’s great when you’re on fire…it’s like heaven really for me. I love that.”
To get to where they are with their art, these artists needed to explore and learn different mediums and techniques. They also had to learn how to cope with artist’s block and find their artistic voice.
“Don’t settle into a signature style when you’re a student,” Casaletto said.
“My thing that I’ve come to realize the past year is don’t take yourself too seriously, (because) if you take yourself too seriously it puts you in a real predicament,” Lopez said. “You’re gonna have dry spells and you just gotta accept it sometimes and don’t beat yourself up over it.”
To watch the discussion in its entirety, click here or watch below.