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Saturday, 30-Aug-2003 00:00
A friend of mine, James Davis, is now teaching a "Foundations" art course at Virginia Commonwealth University, where the two of us studied sculpture. "Foundations" is for all art students at the beginning of their university art instruction. I was very excited when he wrote me, to ask if he could present my Fotopage to his class. He asked me to send a short statement to present to the class before his presentation. It is as follows:

"Short Statement:

I use "Desiring Machine" (at http://bug.fotopages.com) as an informal sketchbook for my photos, words, ideas and internet links. When I went to VCU in the mid/late 90s I was still quite computer illiterate (I didn't have an e-mail account till 1999 or so). My involvement with computers sprang from an interest in video, and before that, performance and collage work. If there is any advice I can give an artist who is just starting out it would be along these lines:

1.Find out WHAT YOU WANT TO DO and DO IT. AND KEEP DOING IT. Learn to teach yourself, motivate yourself, and research the things and people you are interested in. If you start connecting to what you want to do I think a great work ethic will follow (no problem). If the desire is there you can make work with anything around you.

2.Work ethic is important. (One of your current teachers greatest virtues is exactly his work ethic.)

3. Make connections with the people around you... in your personal life, school, jobs, and on the internet. I think the "lone wolf" idea of art is very over-rated. No matter how far-out your work may be, a good support network and constructive criticism will help it.

I update my photoblog every day because it has become a habit... I wish you all the best in developing "art habits," whatever those habits may be. If you have any comments or questions for me feel free to post them in my comments section at "Desiring Machine" or e-mail me personally at redonut@hotmail.com.

Sincerely Justin Lincoln"

My friend's class gave me plenty to think about in their informal online critique. Actually, even at the early stage in the "Art Game" many of them came up with many of the same criticisms as faculty that I had while in school, particularly on the issue of editing, and how it might perhaps dilute my work to put too much in front of an audience. To be honest, I have struggled with this issue since the earliest days of my art development. But struggle is good for work. Maybe one person sees "overload" and another sees "generosity."

Critique is a wonderful practice and opportunity in art-school. I have been exposed to dozens of kinds: Formalist, Feminist, Materialist, Freudian, Marxist, Semiotic, Modernisms and Post-Modernisms of many stripes, critiques using game-theory, secret ballot, Socratic methods, satire, lovefests and the silencing of artists to let "the work speak for itself." Each method has its merits, time, and place. While in Foundations class my fellow students and I were certainly asked, time and again, "... is it art? If so, why... or why not?" James asked this fundamental question to his students.You can view their questions and answers at the comments section for my Thursday the 28th entry. Critiques helped cement great friendships for me while I was in school. I'm sure it will continue to do that for many new artists.

Personally, I like the blurring of art and life. I can probably do that more in fotopages than my upcoming slides project. I'd like to close with a few of my recently discovered (or recently revisited) favorite, fotoblogs.

My fotoblog idol:

Daily pics of a son by a father. Beautiful gesture:

Some fine, fine art from Prague

Georgy takes pictures of his lunch consistently. What style and elegance.

Dragan keeps getting better all the time. I like watching his learning

Certainly enough to get you inspired/started/or pondering. I hope you will continue to visit me at bug.fotopages.com.

Sincerely, Justin

P.S. I wish someone would use the fotopages format to do a daily photo comic book. Use word balloons or captions. Tell a sequential story. I am far too all over the place to do it....but done right, I imagine it could really develop a following.I hope this idea appeals to someone enough to try it.

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