Thoughts on Feeling

by , under FOUND

A helpful piece of advice from Tony: No one knows you better than yourself. No one has lived your life. Don’t be afraid to use that.

Last week Joel explored the “I” for his Friday assignment. It was large, it was strong, and it was comprised of feeling. Feeling is something that factors in when I am creating a piece. I decide what general emotion I would like the audience  to feel when they see the piece. That specific emotion influences color choice, composition, subject matter, ect..  Joel did something different. He used feelings that HE possessed to create a piece. It was personal. He was not detached from his design. His name was the same size as all the other words.

I realized something last week—I have not done this AT ALL while designing for this class. The personal work I create in this way has been seen by few, if anyone at all. It stays hidden away from the public and has unintentionally created a division in me. There is a difference in my mind.

I felt like there is a time to work this way and there is a time to work in an alternate fashion. It has been so long since I worked this way that I did not even notice I wasn’t doing it anymore. I only knew that, to me, my pieces have been lacking something, and perhaps feeling is it. There have been quite a few students that come in on Friday with pieces that make the class silent. They are drenched in emotion. They are close to the artist’s heart. We need time to ponder them—to analyze them.

I believe the difference in using feeling as a tool to create—to help shape a piece— and creating a piece that depicts a feeling lies in the fact the audience adopts the artist’s emotions as their own. The artist is no longer the person that created the art. The art IS the artist. And the art engages the viewer in a stronger way. This has been seen in our Friday critiques. Joel’s, Darya’s, Sarah’s pieces to name a few. Can you remember the discussion we had about these pieces?

So, maybe there is an appropriate time to approach a design idea this way. Maybe designs and designing feeling don’t have to be two different things. What do you think? How do feelings factor in when you design? What are your opinions on the matter? Is it time to incorporate yourself back into your work?

  1. Darya

    In my opinion, I believe when an artist explores their own emotions in a piece, it usually makes it stronger because there are real feelings being shown that the audience can connect too. I think that’s why Tony is so against hypothetical projects, because they are so lacking in the emotions department for both the artist and the viewer. I do believe there is a balance and a responsibility for the artist to convey the emotion with a strong design and not just use it as a way to vent their issues (and the emotion having no connection to the design in no clear way to the viewer), if that makes sense. There is a time and place for that as well.

    I feel like design and feeling should never be separate though. Otherwise, the artist becomes a machine just working for the man. It becomes mundane and uninspired. Exploring emotion has by far been my greatest challenge to myself in this class. Each week I have faced what I believe what I believe are the biggest imperfections in my life and through art I was able to find a way to cope with those things better. Art is my therapy, and it’s amazing to see just how much it has helped me view these issues in a better light.
    I believe you should explore more emotion in your art! Don’t be afraid to do so. It’s makes one vulnerable, but it also creates a depth to art and when paired with strong designs, it’s really amazing. One of my favorite quotes (although I have probably a hundred favorite quotes) is “Art is the absence of fear”, said by Erykah Badu. So, if you’re afraid to try it, maybe that is the challenge for you. The whole week before I turned in my flag I was so, so nervous. Which is why I told myself I had to do it. And I think it paid off :)

  2. Tony

    “Otherwise, the artist becomes a machine just working for the man.”

  3. Lila B

    Relevant Regina!
    Personally, I don’t usually start with something I have feelings for. It’s more like I begin with a more concrete concept, and then as the piece and I get to know each other, we exchange the feels and fall in love over time, affecting and elevating both of us (hopefully.)

    Though I will not deny that there are times when I approach an assignment with giddy giggles and a notion that it is going to be a publicized page of a manic episode.

    • Nicole Wasson


      “Art is my therapy, and it’s amazing to see just how much it has helped me view these issues in a better light.”

      Art is my therapy, as well. It helps me get through quite a lot. Unfortunately, my work lately has been just that — work. I am beginning to approach my designs differently (or at least trying to). I want to, like you, tackle different problems and ideas each week. Apparently I’ve been stuck, uninteresting, and, while while my craftsmanship has been executed well, forgettable. My work has not been standing out. It’s the same ol’, same ol’. And so begins a new approach.


      “It’s more like I begin with a more concrete concept, and then as the piece and I get to know each other, we exchange the feels and fall in love over time…”

      Firstly, I love Regina and I love alliteration. So, thank you for that. Secondly, I have been working very closely to the way that you approach your work. I develop an idea, sketch and sketch and sketch, then finalize it. My problem has been my lack of love. I get the assignment. I do said assignment. But then that’s it. I like what I’ve done. I worked hard, however, the work itself is lacking. I have not embraced the project as I should be doing. I am working on fixing that.

      • Lila B

        It’s alright, you can’t fall in love with everyone you meet. Sometimes it’s business, sometimes it’s pleasure, and then there’s that little sliver on the venn diagram of your affections when it can be both. A lot of the “love” of your projects will feel kind of like obligatory base level of parental love for a child who grew up to be unremarkable and unmotivated. But one of these days, Nicole, you’ll come across an assignment where you know exactly what to do, and you‘ll be giddy and smothering your sketches in mental hugs and kisses as you both ascend into achievement-euphoria. Like when our illustration teacher told us that our next assignment was to be aboot space exploration. I was so terribly excited that I jumbled my verbal project proposition and had to repeat it and was asked to not speak so loudly this time. I just really really wanted to make a crossover of Anna Lee Fisher and 2001 Space Odyssey. I was in love with it. I still am. I might draw it again. And the awesome thing is, when you do find yourself absolutely infatuated, you don‘t even realize that you‘re spending every spare minute working on it, doodling it on your geology notes, or just thinking about how awesome it is until it’s finished. Then you find yourself with a bunch of extra time, and you end up making a Warhol-esque montage of four David Bowies with nebulae for faces, and a pen portrait of the Martian Girl from Mars Attacks with every spiral on her dress just dripping with your own aesthetic lust…Anyhoo.
        You get out what you put in, but you really can’t force affection if it’s just not there. Just going through the motions will still help though, don’t for a moment think that you‘re not progressing, so long as you are sincerely trying on some level!

  4. Darya

    I believe your work is interesting, craftsmanship/medium wise. It will be even more interesting to see you work in a new way incorporating different ideas/issues into your assignment. That way we will be able to connect with it a lot more and that’s what will make it memorable. Be relatable. :)

    “You get out what you put in”, I couldn’t agree more with that Lila! As you know Nicole, this week I’ve been working with collages. It has been one of the most difficult, frustrating, and confusing processes I’ve ever dealt with. It is challenging my complete way of thinking, so collage really feels like a stranger to me. How could I love something I don’t understand? After reading Lila’s previous comment where she mentioned that she would work hard to find ways to fall in love with a particular piece, I found the more that I worked and experimented, I started to have fun with it and found a way to love it. It allowed me to be weird and have a freedom with art that I found to be really enjoyable. I think I was getting too caught up in “What should I do?”. It made it too daunting for me to even begin to like it. Once I let go of that, then I was able to see it in a new light and appreciate it. Now I love something that I totally hated. I just had to get to know it first. So maybe sometimes the challenge is to find way to appreciate things you don’t understand? That way, we grow as a designer. Or as Tony would say:

    converge and diverge.