So I did. All the time wondering, “how did I get here?”
In my 2010 goals plan I gave myself this theme: Learn to love the process. Not coincidentally, by the end of that year I was ready for a new career as a process analyst. I adopted the theme because the dissertation was taking significantly longer than I had anticipated.
Last week I went to the State Museum’s lunch art talk hosted by Paul Matheny, III, Chief Curator of Art. The artist was James Busby, a Columbia resident who teaches art at the University of South Carolina.
I won’t bore my non-art-fan readers with details about Busby or his art. I’ll just highlight what I found most interesting.
James said when he was younger he went through the process of priming a canvas as quickly as he could so that he could create his oil paintings upon it, covering all of that priming work.
Sometime in the last decade, he has turned his focus to the process of priming. His latest art is the primed canvas, the gesso-on-linen. Sometimes as many as 100 coats. Shaped and shined painstakingly through what he referred to as a ritual.
Some of the pieces look like unfinished canvas until one gets close enough to see the fine details that were added by the process itself. Conducted by an imperfect hand, the process is followed so faithfully as to track any small variations such as fingerprints and strands of hair.
The Experience Factor
What I found most interesting about Busby’s process art was that it came later in life; after the exploration of art with oil and color and images and enthusiasm. And second, that the process he is working in is actually a preparation process, the preparation of a canvas for what is to come, what should be the “art.”
So the process, preparation, is the art.
At what age do we decide the process is the art?
Perhaps the same age when we realize we’re too old for $30 swim suits. The next question is "how did we get there?"