There’s too much stuff in the world.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Almost obsessing about the idea, really, because I’ve been an artist all my life. Being creative typically means making stuff, so this is probably not the best attitude for a creative person to have. Human beings are way too prolific at the stuff-making for our own good.
In order to reconcile my “too much stuff” attitude with my “boy, it’s fun to make stuff” attitude, I’ve recently decided to practice Slow Art, purposely taking my time to create art, rather than rush through projects. By making Slow Art, I can enjoy the creative process while not putting quite so much stuff in the world.
My first official Slow Art project was the Rewired book I made and posted about here. While I was writing that blog post, I mentioned the concept of Slow Art with the thought that I had blogged about it previously and then discovered I hadn’t, hence this blog post. But, I was reminded of my intention to blog about Slow Art by an article I found online about Slow Art Day.
Say what? I thought Slow Art was something only I thought about. As it turns out, Slow Art Day is the flip side to my concept of Slow Art.
A study discovered that people spend only about 17 seconds looking at any given piece of art in a museum. This is called “grazing.” It’s a practice I fully understand. Most art museums contain too many paintings (what did I say about people making too much stuff?) for any one person to properly appreciate and if you’re trying to see “everything,” the only way to do it is to graze.
In an effort to encourage the deeper appreciation of art, Slow Art Day was founded 3 years ago. The point of the day is to look at 5 pieces of art for 10 minutes each and then discuss the works over lunch with others participating in the day. The next Slow Art Day is April 27, 2013. (The source link for the last 2 paragraphs is here.)
My method in museums is to graze first, pick out my favorite pieces, and then go back and look at those for a longer period of time.
Perhaps, if we combine my idea of making Slow Art with the idea of a Slow Art Day, we can tackle both problems at once. If there was less art in the world because it was made more slowly, there’d be less art for people to look at and they’d spend less time grazing and more time really studying it.
Shazam! I could live with that.