MY ART CONCENTRATION & SOUND AND THE FURY While reading Sound and the Fury, Faulkner’s obscure yet realistic portrayals of characters including Quentin and Benjy brought to light some interesting ideas that influenced my studio art concentration. I noticed a lot of similarities between my concentration and the book (and discussions we had in class), and in working on them simultaneously, both my understanding of the book and development of my artistic process/concentration began to build off of eachother. In this mini book, I thought it would be fun to discuss and discover some of the unintentional and intentional connections between the two.
FAULKNER AND THE ARTISTIC PROCESS Faulkner re-emphasized my philosophy surrounding the artistic process and the importance of ambiguity and a lack of structure. Throughout his writing, Faulkner brings his readers to the emotional level of his characters, allowing for an indefinable yet confusingly realistic understanding of his characters. In art for me, I think there’s a similar goal: striving to convey distinct “vibes” and feelings through indefinable characteristics while also balancing how much information is given – enough to enhance the desired “vibes” but not so much as to flatten them. For example, in some instances, a tear or frowny face counteract any attempts to convey “sadness” as they separate the art from the viewer and attempt to define the indefinable, instead flattening the incorporeal aspects that makeup that type of “sadness”. Instead, perhaps a deliberate choice of colors, strokes, and completeness (along with other things like lighting, angles, etc) would better convey the desired atmosphere. I’m definitely nowhere near close to mastering this concept, but it’s interesting to note how this idea carries over into other disciplines like writing. Another aspect of Faulkner that interested me was his approach to writing. In an article we received in class, Faulkner explains his feelings surrounding writing Sound and the Fury, noting how it was “definite and physical and yet nebulous to describe: that ecstasy, that eager and joyous faith and anticipation of surprise which the yet unmarred sheet beneath my hand held inviolate and unfailing waiting for release. It was not there in As I Lay Dying. I said, It is said, because I knew too much about this book before I began to write it.” This quote pinpoints how I view the artistic process. For example, it seems that whenever I obsess over details and expectations of an art piece before creating it, although the piece may end up more ordered and arguably realistic, that planning ultimately suppresses spontaneity and the art is resultingly too tight – any looseness and unintentional thought is lost (for the most part). It’s not as dramatic as I made it sound, but Faulkner nevertheless highlights the successes of spontaneity in his writing and the mobility that comes with an unrestricted exploration of uncertainties: something I admire and that continually influences my artistic process.
QUICK OVERVIEW OF MY ART CONCENTRATION
My concentration for ap studio art is centered around the subconscious including but not limited to ideas of internal conflict, unintentional self reflections, fluidity, and control. As my concentration evolves, I’ve been enjoying figuring out different ways to convey these underlying feelings and concepts. I used various mediums including resin to emulate the fluidity of consciousness and the often distant/ungraspable feelings associated with deep thought. I also experimented with different layering techniques with resin, paint, cardboard, etc to further convey ideas of internal contrast and depth.
SOUND AND THE FURY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF MY CONCENTRATION Reading Sound and the Fury and discussing it in class brought to light new ideas surrounding the workings of the subconscious which in turn expanded my perspective as I created art. In Benjy’s chapter, for example, Faulkner shows Benjy’s unfiltered mind. He lacks input, and although his chapter is difficult to comprehend, he showcases a realistic portrayal of how memory and thought work in the absence of self interest and other filters. This idea of mental fluidity highlighted different aspects of the subconsciousness that have influenced and supported my work. One reason why I decided on the topic of my concentration was I wanted to explore memory and its underlying influence on actions; this is something the Benjy chapter also focuses on as Benjy’s perspective moves based off of triggers in his memory, independent from the present. Moreover, in reading Quentin’s chapter, I found images from the text that oriented and pinpointed the feelings I was working to acheive in my art, and in turn, I gained a greater sympathy for the characters as I internalized their conflicts and communicated them through art. For example, images of water in Quentin’s chapter and the empty/out of control feeling they seemed to carry in contrast to their smooth surface extended to my art.
QUENTIN INSPIRED PIECE For this piece, I used acylic paint to create a circular painting on a piece of thick, clear plastic. I then shined a light behind the clear plastic, so that the circle casted a shadow or something slightly reminiscent of a circle. This piece was heavily influenced by the Quentin chapter in Sound and the Fury and some of the concepts/feelings associated with his language, internal dialogue, and obsessions. Quentin constantly struggles to calm conflicting ideaologies in his head, so much so that he looses himself through these obsessions. In this piece, I played with depth and tried to create a muffled look through layering paint smudges in a slightly disordered yet fluid style. The person is stuck deep in their head, with a limited view of the outside that is distorted by their clouded thoughts and disproportionate interpretations of events. Additionally, I worked to emulate the ideas of continuity and flow in the circular shape of the piece, partially paralleling ongoing/nonlinear thoughts–something emphasized in Quentin’s internal dialogue. Furthermore, in reading Sound and the Fury, I was intrigued by Quentin’s obsession over shadows. While they’re also a sybmbol time, they more broadly could represent a fear of external portrayal and influence (or a lack there of). In casting a shadow, the complexity of the piece is lost in a more abstract sense. The focus is diverted to a warped sillhouette of a circle (or character), and any internal complexities or understandings are lost. This concept is extended throughout the book as Faulkner only momentarily describes Quentin in the other chapters /through other characters where all of the chaos and deep thought he embodied is lost.
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