What is a visual artist?

As a visual artist I am often asked what is a visual artist and what it is I do all day, the general view is that I sit in my studio all alone, painting. That is far from the truth in my case however I have many artist friends whose daily work resembles that picture.

Visual art for me is a language, a method of communication with oneself and with the world. It is also relational and concerns the way in which two or more people are connected and an exchange takes place. It is about working through, solving, understanding, exploring and sometimes reaching a resolution creatively perhaps non verbally. It is about providing the space and the environment where groups or individuals are free to explore what is in their heart or head and make something creative in response. It is at times an unconscious act of making and problem solving. This visual language can sometimes be read by the maker or the viewer and in some cases may not be immediately understandable even to the artist maker. It may be only over time that the work explains itself or at a later stage in an off guard moment that its meaning may become truly evident.

This art making process for me is at its best when working with others to explore and encourage their creativity in a way that is non-judgemental and has little or no rules. I am regularly reminded of how privileged I am to be working in groups where creativity works its magic and touches people at various depths and levels. It is the shared acknowledgement of something wonderfully creative having just happened which at times can be discussed or not discussed. When this happens it is usually evident for all that the genie has escaped and is not for returning.

The following are some of the mediums and methodologies I employ:

Most visual art forms are ideal for introducing and exploring creative processes for example, ceramics or clay work, drawing & painting (with everything other than pencils or brushes), sculpture, printmaking, fibre art, glass fusing, photography, video, filmmaking, architecture, dance and movement. If these mediums are readily available for exploration the potential is endless. Some of the mediums are instinctive while some require gentle progression depending on the groups.

Contemporary visual art is art that is produced by artists from the late 20th Century up to and including the present day. The art is often a combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that challenge traditional norms and defy any easy definition. It merges skills, mediums and everyday life. The concept can often determine the medium necessary to resolve or process an idea.

Participatory art is an approach to making art in which the participants or in some cases the audience is engaged directly in the creative process, allowing them to become co-authors, editors, creators and also observers of the work.

Collaborative art means working creatively together in conjunction with one or more to engage in and discuss the process and desired outcomes of the art work in a shared capacity.

Community art is artistic activity that is based in a social or other group setting. It is characterised by interaction, dialogue and creative exchange within the group with a professional artist collaborating with people who may not otherwise engage in the arts.