What I teach, part 1

Teaching art involves teaching the art of seeing. Unless one can see a thing clearly, one can not accurately render or effectively express a relationship to that thing. Once something is clearly positioned in the matrix of perception/consciousness/materiality, the rest follows naturally.Additionally, teaching art requires teaching the arts of stopping the mind, paying attention, and focusing. These skills are learned before pencil, pen, or charcoal touches the paper. At that point traditional art teaching begins. It is clear that the impediments to artistic creation are the same ones keeping us from living our lives in the present instead of experiencing the contents of the cultural edifice residing in our heads.Our minds are filled with second-hand symbols that inadequately embody our experience. Because they are useful for communication and transaction, we become so used to symbols that we come to mistake them for the things, events, and experiences they represent. We live within our internalized mental maps and are increasingly less able to perceive actual territories, their inhabitants, and the uniqueness of personal experience. Before beginning perception-based instruction I find it necessary to deconstruct misperception in some detail so that it can be eliminated to whatever degree possible. Unmediated experience is required to create unique reflection, representation, and expression.

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