Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sketching vs. Knitting

I sketched my wife one evening when she was knitting a sweater. I like to ask people what they’re thinking about when they’re busy with a task. She said: “I’m establishing the pattern row for my first Aran sweater.” Later, as the pattern started to emerge, I realized that what she was doing took a lot more concentration than doing a sketch.

“I wouldn’t say it takes more concentration,” she said. “It’s a different kind of concentration.” Knitting is more mathematical and irreversible, while drawing is more fluid, and organic.

Tomorrow: Jason Peck's Palette Project


Erik Bongers said...

Aha, a more philosophical topic on the perception of tasks!

There's a lot of prejudice regarding many task 'we humans' perform.
Certain tasks have 'status' while others have not and this is all very subtle, subjective and absolutely irrational. Some tasks are considered requiring intelligence while others not - often without solid evidence.

We artists are very familiar with the ambiguity of this. People often express their admiration for our 'gift' or our 'talent' as they call it.
But when professional artists are asked what their job is they typically get that all to familiar and irritating reply "Yes, yes, I know you like to draw and paint but I wanted to know what your job is..."

This topic brings to my mind two little stories that I remembered from TV.
First one was a famous actrice that had to describe her job to an isolated ('primitive') african village. The concept of her job was difficult to explain : getting on a raised floor with some other people and then pretend to do things while many other people watch that for their amusement.
To the villagers it sounded like 'doing nothing with some other people, while many others are watching you and thus are also doing nothing."
The villagers remained polite to the actrice, but the whole situation was awkward and embarrasing for the acclaimed artist.

The second thing that I'm reminded of by this topic relates to the perceived intelligence of tasks.
It was a documentary on "The Economy of the Poor" which basically states that the next big world market to 'conquer' is the market of the poor. The logic behind it being that the poor have been neglected by economy both as consumers as well as employees.
Although I had my thoughts about economically 'conquering' the poor, one thought stayed with me:
"In order for 'the poor' to requires very high intelligence."

Isn't there a movie about a rich and a poor person being 'swapped' for some bet about wether both of them could survive in those new situations.

I have another idea: let's swap artists (being basically very preoccupied with their own creations and status) with say...nurses (being basically very preoccupied with the wellbeing of others).
Who would gain more respect for the job of the other after this little experiment?

Roberta said...

She's right!
What a lovely sketch of your wife.

Jen Z said...

I love it that you're not just creative and curious in your work but creative and curious in normal life situations. Being an artist really is a gift -not in what we are capable of doing with our hands, but what we do with our minds, and what we see that often remains invisible to the general public. Nice sketch, by the way.

Shane White said...

Each is its own kind of meditation I think though.