Creating Ugly Art

[CYL] 08.29.16 Ughly 300px

Today the assignment in Creating Your Life was to create “bad art.” Here’s how instructor, Robert Fritz, describes the assignment:

“[today], make the most ridiculous, silly, goofy, inane little creation.

The assignment is to make bad art. As bad as you can make it. Have fun doing this. Do it as an experiment. Let yourself be open to this.”

The assignment to create something bad brought up a lot of resistance for me. Perfectionism is something I’ve struggled with most of my life. I couldn’t even think of how I would create something bad!

In fact, I briefly considered doing some research on what makes bad art bad. But I decided not to because this was yet another way for me to avoid “doing it wrong.” I was also struck by the absurdity of doing research on how to fail. It’s funny in a sad kind of way.

Instead I thought of the things that bug me a lot when I’m drawing. One of my biggest pet peeves lately has been when I draw something and the marker I use bleeds a lot so the lines get fuzzy and imprecise.

So I decided I’d draw a paisley design but I’d use my fattest permanent markers so the lines would be blurred and messy.

However, I drew the design on watercolor paper which is produced so that wet mediums like watercolor don’t bleed. How frustrating! I try to mess things up and it doesn’t work.

So I thought again, what would make the picture ugly? Well, I could use colors where there was so little contrast, everything would look kind of muddy and blah.

And that did the trick. I’d say I did a pretty darn good job creating an ugly picture.

In terms of insights. The one that stands out most for me is how ingrained my perfectionism is and how much I’m in the mindset of wanting to “do things the right way.” Also I don’t trust myself to know what the right way is for me evidenced by my impulse to research how to make something ugly.

I feel a certain relief that today I can go back to creating things that are pleasing to me but I must admit I enjoyed the freedom of breaking the rules. Sometimes it’s fun to be intentionally subversive!

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