Sunday, March 13, 2011

Arts Education vs Crafts Education Part 1

DaMuseBlog intends to discuss artistic inspiration and specifically inspiration's application to music creation and production.  It is my intention to provide techniques for inspiration as well as the production techniques required to embody that inspiration in a medium of expression.


When I begin anything, I can't help but think of the openning line of Frank Herbert's (prophetic) classic Dune.

"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct." 
So these first few posts regarding art education  likely will be the longest post's you'll find on the DaMuseBlog.  But I am attempting to express to you, and to myself, the appropriate balance that I intend to strike in this blog.

Art education is tricky.  The act of art making (visual or auditory) is a fundamental human activity.  It is a base activity.  Even if you are making the most intellectualized art known to man, you are still expressing your soul.

So, how can you teach someone to express their soul without inserting your own soul?  Some educational institutions balk at the notion.  They simply say, "We cannot do that, so we won't."   Instead, they teach the craft of art making, and leave the soul (finding/expressing) to the artist.

I don't believe this is the best possible solution to the difficult problem of art education.  It has it's merits though.

First, craft is extremely important in the art making process.  Craft is the means by which we externalize our inner realities.  Some mundane examples of craft teaching are how to apply paint to canvas, how to play a particular instrument in the harmonic minor scale, etc.

Second, it is far easier to teach craft.  This one is a bit cynical but it is true.  It is far easier to teach a fledgling artist that this tone next to this tone produce a sufficient contrast, or that this note played with this note produces this type of harmony.  Teaching someone to find their own voice, their own soul... well how do you go about doing that?

Third, this craft only solution doesn't overtly interfere with the student's soul, allowing their own soul to find expression through their enhanced craft skills.  Imagine a danger of the alternative: an institution focused on soul education that yearly graduates a class full of institutional clones.  Each student could have their soul removed through the course of the education, and have the institution's soul implanted.  How catastrophic would that be for the individual artists?  What a loss to the society to have so many young expressive people essentially silenced?

This is a long post, so please proceed to Part 2.  When I figure out how to link to part 2, I'll post it!  For the mean time, hunt for it.  (Actually, just idiotically deleted part 2... it only took me ten hours to write it... this is honestly breaking my heart at the moment)

Also, I'd like you to consider disabling your ad blocking software, just for this page.   I know what you've read so far hasn't been the most useful information you've ever read on the interwebz, but I have good things coming.  Thank You!


  1. Great post! Really insightful and well presented.
    Gutting about part 2 man.

  2. It was parts 2, 3 and 4 that I deleted...

  3. VEry interesting points. Followed!

  4. I can see that you're gonna put a lot of effort into this, excited for your future posts...

  5. Deep.

    I think the question is whether a craft can be taught without some 'interference' to the artistic spirit.

  6. That's really the question isn't it? And I could have answered it (or at least discussed it) if I didn't delete it!!!!

  7. Great work keep it coming, best blog on earth