There is a common question across several podcasts I've been listening to (see bottom of post for links) that has me thinking about my past. The question is, "What is your earliest memory of art?" The answers given by the guests run a wide range from physically making to experiencing art, with a very loose interpretation of art.
For me, what comes to mind immediately is seeing myself sitting on the kitchen floor in my childhood home deconstructing a radio. I remember vividly having the desire to take things apart and then put it back together. I don't know how old I was or if this caused my mother any amount of distress, but I'm sure the radio was one of many things I took apart.
Some may not think of this as an act of art, but when I think about it, I can see the different colored wires and the green circuit boards with shiny solder drops. It was both a scientific and visual experience. Once all the tiny screws were removed and the pieces laid out, what I had before me still didn't explain how the radio worked, but it wasn't any less exciting. After examining all the pieces making my own connection with how they "work", I'd put it all back together and turn it back on, feeling as if I created the radio. My memory tells me the radio still worked when I was done.
When I first starting working with pottery, it was this same feeling....I wanted to know how a bowl was made. Starting with the parts... soft clay, water, a wheel, an assortment of tools. Each piece on its own was interesting to me and learning how to put them together to form a bowl was very much like putting together the radio. I'm sure I'm not done going down the rabbit hole of how things are made even when it comes to pottery. I would like to learn about clay body composition and how to mix my own glazes, maybe even make my own tools...but there's time for that.
Learning to make things myself has been an underlying theme all of my life. In college, one communications class assignment was to come up with a brand profile and logo. The company I created was called "Self Contained" and the logo was an egg standing on end. An egg is a symbol of life, and it has everything contained within...self contained and self sufficient. I didn't know how this would continue to manifest over the years at the time.
Now I can look back and see how my earliest memory has been played out again and again in almost everything I pursue. It has made be realize the driving force behind being an artist is my desire to live a simpler, self-sufficient life. Huh.
Podcasts I'm listing to: