Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How to Develop a Concept for an Artwork

Sometimes the hardest thing when you are wanting to be creative and create an artwork is coming up with an idea. Maybe you have alot of one-off ideas and want to create them into a series or body of work (I still struggle with this). And if you are still learning (as Artists never stop learning), then you continue to develop, challenge your thinking and find new ways. However you are probably at the 'hitting a brick wall' stage, so if you are, that's ok. Sometimes trying to 'push' for an idea to come only creates more pressure and less results. So, if you are in this position, or don't feel as though you have any deep and meaningful ideas you want to explore, just focus on getting you skills and techniques down pat. Even focusing on 'learning exercises' such as simple still lifes, landscapes or what ever is your interest is fine. Practice makes perfect.

However if you are at the stage where you want to explore ideas to develop a single artwork, or to create a body of work then here are some suggestions to get you on the right track:

The Brainstorm technique
1. Brainstorm ideas using a mind map e.g. Start with one word, your topic/focus. 
2. From that one word thing of any other 'connecting' words to this that refer to or reference the word. These can be any thoughts, feelings, ideas, contexts (political, historical, cultural etc) and so on. 
3. Now choose other keywords to explore and repeat steps one and two.
4. Once you are satisfied you have explored the idea enough and have chosen a 'path' start drawing up some thumbnail sketches.

1. Brainstorm

2. Further develop idea (add colour, collage, text etc)

Then start to focus on particular topics

Ripple & Tornado

The Research Technique
This technique can be used to start off or in conjunction with the Brainstorm technique.
1. Choose a topic/idea/thesis statement you wish to explore
2. Research aspects of this topic such as similar Artists who have explored this topic, Art Movements, Techniques, mediums you wish to explore etc
3. Start to develop and explore your idea through experimentation
4. Reflect and evaluate if you message is being communicated

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