So, last night I was working, reluctantly, on a few masks. I'm sick, but I can't afford to just stop working altogether and so I was up late, determined to do as much as I could before I felt too crappy to continue.
As it happened, I started to feel better as I worked. I have an incredible immune system; I can actually do all the wrong things (stay up late, not drink enough water, go out in the rain with a fever...all things I did Tuesday) and yet eventually my body takes matters into hand and I will actually feel myself getting better. Right now, I feel great in spite of being really tired...
But I'm digressing. So I was working on these masks. And it was rote. Cutting, carving, shaping...I did all that in a haze 'cause I was still struggling with the remnants of this cold. And I thought "well...I'll just see how far I can get before I have to quit", and I really wanted to quit (I felt like playing Rachett & Clank for a while before passing out).
But then, HBO started re-playing all the episodes of "In Treatment" that I missed on Sunday, and I really love that show. So I started watching while I worked and I just kept painting while the shows ran...five half-hour-long shows back to back. And that's two and a half hours. And the last show ended pretty much on my last brush stroke, and the masks were done.
And they are really great masks. I made another Anubis and another Firefox...the fox is especially good because I experimented with some new grays with silver mixed in. But the thing is, I made these totally on autopilot. I put not a moment of thought into them. I was just feeling crappy and watching TV and the masks were the things my hands happened to be making at the time. They could have been needlepoint or hook rugs or paint-by-numbers.
But I sell these things and call them "art" . Are they really art? Is art something you can create thoughtlessly, on autopilot, while watching TV? Was the first Firefox I made "art", and every one after that just "craft"? Are they all art? Are none of them art?
Sometimes, I really do feel the creative spark, and I know it when I'm making something special. And sometimes, I'm just running on autopilot, making masks like a lemming, doing it the same way I always do it. And the thing is, at the end of the day you can put my "inspired" work next to my "busywork" and you can't tell it apart...it all looks the same.
So does that elevate all my craft into art? Or does that relegate all my artwork as craft?
EDIT: These are the masks I made...