Video/Lecture Artist Research

Having watched the videos suggested by Cheryl I have noted down quotes that really resonated for me.  I have also made some notes to remind myself of processes that may be of interest.

Julie Mehretu


Julie Mehretu: “Mural”/Art 21 “Exclusive”

From a distance you have one experience, close up you have another but they don’t battle each other”

“Additive process.  No part completely determined ever, beginning lines…certain shapes wanted to include but not sure where, when, how’.

“Always a back and forth, moving things around”.

“A lot of meaning in the painting I would never want to articulate in a direct statement.  Big reason work with abstraction as can’t pinpoint a certain narrative.”

“The shapes can bring up something more, subconsciously or poetically within us”.


Julie Mehretu: Workday/Art 21 “Exclusive”

“Takes a while to get into the work, actually remember where I am in a painting or realise a new point of entry”.

“Sometimes it can take days to know what to do next”.  

“Make between one and another”.  

“make the work – being in here every day, sometimes will be great, make realisations and leave having had intense engagement. Some days can’t make the connection but that’s part of it, being in there, really realising the painting”. 

Studio Assistants

Julie Mehretu: Studio Assistants/Art 21 “Exclusive”

  • the layers of architectural drawings are projected onto the canvas from the computer where Mehretu has planned it out.
  • there are mix charts of what colours are used where and how they are mixed – this is really helpful in terms of planning and layers.  I like the accuracy and attention involved in this.
  • the work is sprayed with varnish then sanded and furniture polished – creates a ‘super-smooth technical surface
  • Shapes are projected onto the wall and masked out to provide accurate neat edges – this idea of stencilling is certainly something i would like to try in my own work – it feels it would bring a geometric tension in that I can then juxtapose.
  • the assistants constantly check the work again and again, touching up and touching up as the varnish seals everything in and renders the piece unpenetrable for additional work

Clarice Smith Distinguished Lecture with Artist Julie Mehretu

Having watched this lecture I found it incredibly intense and hard to access in terms of assimilating ideas and thoughts for my own practice.  It was good to see that intensity and good to know that it is okay to not be easily understandable.  In a way it was a confirmation to seek one’s own path, to follow it and be true to whatever comes in that space – however difficult it may be for others to connect with it.  It is interesting that Mehretu’s work speaks to me hugely – I have stood in front of her large piece in the Tate and cried. And yet I struggled to find that by listening to her words – somehow the complexity that she reveals for me in her work is enough for me to know.

Louise Despont

What is interesting to me about Despont’s work is that in giving permission to herself to use tools like stencils, it liberates her entirely.  I would feel guilty about not drawing everything free hand, that somehow I am cheating and that it is not ‘proper’ if I have used something to help me.  This video is a great challenge to that preconceived idea – where did I get that one?  Is it because I have heard too many times that artists’ shouldn’t use rulers?  This video definitely makes me want to buy some stencils and get cracking!

Draws Deep

“Focussed and dedicated in doing one simple thing can perhaps be the most transformative thing. As narrow as it is it can be infinitely deep”.

Rubbing out around the protractor –

Work in notebooks, collecting images, using collage. “Nature of working in a book – work is private, not making work for people to see – if you are always imagining somebody will look at it then maybe you won’t let yourself make the mistakes that need to be made along the way“.

first few makes contain the seed of the drawing“.

“Accessing something that feels very universal. Something so personal and raw and unconcrete about your relationship to the spiritual……best explained in the drawings”.

According to the Universe

Look at work that vibrates for you….that you are moved by it and changed by it”

“A body of work develops its theme in different ways. One way is simply that because the work is so slow to make, one year equals one show, it’s the state of mind of that year.  Suspicious of deciding on the subject of a show before starting the work – the process of drawing is such a learning tool that the work will guide it much better than sitting down and trying to make a decision.”

“What is interesting about the creative act is that you can access something completely outside of yourself.  It is a communication with awareness rather than consciousness.”

The idea of surrendering to something greater than myself is very appealing to me – the idea of only being a small part of a creative process and to honour that something by my dedication and complete connection to whatever I am guided to do.  Again, this is a way of working that I really connect with, however, I am unsure how to work this in with coursework – it will need to be something I develop in my own practice at my own pace.  Especially as it may be something I am unable to quantify or explain.


Molly Crabapple


“It’s better to do the wrong line with confidence and style than do the right line with hesitation and tentativeness” – this quote has had a huge effect on me.  I first watched this video 2-3 months ago and this one line really changed how I approached my drawing.  I was able to reflect that my drawing practice is based on poorly drawn lines – that to describe one line I might actually use many more to get that line down – it has challenged me to tighten up – to be more accurate, to be less heavy handed, to draw more lightly, be more delicate.

“wanted artists to be engaged in the world…a part of everything”

“In visual art, the answer (to blocks) was to Work so hard that you kind of broke, empty everything out that was cliched about you and then something else emerges.”




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