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The Art of Ill Assumption

Starting off this project, I have seen the benefits of my academic background in Business Studies and Cultural Economics. I can understand certain concepts and implications of aspects of the cultural industry, and contextualize a lot of things from different artistic disciplines. However, the lack of art history studies has already endangered my budding art world reputation. Mistake number 1? Assuming “arts” and “crafts” were synonyms and interchangeable, which Babs was quick to point out was untrue. Babs’ patience was significantly valued, and was kind enough to withhold any desire to have me ostracized from the art scene, and instead explain to me the differences through exploring the artworks in her home.

This crash-course in expressionism was well appreciated, and although Babs’ claims that the “line between art, design and craft is fading away”, it is clear to me the difference between what could be considered an art piece and what would be considered to be a craft. Not limited by perceived functionality of the pieces, Babs’ art draws it’s aesthetic composition from a plethora of inspirations including dance, the human form, how dresses and clothing shape themselves when fell upon human skin, the juxtaposition of natural forms against rigid man-made structures, and so on. 

Speaking to the contrast of crafting and creating art, Babs’ reminisces about her time working in the INAX factory in Japan in 1992. This factory was primarily used to produce commercial ceramic products such as roof tiles, toilets etc. After winning a prize, Babs was commissioned to work and create art pieces in the factory, using tiles and creating a mold out of this, resulting in a vessel which combined tiles. This art was birthed from the realization of the juxtaposition between the notion of creating art, and what could be considered crafts, constructing vessels which are not bounded by commercial form and free to explore methods and techniques in sculpting, whilst surrounded by the monotony and monochromatic milieu of the tile factory.

It’s been a pleasure to learn from Babs’ and feel her palpable passion for what her art means to her and others, and is nice to be aware of the importance of not making assumptions in my work and ensuring the archive is an appropriate expression of the legacy of Babs herself. As Socrates once said “All I Know is That I Know Nothing”, so with this blank slate I march forward to the initial stages of the archiving of the work.

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