HOLISTIC ART EDUCATION OR ACADEMIC ART EDUCATION - WE HAVE A CHOICE
The holistic approach is an
alternative way of teaching art. In the holistic approach,
the education of the artist is to bring all aspects of art together into a single
educational theater. We will walk, talk,
move, play, explain, wonder, imagine, envision, postulate, and demonstrate all
together connecting the dots of our understanding as we go.
The components of an academic art education are:
Learning to use and understand our sensory
assets and the cognitive process that translates raw sensory data into an
experience. Think of the sensory assets
as the monitor and keyboard of a computer and the cognitive processes as the
software. Both parts work together to
produce an experience we can understand and share. Both parts work together even though we know
very little about the underlying process.
The artist can benefit by understanding the sensory/cognitive machinery
in a deeper way. Understand how we see
and how the mind (software) encodes this raw data gives the artist greater
sensitivity to the sensory/cognitive array that would otherwise go unnoticed.
The visual language is much like any language in
that there are great differences among various groups depending on their
collective history. Just as we have
oriental languages and European languages, so too do we have differences in
visual language. And within one language
we may have various regional dialects.
So too with visual language. As
an artist in training we become aware of the commonalities and differences in
this language and the cultural differences that they reflect. We become students of visual language. What we learn in the process helps us to both
borrow and invent our own unique language and dialect.
The artist takes his sensory/cognitive equipment,
encoded in a visual language and, from this, creates. This act of creation brings into focus the
physical elements of skillful movement and the use and exploitation of various
tools, materials, and processes all of which collectively work to produce an
experience that can be shared, a work of art.
In most academic art classes the student is
introduced directly to the tools, materials, and tradecraft of the artist. The focus is on skills and techniques leaving
it to the individual to eventually figure out the how they see and how their visual language came to be what it is. How we see is left to science. Our cultural visual language is left to art history.
Art is more than the sum of its parts. By teaching art in a purely academic way, something is lost. The holistic approach is less formal, more in the moment, less about lesson plans or technique, more about living and experiencing. It is not about "producing a product". The product, a work of art, becomes a way for us to capture the feeling of a moment, a moment that was felt deeply and purely.
Along the way, the elements of an academic education come up naturally, not ignored. We will start from where you are, where ever that may be.