Little research has been done into the importance of ‘identity formation’ in terms of becoming an artist, and yet “trying on the identity of artist...is a core part of ‘learning to be’ an artist, and close observation of other artists as models is essential in this process. (Budge, p.245). There are two central aspects of art learning, both of which are best addressed with artists' modelling practice: “how to do” (make and talk about work), and “how to know” (the development of conceptual processes) (Budge, p.249). The important point here is that the artist-model is not a ‘role model’ in the sense of a person to be simply imitated; neither are they a ‘master’ of the subject, in the traditional sense, as if the subject can be ‘mastered’. These are ‘peer models’, artists that the student artist can relate to. This means that often what is most useful is the observation of hesitations, tentative steps, uncertainty in the practice of others. There are many elements or behaviours of good practice that many artists have in common, and which can provide a useful starting point or model for the student-artist:
- Artists record personal experiences and observations
- Artists formulate questions for investigation
- Artists hypothesize using their experiences/observations and imagination.
- Artist research ideas and make unique and original connections between them.
- Artists learn from other artists, their ideas and ways of working
- Artists experiment with ideas and materials - bending, breaking, blending (Eagleman, 2017)
- Artists reflect critically on their work and develop their meta-cognition or ability to think about thinking and feeling.
- Artists learn to understand and deal with these thoughts and emotions that arise from reflection, and they make connection with, but also challenge their prior knowledge and ways of looking at the world.
- Artists synthesize or combine their research in material forms - embodiments of the ideas they wish to share with the world - concrete artifacts of the process that can be felt or experienced.
Budge, K. (2016). Learning to be: The modelling of art and design practice in university art and design teaching. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 35(2), 243-258.
Eagleman, D., & Brandt, A. (2017). The runaway species: How human creativity remakes the world. Catapult.
Marshal, J., & D’Adamo, K. (2011). Art practice as research in the classroom: A new paradigm in art education. Art Education, 64(5), 12-18