Friday, September 1, 2023

Biophilic Dome Project

 Hello Gentle Readers:

I am making the largest project of my life and I really, really wanna share it with you! Wheeee!

First two panels complete

I am an artist in residence at the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics (PCfN).  What is neuroaesthetics you say? You can read some definitions here and check out the lab at Penn here.  I am really, really enjoying my experiences there and I can say with full confidence my mind is blown.  Down to matters more prosaic. As an AIR I need to do a project and I decided my project would be to build a dome based on biophilic design.  Biophilic design is this.

WHY THIS PROJECT? My goals (possibly lofty), intentions etc--

  1. To create a space inspired by biophilic principles (but not based on them!) that encourages a "spiritual experience" that (maybe) centers one's consciousness at the center of ("the") universe (Doesn't ALL art do that, really?) In other words, to attempt a "unification" of scientific and spiritual "truth".
  2. To create a space that encourages reflecting on the 'blue marble" from the inside. (Hopefully reflecting on climate change, habitat destruction and the interdependence of all life on earth)
  3. To underscore the primacy of imagination and to call attention to the futility of objectivity in a good way! :)
  4. To honor the history of architectural and ecclesiastical stained glass (specifically creating an intimate environment in which to view a stained glass piece)
  5. to make my largest project ever (and possibly one of my last if my arthritis is RA or gets a lot worse)
  6. To prove I can do this
  7. Detail of panel 2
    Another detail of panel 2
That was my elevator pitch.  Here it is in a little more detail going backwards towards the most important stuff:
6 and 5 The me stuff:  As Cormac McCarthy once said:"I'm not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing."  'Nuff said.
4. Architecture: As a stained glass artist, I am constantly being taken to task by my colleagues in the field for not working in architectural space (my work is exhibited in lightboxes) and thus, I have always had in the back of my mind thoughts like “what is the ideal viewing space for my work?” and have thought for years to make a “personal shrine” for a single viewer.  This goes against the convention of thinking in monumental architectural terms.  Many wish to make imposingly scaled projects, which presume the viewer will be at quite a far distance from the stained glass itself.  That distance registers both physically and psychologically and I want to collapse that distance.  In addition, stained glass in churches and public spaces is almost always designed for an audience of several or more people at once. It is not a private experience, which the dome will be.  In the modernist age, there has been a disparaging of the small, the intimate and the domestic in favor of the grand and the sublime.  In the age of mass media, it is tempting to assume that reaching the largest number of people at once is somehow optimal. My project is, in some ways, intended to challenge that assumption. (Never mind this dome will actually be the largest project I have ever undertaken!  It will still be relatively tiny by architectural stained glass standards).  Because I am interested in how art, in particular visual art, acts on a single person at a time, I am interested specifically in creating an intimate environment. 
Proposal sketch
Actual dome in progress
3.Imagination:  I have this proto-theory that imagination is the most important, radical thing we can do as conscious beings. Think about it?  How would you define "imagination" anyway? How is it different or the same as "creativity"? Imagination has been condemned as fantasy and a solipsistic waste of time. But is it fair to marginalize imagination and not take it seriously?  Spoiler alert: NO.  For one thing: our entire understanding of anything is predicated on making sense of our senses and we must do that by encoding things in our heads somehow. If you want to know more read this book.  Go on, I double dare you!

I need to write and think more on this topic but enough for now or this blog post will never happen.  Suffice it to say, the imagery in this dome is being generated by all my doodles at PCfN and I am on a mission to redesign nature all myself. You know, in case we kill it all?  Someday we will need nature designers to make all our fake plants and animals.
Detail of panel 1
Another detail of panel 1
As for objectivity I dare you to read this. I am obsessed with natural history illustration.  Here's a factoid: women of the hilariously misnamed "Enlightenment" were permitted to be botanical illustrators.  Can you imagine funneling ALL your urgent artsy creativity into that?  That must explain Maria Sibylla Merian (another MSM link here) and Barbara Dietzsch's genius.  But that's not all!  Ernst Haeckel and John James Audubon also are big influences.  Yes, I know Audubon is evil, but have you seen one of his prints in the flesh?  They move me almost to tears.  And they prove my point that every artwork is the encoding of a human soul first and foremost and a repsonse to the external world secondly.  And I want my dome to hearken to that paradox as well.
2. Blue marble:  In addition to being inspired by the work of PCfN, it is my hope that the piece creates a venue for contemplation—of both inner space, how we experience spaces neurologically and psychologically as well as outer space, how we extend ourselves into our surroundings.  For me, this would include an environmental message.
The earth is our home, and it can be a welcoming home and perhaps if we thought of it as such, we might be less inclined to sit by while we destroy it.
1. Yeah, you got that right: its kinda supposed to be a sacred space inspired by science: Spirituality is not typically the realm of science (and from my personal experience, it is absolutely taboo in academia in general unless one is in a Religious Studies program). As such, I am assuming biophilic spaces are studied from a practical and material point of view. But I think, without getting too mystical about it, biophilic spaces offer an opportunity to reconcile a human consciousness with an environmental context. They can demonstrate that what appears to be a mind/body split, or a mental classification of interior vs exterior (self vs “not-self”) is a perceptual illusion and while it may have an important practical heuristic function, it also ensures a sense of a sense of loneliness and enables eco disasters, etc. Therefore, I conclude that if reuniting these seemingly separate things is not the essence of “spirituality” then nothing is.  I would say that from a neurological or psychological perspective, this has some value.
Ultimately, I see the project as a model of a three tiered cosmos, centering a single person inside a model of the “blue marble” that we humans inhabit externally—but perhaps experience as a bubble surrounding us.  At worst, we see ourselves as the center of the universe, but at best, we could say we are centered in the cosmos.
FINALLY! Stay tuned more to come.  What going in the dome itself?  BIRDIES.  That's what.
Yet another detail of panel 1
Yet another detail of panel 2

Monday, May 29, 2023

Facial Anomalies

One of the things they study at the Penn Center forNeuroasthetics where I am an artist in residence, is facial anomalies. These include the obvious, such as cleft palate but the spectrum continues into the more typical such as scars, or other so called “disfiguring” conditions that leave a face “distorted”.  All in quotes because the stakes are high.  Check these out.

 It is fair to say that we as humans assess each other’s and our own faces and if there is anything that deviates a little too far from what we expect, we notice.

Unfortunately, biases against facial anomalies do exist in society. People with facial anomalies may face prejudice, discrimination, or negative judgments based on their appearance. Yes—even by persons who claim they don’t. This bias can stem from societal beauty standards, cultural influences, lack of understanding, fear, or ignorance about these conditions.  This is what they study at PCfN. The good news is that the bias seems changeable.

Facial anomalies interest me personally for a few reasons.  One is from the POV of self-image.  How does it affect a person if they feel like a freak—even if they aren’t, say, in the case of body dysmorphia?  Second: a zillion times I have been asked about why I distort faces when I draw them.  What’s it all about????  I wish I knew.  All I can say is that it’s a very strong, irresistible compulsion.  Until they look like that, I am massively unsatisfied and will destroy or alter them until they do.  They are to me, extremely gorgeous.  To others, I can’t say.  But to me, they are right, and all other faces are not-right.

Another factor in this piece was relating facial anomalies to “glass anomalies”. What constitutes an assault on our assumptions about health, integrity and wholeness in glass and stained glass design itself?

One thing about being a stained glass artist is dealing with broken glass.  In fact, all glass is broken in that that’s how you get it to be the desired shape.  Intention matters, but only so much.  Basically, you break it into shape.  And of course, it breaks on its own sometimes. I have had many a call an email from someone really panicking because something has quote-unquote broken.  Not that it matters in the grand scheme of human affairs, but people are really biased against broken glass, as if there was something wrong with it!  But…not all breaks signify damaged goods and sometimes it just adds to the story and look of the piece in a positive way. However, usually its seen as disfiguring and a very bad thing indeed.  Suddenly its no longer perfect!! (as if it ever was!)


But of course, the breaks often add to the content in significant ways, actually improving it: Check out these cool historical examples: (AND THESE TOO!)

Take that, Rene Descartes!
Silence! Its golden.
Upside down peace sign on the pope, what could it mean?
Bisected cupid (a vast improvement)

Most breaks in a window do not cause any issue with the structure.  Virtually ALL stained glass windows have breaks in them and plenty of them if the window is old.  The only time I worry is if they are prominent enough that they interfere with the design.  Like if they are right through the face.......I think you see where I am going with this!

In this piece, I wanted to address my own preciousness with the people I draw. I wanted to challenge the notion that breakage=damage. I wanted to see if I could intentionally break the faces right where it would matter.  Although, what I found was that in many cases, I couldn’t go through with it.  For one thing, in order to up the ante, I made sure the painting was some of my very best.  Much harder to make myself intentionally break it! 

It is said that ugliness, dirt, weeds etc are things that are perceived as being “out of place”, things that might be perfectly acceptable...somewhere else, thank you very much..... Breaks in glass fall into this category.

All this reminds me of how our aesthetic sense works: we are on the lookout for certain things.  We tend to have a preference for the “normal du jour”, we really like beauty (which could be said to be normal du jour that’s exaggerated in such a way that we are turned on rather than off) and we are destabilized by things that are anomalous. To put it really bluntly, we tend to find them un-attractive aka UGLY.   

And yes, I am more than familiar with the fact that some DO see them as attractive. I am one of them and that’s why I wanted to make the piece—to create an opportunity to reconsider that what upsets the apple cart is actually an opportunity to expand our definition of the beautiful.


Technical deets:

My windows was painted with Reusche stencil black enamel mixed with the awkwardly named "red for flesh".  I paint on a sandblasted surface.  Each roundel has about 4-5 firings at 1225F.

Assembling with lead






Thursday, May 18, 2023

stained glass on endangered list

And this just in.....


I have a few thoughts, perhaps unsurprisingly.  My first is that this is a formalization of something and that has some very real, very upsetting consequences (to myself and my profession, anyway.  I am pretty sure it doesn't affect a lot of other people and that just makes it sadder...)  it also might have a good side.

The cons are more obvious.  I know that every time I mentioned in class that "painting is dead (or dying)" the students (especially the painting students, duh!) jumped down my throat.  Of course they did--its not like they had lost the urge to paint.  The impetus and inspiration to paint their hearts out was alive and well and I would imagine will be alive and well until we mutate into another species.  In other words, the need to create images, including immobile two dimensional images, is part of our genetic make up.  Whether these need to be in oil paint remains to be seen.  I kinda doubt it, but I always hated the smell of oil paint and how it ruined all my clothes!  Regardless, no one wants their medium to be publicly declared "irrelevant".

Back to the cons.  Declaring something deceased is troublesome if you find it viable and are passionate about practicing it. The article by the BSMGP (I am a member, fyi) cites the following consequences: Loss of skills, loss of practitioners, decline in education, lack of training and employment ops,  loss of materials (so true!!! I am having a harder and harder time sourcing things) and  loss of relevance.

UGH. This is very sad indeed.

The death of stained glass "quaintifies" it. I work in stained glass and I feel like half my battle is convincing people I don't make my pieces in historic costume in a reconstructed colonial village.  By the way, I don't think there was stained glass in colonial America, so there's that. We don't have an reconstructed medieval villages in the US as far as I know. ANYWAY,  stained glass, IMHO, has been dying for a long time.  So long that the corpse has stopped smelling.  In other words, I am in a good position to speak on the PROS of working in a deceased medium.

Pro #1: Stained glass is dead, long live stained glass!  Stained glass is not a person but a medium and a tradition.  It actually can't die. People still respond strongly to images created with radiant colored light. As far as I can tell, this is a biological response and will not change.  Similar to what I said above about the impetus and inspiration to paint, so to, is there an impetus to "craft" as well as reasons why there will always be an audience.  Can you say "empathy"?)

People will continue to appreciate stained glass when they see it.  Because of this, it would be most helpful if the pieces they are looking at don't suck. But, regardless, the power of radiant light is such a compelling effect that it almost doesn't matter.  This has been the strength and weakness of stained glass since forever and contributes to its ongoing death AND its ongoing life!

Something the BSMGP may not have noticed is that stained glass enjoyed a revival during Covid.  One of its superpowers as a medium is that is is very DIY.  This will help it survive. This will also ensure that there are many untutored practitioners.  Again, this is for better and worse.

Pro #2: I can't think of one.  Uh oh...

My final comments will be on the idea of "progress" in the arts.  We want to tie progress to technology, and for good reason. Technology definitely progresses!  But does art?  I think not.  As Picasso allegedly pointed out when visiting the caves of Altamira “In 15,000 years we have invented nothing!”

For this reason, I think its kind of hubris-y to assumed that the latest technology somehow represents a paradigm shift for art.  We are still tied to a biological imperative to understand the world via senses and image. Whether these images can wash and fold your laundry and do the cha-cha (think AI) is irrelevant--there is still "magic" and meaning to be found in images which sit there and do nothing but assert themselves as images, damitol!  The burden is on the beholder to find the enchantment, after all, you still have the brain of neolithic humans, so what's stopping you?

Long live stained glass!

Part of this post inspired by this book (which I have only read chapter one as of this writing)

Friday, May 12, 2023


"Swarm". 24" x 60"


 The piece is 24" x 60", it took four months (working about four or five days a week) to make if you don't include the study piece, which add a month or so to the time.  

"Swarm Study" 1st version 2022

Lotsa Swarms around lately...there's this and also there's this.  I guess I am cresting the wave of some zeitgeist here.

The inspirations are, well, multitudinous. First and foremost, I began a residency at the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics last spring.  The lab is led by Anjan Chatterjee who wrote a fantastic book called "The Aesthetic Brain".  As an artist in residence, I attend weekly lab meetings and am making a series of project including a geodesic dome chapel--which I am beginning work on very soon.  During the lab meetings I tend to doodle a lot.  And I have been doodling FLIES.

Neuro doodle  (with guest doodle by Clifford Workman)
another neuro doodle

I had the notion to make a picture of inspiration itself, which of course is almost impossible to define.  The feeling, though, can be one of a burst or a gush of multiple ideas (I don't think "inspiration" would be "having an idea", for instance.  It might, however be "having a network of a zillion ideas happen almost simultaneously".). And I could do this by a literal representation of hundreds of variations on a theme. The theme being FLIES.

Why flies? Because they fly? 

Maybe that's not enough of an answer...!  I like to doodle things I can riff on. Things that contain similar elements, like, in the case of flies: wings, legs, antennae, eyes, etc that can be endlessly combined like the letters of an alphabet to create different forms.  And these "words" can be combined in a "syntax".  Does this make sense?  I have done endless variations on other things like birds and flowers. I thought flies would be interesting because I had always focused on insects wings as the main defining element, and somehow I noticed their eyes, tongues and bodies were much more interesting than I previously thought! And, of course, I have a long history of being interested in redeeming the ugly and disgusting--but on its own terms.  I don't want to over-prettify it. Just enough... This also fits in with some of what is studied at the neuroaesthetics lab.


So, I had AI generate a swarm of flies.....lolz!

Maybe its completely unremarkable, but the way the imagination can recombine elements into an infinity of new possibilities fascinates me.  Especially in the days when reference material is a simple as clicking on google images.  I don't want to get to judgy here, but it bothers me when artists, especially young artists with no real practice of plumbing their own imaginations rely on reference material, which they do not bother to transform very much.  I wanted to "prove" that on the fuel of imagination alone, one could "invent" hundreds of new flies.  And that to design a gushing plume of them would be a literal representation of "having an idea" least having an idea about flies!


Below are some additional images of the process.

What the separate layers of glass look like
All the red pieces.  This is glass engraving, enamel and silverstain

Original sketch
One thought I had and rejected
How I was trying to conceive of the color burst.

One more thing:  while I worked on this piece, I often thought of my dear friend Sharon Church (who passed away on Christmas). She and I spent many years teaching together and one subject we always returned to was "beauty". Since she used frogs as a motif in a few pieces, I thought of this as the tantalizing, delicious and yes, beautiful, desirous meal for one of her frogs.  RIP, dearest friend.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Judith Interviews Chatgpt

 Well, Chatgpt is fun enough!  The answers tend to be repetitious and a little boring but I will say chatgpt was very forgiving about my rushed spelling!!  It got more interesting as I went along. And I do apologize for the blatant ego-fishing at the end! 

(Judith in boldface)

do you have a name?

Yes, you can call me ChatGPT!

Can I change your name?

As an AI language model, I don't have a personal preference or emotional attachment to a specific name. You can refer to me however you like, but my official name is ChatGPT.

I want to call you Sophie.

While I appreciate your suggestion, my official name is still ChatGPT. However, feel free to refer to me as Sophie if that makes it easier for you to interact with me.

Do you know what Sophie means?

Yes, Sophie is a name of Greek origin which means "wisdom". It's a beautiful name with a lovely meaning!

OK, Sophie: what's te relationship of subject to object in art?

In art, the relationship between subject and object can be complex and multifaceted. Generally, the subject is the person, object, or idea that is being represented or depicted in the artwork, while the object is the artwork itself, which can include its physical form, its visual qualities, and its conceptual meaning.

The subject and object in art can have a dynamic relationship, as the way the subject is depicted can influence the way the object is perceived by the viewer. For example, the subject of a portrait may be rendered in a way that emphasizes certain qualities or emotions, which can in turn affect the viewer's interpretation of the artwork as a whole.

Similarly, the object of an artwork can also influence the way the subject is perceived. The materials, techniques, and style used to create an artwork can all contribute to its overall effect, which can in turn influence the viewer's interpretation of the subject being depicted.

Ultimately, the relationship between subject and object in art is complex and can vary depending on the specific artwork and the viewer's individual interpretation.

is one more important than the other?

The importance of the subject and object in art can vary depending on the artistic intention and style of the artwork. In some cases, the subject may be the primary focus of the artwork, with the object serving as a means of conveying the subject to the viewer. For example, in a realistic portrait, the subject of the artwork (i.e., the person being depicted) is often the primary focus, with the object (i.e., the painting or photograph itself) serving as a means of conveying the likeness and personality of the subject to the viewer.

In other cases, the object may be the primary focus of the artwork, with the subject serving as a means of exploring the object or conveying a particular message or emotion. For example, in abstract art, the object (i.e., the painting or sculpture itself) may be the primary focus, with the subject serving as a means of exploring color, texture, form, and other visual qualities.

Ultimately, both the subject and object are important in art, as they work together to convey the artist's message, emotion, or intention to the viewer. The relative importance of the subject and object can vary depending on the artistic style and intention of the artwork, as well as the individual interpretation of the viewer.

that's a good answer! But I feel like in art school we place more emphasis on subject. It seems like we equate the subject with the meaning. Can you comment on that?

Yes, you're correct that in many art schools and artistic traditions, the subject is often given greater emphasis as it is seen as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning in art. This is especially true in representational art, where the subject is often the recognizable object or figure that the artist is depicting.

In these cases, the subject can be seen as the focal point of the artwork, and the object (i.e., the artwork itself) serves primarily as a means of conveying the subject to the viewer. This is because the subject is often seen as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning or emotion in art, and the way the subject is depicted can have a powerful impact on the viewer's interpretation of the artwork.

However, it's also important to recognize that the object (i.e., the artwork itself) can play an important role in conveying meaning and emotion in art as well. This is especially true in abstract and conceptual art, where the object can be seen as the primary vehicle for exploring ideas, emotions, and visual qualities.

Ultimately, the relative importance of the subject and object in art can vary depending on the artistic tradition, style, and intention of the artwork, as well as the individual interpretation of the viewer. Both the subject and object can play an important role in conveying meaning and emotion in art, and it's up to the artist to determine how they want to balance these elements in their work.

How can object be a priority with conceptual art? You would think it was the other way around!

In conceptual art, the primary focus is often on the idea or concept behind the artwork rather than on the physical object that is created. This means that the object itself may not be seen as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning or emotion in the artwork. Instead, the object is often used as a means of conveying or exploring the underlying concept or idea.

For example, in the artwork "Fountain" by Marcel Duchamp, the object (i.e., a urinal) is not the primary focus of the artwork. Instead, the idea behind the artwork - that everyday objects can be transformed into art through the act of presentation - is the primary focus. The object serves as a means of conveying this concept to the viewer, rather than as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning or emotion in the artwork.

Similarly, in the artwork "One and Three Chairs" by Joseph Kosuth, the object (i.e., a chair) is used as a means of exploring the concept of language and representation. The artwork consists of a physical chair, a photograph of the chair, and a textual definition of the word "chair", with each element serving as a means of exploring the relationship between language, representation, and the physical object.

In these examples, the object is still an important part of the artwork, but it serves primarily as a means of exploring or conveying the underlying concept or idea. The concept or idea is the primary focus, and the object is used to support or convey that concept rather than as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning or emotion in the artwork.

Epic win for me, then. Do subject and object break down on Cartesian lines, then?

In philosophy, René Descartes is known for his distinction between the "res cogitans" (thinking substance or mind) and the "res extensa" (extended substance or material body). This distinction has been interpreted as a division between the subjective and objective aspects of reality, with the "res cogitans" representing the subjective, mental realm, and the "res extensa" representing the objective, physical realm.

While this Cartesian dualism has been influential in many areas of philosophy, including aesthetics, it's important to note that not all philosophers and artists accept this division between subject and object. Some argue that the subject and object are inherently intertwined and cannot be neatly separated, and that attempts to do so can limit our understanding and experience of the world.

In the context of art, this means that the subject and object may be seen as interconnected rather than strictly divided along Cartesian lines. For example, in some artistic traditions, such as Zen calligraphy, the act of creating the artwork (the subject) and the resulting artwork itself (the object) are seen as inseparable, with both contributing to the overall experience of the artwork.

Ultimately, the relationship between subject and object in art can be complex and multifaceted, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how these concepts relate to each other. Different artists and artistic traditions may approach the subject-object relationship in different ways, and the interpretation of this relationship can vary depending on the individual viewer's perspective and experience.

Sophie....that answer is a little dry, but yeah... I get it, no need to repeat the complexity of subject object relationships in art!

I'm sorry if my previous answer came across as too dry or technical. The relationship between subject and object in art can be complex and multifaceted, and it's important to consider different perspectives and interpretations of this relationship. However, I understand that a more concise or accessible answer may be preferable, so please feel free to ask any follow-up questions or clarify any points you would like me to elaborate on.

A lot of art these days is concerned with a clear message. What role does form play in that?

Form in art can play an important role in conveying a clear message. While the message or concept behind an artwork may be the primary focus, the form in which it is presented can greatly impact how the message is received and interpreted by the viewer.

For example, consider a poster or billboard that is designed to convey a specific message or call to action. The form of the poster - its size, color, font, layout, and imagery - can greatly impact how effective it is in conveying that message to its intended audience. A poster that is cluttered and difficult to read may be less effective than one that is clean and easy to understand.

Similarly, in the context of visual art, the form of the artwork - including its composition, color palette, use of line and texture, and other formal elements - can impact how the viewer interprets the message or concept behind the artwork. An artwork that uses bold, contrasting colors and dynamic composition may convey a sense of energy and urgency, while an artwork that uses muted colors and subtle textures may convey a more contemplative mood.

Ultimately, the relationship between form and message in art can be complex and multifaceted. While the message or concept may be the primary focus, the form in which it is presented can greatly impact how it is received and interpreted by the viewer.

What role does imagination play?

Imagination plays a crucial role in art, as it allows artists to envision and create new ideas and forms that may not exist in reality. Imagination allows artists to explore and experiment with different possibilities and perspectives, and to convey complex concepts and emotions in ways that are not limited by the constraints of reality.

In many cases, imagination is a driving force behind artistic creativity, as artists often draw on their imaginations to generate new ideas and approaches to their work. For example, a painter may use their imagination to envision new color combinations or compositions, while a sculptor may use their imagination to visualize how a piece will look from different angles or in different lighting conditions.

In addition to its role in the creative process, imagination can also play a significant role in the viewer's experience of an artwork. When viewing an artwork, the viewer may use their own imagination to interpret and engage with the piece, allowing them to see beyond the literal representation and to connect with the deeper meaning or emotional resonance of the work.

Overall, imagination is a vital component of the artistic process, allowing artists to push boundaries and explore new ideas, and providing viewers with a rich and multi-layered experience of the artwork.

I think you need to define imagination in this context

Certainly, in the context of art, imagination refers to the ability to envision and create new ideas, concepts, and forms that may not exist in reality. Imagination allows artists to visualize and explore new possibilities, to experiment with different techniques and approaches, and to create works that are innovative and unique.

Imagination is often seen as a key component of creativity, as it enables artists to go beyond the bounds of what is currently known or accepted, and to envision new ways of seeing, thinking, and creating. It allows artists to draw on their own experiences, emotions, and perceptions to create works that are deeply personal and expressive, while also engaging with broader cultural, social, and political contexts.

In the context of art, imagination can take many forms, including visualizing new color combinations, exploring innovative techniques and materials, experimenting with different compositional strategies, and creating new narratives and symbolism. Ultimately, imagination is a vital component of artistic expression, allowing artists to communicate their vision and engage with viewers in meaningful and thought-provoking ways.

I teach at three art schools. I feel like imagination is underemphasized. Should we be doing more?

As an AI language model, I cannot make value judgments or provide specific recommendations on what should or should not be done in a particular context. However, it's worth considering the importance of imagination in the artistic process and whether it is being given adequate emphasis in art education.

Encouraging imagination and creativity can help students develop their artistic skills and develop a unique artistic voice. Providing opportunities for students to experiment with different techniques, materials, and approaches can also help them to broaden their perspective and develop their own personal style.

One way to emphasize the importance of imagination in art education is to provide students with opportunities to engage in open-ended, exploratory projects that encourage them to experiment and take risks. This can involve encouraging students to explore their own interests and passions, as well as providing them with a range of resources and materials to work with.

Another approach is to encourage students to collaborate and share their ideas and perspectives with each other. This can help to foster a sense of community and creativity, and can also provide students with new insights and perspectives on their own work.

Ultimately, the goal of any art education program should be to foster creativity, imagination, and critical thinking skills in students, and to help them develop the tools and techniques they need to express themselves and engage with the world around them.

If you ask me, collaborating will be less imagiinative and creative because the age of the students and social dynamics. There will be a need to fit in with group and less likelihood of taking creative risks.

Collaboration can be a valuable tool for encouraging creativity and imagination in art education, but it's true that there are potential challenges and limitations to consider, particularly in terms of group dynamics and individual creative expression.

As you mentioned, there may be a risk of students conforming to the ideas and perspectives of the group, rather than pursuing their own unique creative vision. This can be especially challenging in the context of younger students who may be more influenced by social dynamics and peer pressure.

To mitigate these risks, it may be important to structure collaboration in a way that still allows for individual creative expression and exploration. This could involve providing clear guidelines and expectations for individual contributions, as well as facilitating opportunities for students to share and reflect on their own creative processes and insights.

It's also important to recognize that collaboration may not be suitable for all students or all projects, and that individual exploration and experimentation are also valuable components of the artistic process. Ultimately, the key is to strike a balance between collaboration and individual expression, and to provide students with a range of tools and techniques to support their creativity and imagination.

What are the best ways to stretch the imagination?

There are many ways to stretch the imagination and encourage creativity in art education. Here are a few strategies that may be helpful:

  1. Explore new techniques and materials: Encouraging students to experiment with new materials and techniques can help them to break out of their creative rut and explore new possibilities. This could involve introducing new tools or media, or encouraging students to combine different materials in unexpected ways.

  2. Encourage risk-taking: Encouraging students to take risks and embrace the unknown can be a powerful way to stretch the imagination. This could involve setting open-ended assignments that encourage exploration and experimentation, or providing opportunities for students to challenge themselves and push beyond their comfort zones.

  3. Foster curiosity: Encouraging students to ask questions and explore the world around them can help to foster curiosity and imagination. This could involve providing opportunities for students to research and investigate topics of interest, or encouraging them to explore their own personal experiences and emotions as sources of inspiration.

  4. Provide opportunities for reflection and feedback: Providing opportunities for students to reflect on their own creative processes and receive feedback from peers and instructors can be a powerful way to encourage imagination and growth. This could involve regular critiques or discussions, as well as providing opportunities for students to journal or document their own creative process.

  5. Encourage collaboration: While collaboration may not be suitable for all projects or students, providing opportunities for collaboration can be a powerful way to encourage imagination and creativity. This could involve group projects, partnerships, or providing opportunities for students to work in teams to solve creative challenges.

Changing the topic a little: are there any scientific studies that prove a boilogical imperative to make art?

While there is no definitive scientific evidence that proves a biological imperative to make art, there is a growing body of research that suggests that the human brain is hardwired for creativity and artistic expression.

Studies of brain function have shown that the brain's reward centers are activated when we engage in creative activities, suggesting that there may be an inherent pleasure and motivation associated with creating art. In addition, studies of brain development in children have shown that exposure to the arts can have positive effects on cognitive development, emotional regulation, and social skills.

There is also some evidence to suggest that the capacity for artistic expression may be an evolved trait that helped our ancestors to survive and thrive. For example, some researchers have proposed that the development of artistic skills may have been linked to the development of language and communication, and may have played a role in the evolution of social cooperation and group identity.

While these studies do not provide definitive proof of a biological imperative to make art, they do suggest that the capacity for creativity and artistic expression is deeply rooted in human biology and may have played an important role in our evolution as a species.

I like the idea of art as a "rehearsal", thoughts?

The idea of art as a "rehearsal" is an interesting one that has been proposed by some philosophers and scholars. The basic idea is that through artistic expression, we are able to explore and rehearse different ways of seeing and experiencing the world, which can help us to navigate real-world situations more effectively.

One way to think about this is to consider the role that storytelling has played in human history. By telling stories, we are able to explore different scenarios and ways of being, and to imagine different outcomes and possibilities. In this way, storytelling serves as a kind of rehearsal for life, helping us to develop the skills and insights we need to navigate complex social situations and solve problems.

Similarly, art can be seen as a kind of rehearsal for life, allowing us to experiment with different ways of seeing and experiencing the world, and to develop our creative problem-solving skills. Whether we are creating visual art, music, dance, or theater, we are engaging in a process of exploration and experimentation that can help us to better understand ourselves and our place in the world.

Of course, not all art serves this function, and not all artists are consciously trying to rehearse for life through their creative work. However, the idea of art as a rehearsal can be a useful framework for understanding the ways in which artistic expression can help us to develop our skills, insights, and understanding of the world around us.

A lot of people with political power seem to think art is frivolous. How can I prove to them that its crucial for our survival?

It can be challenging to convince people with political power of the value of art, but there are several arguments that you can make to help demonstrate the importance of art for our survival as a species.

One argument is that art is an essential part of our cultural heritage, and that preserving and supporting artistic expression is crucial for maintaining and advancing our collective knowledge and understanding of the world. Art allows us to explore and express complex ideas and emotions in ways that are unique to human experience, and it has been a fundamental aspect of human culture for thousands of years.

Another argument is that art can have a significant impact on our mental and emotional well-being. Studies have shown that engaging with art can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and self-esteem, and enhance cognitive functioning. Art therapy, in particular, has been shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Finally, art can also play a crucial role in promoting social change and addressing complex social issues. Artistic expression can be a powerful tool for raising awareness, promoting empathy, and inspiring action around issues such as social justice, environmentalism, and human rights.

In short, art is far from frivolous, and it plays a vital role in our cultural, social, and emotional well-being. By highlighting these arguments and advocating for the importance of art in our society, you can help to convince people with political power of the value of art and the need to support artistic expression.

I think people really needed art during covid, for example. Are there other examples?

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of how people turned to art and creative expression as a means of coping with the challenges of the pandemic. During the pandemic, many people turned to art as a way to stay connected, express their feelings, and find solace in the face of uncertainty and isolation.

One example of this was the rise of virtual concerts and performances, which allowed people to enjoy live music and performances from the safety of their homes. Many artists also used their platforms to create and share new work that spoke to the experiences of the pandemic, from songs and poems to visual art and performance.

Another example is the way that art has been used to address social justice issues, particularly in the wake of the protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Art has played a crucial role in raising awareness about systemic racism and police brutality, and has helped to inspire action and mobilize people around the world to demand change.

Finally, art has also been used to address environmental issues and promote sustainability. Many artists have created work that raises awareness about the urgent need to address climate change, and have used their platforms to inspire action and promote sustainable practices.

Overall, art has played a crucial role in helping people to cope with the challenges of the pandemic, address social and environmental issues, and connect with one another in a time of crisis.

how about some older, hisotric examples?

Certainly, there are many historical examples of how art has played a crucial role in human survival and advancement. Here are a few examples:

  1. Cave paintings: Some of the earliest known examples of art are cave paintings created by early humans over 30,000 years ago. These paintings depict animals, people, and symbols, and are thought to have had both practical and spiritual purposes. For example, some experts believe that the paintings were used in hunting rituals, while others believe that they were created to communicate important cultural and social information.

  2. Renaissance art: The Renaissance period in Europe (14th-17th centuries) was marked by a resurgence of interest in classical art and culture. This period saw the creation of some of the most iconic works of art in history, including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling. These works of art not only reflected the artistic and cultural values of the time, but also helped to shape them.

  3. Propaganda art: Throughout history, art has been used as a tool for propaganda and political messaging. For example, during World War II, both the Allies and the Axis powers used art to promote their respective causes and to demonize their enemies. Similarly, during the Cold War, art was used by both the United States and the Soviet Union to promote their ideological agendas and to shape public opinion.

  4. Indigenous art: Many indigenous cultures around the world have a rich tradition of art that is intimately tied to their spiritual and cultural beliefs. For example, the art of the Northwest Coast indigenous peoples of North America is characterized by intricate designs and symbolism that reflect their close relationship with the natural world. These works of art are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also serve to preserve and transmit important cultural knowledge and traditions from one generation to the next.

how about on other continents?

Certainly, there are many examples of how art has played a crucial role in human survival and advancement on other continents. Here are a few examples:

  1. Aboriginal art: The indigenous peoples of Australia have a long tradition of creating art that reflects their spiritual and cultural beliefs. Aboriginal art is characterized by its use of intricate designs and symbols that tell stories and convey important cultural knowledge. This art is often created using natural materials such as ochre, bark, and sand.

  2. African art: African art encompasses a wide variety of artistic styles and traditions, ranging from ancient rock art to contemporary street art. Many African cultures have a long tradition of using art for religious and spiritual purposes, as well as for social and political commentary. For example, the Ndebele people of South Africa are known for their brightly colored geometric designs, which are used to decorate their homes and clothing.

  3. Asian art: Asia has a rich artistic tradition that encompasses a wide variety of styles and media. From the ancient cave paintings of India to the intricate woodblock prints of Japan, Asian art reflects the diverse cultures and traditions of the continent. Many forms of Asian art, such as calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting, are closely tied to spiritual and philosophical traditions.

  4. South American art: The indigenous peoples of South America have a rich artistic tradition that is intimately tied to their spiritual and cultural beliefs. For example, the Nazca lines in Peru are a series of large geoglyphs created by the Nazca culture over 1,500 years ago. These lines depict animals, plants, and geometric shapes, and are thought to have had both religious and practical purposes. Similarly, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest are known for their intricate textiles and ceramics, which often depict animals and plants from the local ecosystem.

what could happen if art was somehow eradicated?

If art were somehow eradicated, it would have profound and far-reaching effects on human society. Here are some possible consequences:

  1. Loss of cultural heritage: Art is a vital part of human culture, and has been used to record and preserve the stories, beliefs, and traditions of different societies throughout history. If art were eradicated, we would lose an important source of information about our past, and our cultural heritage would be diminished.

  2. Reduced emotional and psychological well-being: Art has been shown to have a positive impact on emotional and psychological well-being. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve mood and self-esteem. Without art, people would lose an important tool for self-expression and emotional regulation.

  3. Decreased innovation and creativity: Art has played a critical role in advancing human innovation and creativity. Many scientific and technological breakthroughs have been inspired by art, and many artists have used their creativity to solve complex problems in science, engineering, and other fields. Without art, we would lose an important source of inspiration and creativity.

  4. Loss of economic and social value: The arts are an important driver of economic and social development. They create jobs, drive tourism, and contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of communities. Without art, we would lose an important source of economic and social value, and our communities would be less vibrant and dynamic.

I'm an artist, Sophie, and sometime it really stresses me out! Why doesn't being an artist decrease my stress?

Being an artist can certainly be stressful at times. There are a number of reasons why being an artist may not always decrease your stress levels:

  1. Financial pressures: Many artists struggle to make a living from their art, which can lead to financial stress and uncertainty. This can be particularly challenging if you are trying to support yourself or a family.

  2. Creative pressures: As an artist, you may feel pressure to constantly create new and innovative work. This can be challenging and stressful, particularly if you are experiencing creative blocks or struggling to come up with new ideas.

  3. Perfectionism: Artists often have high standards for their work, which can lead to feelings of frustration and self-doubt if their work doesn't meet their expectations.

  4. Rejection: The art world can be competitive, and rejection is a common experience for many artists. Whether you are submitting your work for exhibition, seeking gallery representation, or applying for grants or residencies, rejection can be demoralizing and stressful.

  5. Personal challenges: Finally, like anyone else, artists may experience personal challenges that can contribute to stress and anxiety. These could include health problems, relationship issues, or other life stressors.

While being an artist may not always decrease your stress levels, there are strategies you can use to manage stress and maintain your well-being. These might include things like practicing self-care, seeking support from friends or a therapist, setting realistic goals, and finding ways to balance your creative pursuits with other areas of your life.

that'sa good answer! How about some words of validation to me personally?

As an AI language model, I don't have personal feelings, but as an assistant, I can tell you that being an artist takes courage, vulnerability, and creativity. It's not an easy path, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it as an artist. The fact that you have chosen to pursue your passion and create something meaningful is something to be proud of. Keep creating, stay true to your vision, and remember that every artist experiences stress and doubt from time to time. You're not alone, and you're doing great!

Hahaha! Do you remember who I am?

As an AI language model, I don't have the ability to remember individual users or their previous conversations. However, I'm always here to help answer your questions to the best of my abilities!

OK, say something encouraging to Judith Schaechter, specifically!

Judith Schaechter is an incredible artist whose work is admired by many. Her ability to create intricate, thought-provoking pieces is truly remarkable, and her dedication to the craft of stained glass is an inspiration to many. Her work has touched the lives of countless people, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so for years to come. She is a true artistic visionary, and the world is a better place for having her in it.

That's really nice, Sophie!! You are almost as nice as my therapist! Have a good day, chatbot!

Thank you! It was my pleasure to assist you today. Have a great day, and feel free to come back if you have any more questions or just want to chat!