13 March 2012

UW Artist in Residence

Lynda Barry is this semester's artist in residence at the University of Wisconsin. I learned about Barry from a facebook post by my friend Leah. Leah is taking Barry's class "What It Is", and they had a special guest of Matt Groening last week!

Barry recently wrote a book and she elaborates on some of the ideas in this NPR discussion from talk of the nation.

She encourages us to create-- "Adults would never consider [drawing] on a piece of paper and then just throwing it away afterwards." I do that a lot with math, and with pictures when I'm with my nieces and nephew, but rarely otherwise. My friend Sheila is inspiring when it comes to creativity in action-- she's always making cards for friends, painting a wall in her house, making digital art.

Another quote from the Barry interview: "I think that creative work-- which becomes an elective after 7th grade-- has a lot to do with mental health. The way that I explain that is: One thing that seems to be universally understood-- all around the world-- is that if you had a kid, ...little Timmy, and I say Timmy I'm going to give you everything you ever want in your whole life except you will not be allowed to play until you are 18 years old. What do you know about that kid? Almost everyone around the world can tell you that kid will be crazy. ... Then what if I said Timmy you can't play, but I'm going to show you a video of a kid playing. Or I'm going to take you to watch this lego master-- you can watch him live, you can be right up front and watch him. That doesn't help either. I feel like as adults, that's kind of where we are. ...Mainly we feel like [creativity] is something best left to professionals-- like Jessica Simpson or something."

These ideas inspired me so much on Saturday that I went to Target and bought a watercolor set and some play dough. I already made a lovely painting (ask my roommate, she's going to frame it!) My favorite way to spend free time is to try something new-- right now I'm taking a martial arts class-- but maybe next I'll get back to writing stories, doing cross-stitch, or start something new like painting or collage. You know I still have my ee lab kit from sophomore year... it has proved impossible for me to throw it away, but I got a great suggestion recently that I should make a collage from it! Hmm... before I get carried away with ideas of what I could achieve, better to focus on Lynda's advice by doing something I wouldn't mind throwing away. Maybe tomorrow I'll open that play dough.

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