I recently received a plea from a student who was trying to explain the ASTAR methodology to someone who has not experienced the art-making process. Specifically the question was around the incorporation of ‘other people’s pictures’ into an artwork, and then calling it your own.
It is important to note that ASTAR (the methodology behind Heart Art) is a healing art form that draws on the transformative power of art-making for health and well-being. It does not follow the classical, conventional principles of Fine Art where the final art piece is the primary focus. It is a creative process that engages body, mind and spirit to bring something new, something personally significant, into being. It is authentic honest expression engaged in without judgement (ideally) and unselfconsciously.
Art-making to guide, inspire and nourish
One of the art-making processes we use in the Heart Art space is mixed-media college, which utilises the integration of magazine imagery, prints, papers, paint, inks, pastels etc. It is important to note that we create in a neutral, un-thinking, un-knowing state, where there are no predetermined outcomes. We rely on creating spontaneously and intuitively.
Preexistent imagery (magazine images etc.) speaks instantly and directly to our unconscious. We don’t know exactly what we’re looking for until we find it. When extracting magazine images to use in mixed-media collage, we’re allowing our intuition to tell us ‘there’s something to explore here’ – be it in the expression on a person’s face, the gesture of something in action, the mood of a landscape… Without much forethought or planning, we compile a collective of various found images (along with other materials), and integrate them in a way that is unique, that feels significant; that tells a story.
The outcome is a manifestation of the process; it tracks the journey, the expression, the wrestling, and the engagement. It holds it all and makes it visible to the creator. It may be totally surprising to the maker or it may feel so familiar that it feels like a part of oneself.
The crux of this process is to be able to express authentically in an uninhibited way without judgement – which cripples creativity. In our product orientated society, this respectful and precious relationship between the art process and the emergent completed artwork is what is significant to honour and uphold.
For more, please read Lindy Solomon’s article on Product vs Process