24th August 2019
Back in March this year I visited the exhibition Corita Kent Power Up! at the House of Illustration. The exhibition was one of the best I had seen in a long time, the political messages that Kent communicated through her art struck a nerve with me. Kent is one of my favourite artists due to the fact that her art is aesthetically pleasing, so colourful and also very political. To be able to combine talent with a strong message is something that I am very inspired by.
Whilst visiting the exhibition, I received a free poster. On the back of the poster was the ‘Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules’. I kept this due to the fact that I found it inspiring and something to look at with interest due to my own studies at university. I realised that whilst looking at the brief for this project that it was a perfect example of a manifesto for the students at the college to follow.
Corita Kent taught this class at the college in LA from 1967-8 (Published in: Corita Kent, Learning By Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit.)
IMMACULATE HEART COLLEGE ART DEPARTMENT RULES
Here is my copy that I scanned in. I annotated and highlighted the ‘rules’ in order to pick them apart and find out what they entail.
Here are the Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules. This is the first manifesto I ever came across that was art related. Several of these points struck a particular nerve with me, and made me think about my own practice.
Consider everything an experiment
Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.
The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.
HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything. It might come in handy later.
General understanding of this:
After looking at Corita’s ‘rules’ I feel that she was trying to tell students to be fearless. By this I mean to not worry about things being perfect, but to just create and not worry about it. By considering everything an experiment, it would mean that when creating work there is not a worry for perfection. By creating SOMETHING, it is much more productive than not doing anything. The ‘hints’ Kent puts at the bottom of the list are also interesting, as it tells her students to take notice of things, such as films, to read, to go out. Essentially, Kent is saying that you should DO, and not be passive.
I identify with these ‘rules’ deeply as I feel that my own practice can be hindered by my own pressure of the final result being perfect. I also feel that Kent’s advice to read, watch films and take advantage of opportunities is important. While making my manifesto, which is focused on my own making, I want to think about how I create, and what I can do to improve my process.