The art of seeing again

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WHEN IS an art work finished?

Back when we were beginning, it was easy to consider our works as done even when they could still be made better.

We spent little to no time examining whether or not each stroke or element was placed at its best. We became so lost in the process of creativity that we just continued without stopping to evaluate our work, often arriving at an ending that fell short of the work’s full potential.

Coming from the Faculty of Engineering, where there’s only the remotest connection to art, I used to have an arbitrary idea about when a work was finished. But becoming an artist of the Varsitarian made me realize that things need not be arbitrary or even whimsical in art.

Artists in the “V” are supposed to help readers understand the stories through artworks or infographics interpreting the story.

Being a neophyte in the art staff, what I once considered a safe practice in making a work seemed to fail me since a lot of the works I submitted were returned for heavy revisions.

All artists know the frustration that comes with doing several revisions. 

At times, they seem to feel they’re entitled to the privilege of not being questioned about their work. They assume the stubborn take-it-or-leave-it attitude.

Artists, or those who pretend they’re artists, consider their works untouchable. They exercise a form of dictatorship that ironically enough they derive from their idea of freedom of expression.

But in the “V” I have learned that to revise your work is not to strip your work of your interpretation, but to reinforce it and make it clearer. In the same way that works of writers are returned to them after heavy copyreading by editors, so they could revise them and make their meaning clearer for the reader. In the same vein, the art staff must revise their works so that their messages become more lucid.

Revision in its literal sense means “seeing again.” The word is a reminder that writers and artists must not lose sight of their original goal in writing or artmaking, which is to concretize or make more felt, more lucid, the message.

Revisions simply indicate words and images should be aligned with vision.

Revisions offer a way to analyze the purpose of our work, re-examine the thought we want to evoke, and to be open to the need for constant “seeing again.”

Similar to life, it is important in art to start with a vision, to have a clear understanding of why one does the things one does. So that in the end, one will know when and how exactly to finish. So that one has to keep on striving until one has reached the goal.

My stint as the Varsitarian art director has taught me a lot, especially of the need for revision, rethinking, and reflecting. Revision taught me the value of accepting criticisms. It has taught me to be humble and accept my shortcomings.

Most importantly, it has taught me to pursue my goals, be it in improving my craft or improving my life in general.

The Varsitarian has opened my eyes to a lot of things. It has shown me my weaknesses and helped me deal with them. 

The two years I have spent with the ‘V’ provided me with some of the most unforgettable lessons I’ve had in college.

To be part of the “V” is such a great honor, to work alongside some of the most brilliant and dedicated persons I know. The lessons I have learned and the connections I made throughout my stay are indeed priceless.

To the Art section of publication years 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019, thank you for the warm company. I will forever treasure the bond between us. You are all special and talented individuals.

To my parents, thank you for the love and unending support. You are the reason why I do what I do and why I strive to be better.

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