Artists are labeled as free, loosy-goosy, unstructured, all kinds of words that are rarely used to describe scientists. And yet, both use similar tools for their research. Hi my name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists like you refine your skill and develop your unique artist voice.
Today let’s talk about the shared strategies used by artists and scientists to inform their research. How can you use scientific research strategies to help you create better art?
For some reason, media, someone, has pitted the arts and sciences against each other. Everyone seems to forget people like Leonardo da Vinci did both! Let’s ask ourselves some questions today about our artist practice as well as look at the similarities shared between artists and scientists.
First off, both conduct research. Artists explore ideas, stories, techniques, color, and theories from all disciplines. It’s often an interdisciplinary experience where artist not only researches techniques but also conducts investigations to better understand the topics and themes exhibited in their art. This kind of research is what led to the birth of different art movements across history.
Do you give yourself permission to research? What does your research look like?
Scientists use something called the scientific method for their research. I still remember this being drilled into my head during middle school science classes. The scientific method is as follows: (1) Purpose/question, (2) Research, (3) Hypothesis, (4) Experiment, (5) Data/analysis, (6) Conclusion. And then repeat.
In many ways this reflects creative process. The scientific method is a process by which scientists can try to understand the world we live in, just as artists aim to do with our canvas and paint.
Scientists start with a question. So do artists. We wonder about technique based choices, get inspired by image references and wonder what we can create from it, etc.
What is a question you have for your art today?
Once we have the idea or question percolating in our mind, the research begins. We look for image references, we read philosophy, psychology, vlogs and blogs, and stories of personal experience, not to mention techniques, to help guide our creation.
Once we have the question and resources ready it’s time to create a hypothesis: a believed outcome from learning all that we did from our research. As an artist we do small thumbnail sketches, or smaller paintings to hypothesize what our finished artwork may look like. Some of us have specific images in our mind of what are art “should” look like.
What does your hypothesis look like for new artworks you are about to create?
This is where experimentation comes into the picture. It’s an opportunity to test out different ideas, making use of different variables, to help us find the answer to our question. This is us artists, make our art. Scientists break down variables into small, measurable details that are observed in usually a controlled environment to help specifically address causal or corollary events. We make a lot of art.
As we continue to create and grow a body of art, this is where data/analysis comes into play. We look at our art and ask ourselves: is it finished? We look at composition, value, color and seek to refine the work. We also begin to think about what we would do the next time around. And that is the conclusion in scientific research.
Do you give yourself time in the process to step away from your artwork and reflect on it’s progress?
Scientists are asked to observe any possible biases or influence that could have impacted their experiments results and make suggestions about how to improve or refine the experiment for next time. When we finish a group of artworks we reflect and share the story of the work. We ask ourselves what could we do better, what did we learn, and where should we go from here.
And the process begins all over again. Because as we all know, creative process is anything but linear!
I picked this topic today because that is part of what my program The Circle is all about:, not to mention all the free resources I create here on Artist Strong. I want you to understand and work with YOUR creative process. It is a system, just like science has a system and method. The difference is it’s unique to you and your art. The more you understand this process, the more consciously you can build your skill and refine your unique artist voice.
Be Creatively Courageous: Did one of my questions today get you thinking about your art? I’d love to know about it. Please share your ideas and tell me a bit about your artist method in the comments below.
References for today’s article:
All this month doors are open for my mastermind program called The Circle. If you want or miss the community experience of being part of an artist collaborative group, The Circle is 6 months of community and accountability. We work on building your voice, your portfolio as well as building promotional strategies for your art.
My free challenge in October, called Be Creatively Courageous, offered a small taste of the program. If you enjoyed the accountability and community you experienced from working all month long in the FB group image Be Creatively Courageous magnified.
The Circle includes video workshops on everything from finding your voice, organizing your art in an inventory, to understanding how to write about your art.I also offer monthly Q&As where you get feedback on your work, much like my November free Q&As on the Facebook page, and a whole lot more.
If you want to take advantage of the early bird pricing available this month visit www.artiststrong.com/the-circle. I’ll be sure it’s linked below this video as well. Watching this video after The Circle has closed? Be sure to use that link to sign up for the waiting list, and you’ll be the first notified when it opens again.
Thank you for watching and see you next week!
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