The artistic process/The individual artist

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The individual artist—Alfred J. Casson, 1943
Inasmuch as we have seen art as a community or collaborative effort, many artists work alone in studios, dedicated to the singular idea of creating art through their own expressive means and vision. In the creative process itself, there are usually many steps between an initial idea and the finished work of art. Artists will use sketches and preliminary drawings to get a more accurate image of what they want the finished work to look like. Even then they’ll create more complex trial pieces before they ultimately decide on how it will look.

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Picasso, 1962
Art in Different Versions

View and read about some of the sketches for Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica (1937) to see how the process unfolds:

Artists many times will make different versions of an artwork, each time giving it a slightly different look. Read and view how Claude Monet made more than one version of a painting of a stand of poplars on the river Epte:

The size of the sculpture Fulcrum by American sculptor and video artist Richard Serra necessitates additional staff be employed in the creative process.
Some artists employ assistants or staff to run the everyday administration of the studio: maintaining supplies, helping with set up and lighting, managing the calendar, and all the little things that can keep an artist away from the creative time they need in order to work.
Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, Kew Gardens, NY, USA

Some artists don't actually make their own works. They hire people with specialized skills to do it for them under the artist’s direction. Fabricators and technicians are needed when a work of art’s size, weight, or other limitations make it impossible for the artist to create it alone. American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly employs many assistants to create and install his glass forms.

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Who Makes Art?

In your journal, answer the following questions:

  • Comment on the possible source of an artist’s artistic skills.
  • How do the roles of artists change with different cultural considerations?
  • List some of the concerns various artists may have while creating art.

Support your answers with examples, and provide any links or images that help in your explanations. You may wish to use the Links to art resources or your own links or resources to help you in your image search.