Basketball and art
Three weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a game featuring University of Wisconsin (my alma mater) and University of Texas (soon to be my oldest son’s alma mater). The game was exciting with several turn-overs and a final win for Wisconsin with a three pointer in the last eleven seconds of the game.
Although I rarely watch sports with the exception of the occasional highlight from the Olympics, I easily picked up the different playing styles of the teams. Wisconsin had big corn-fed farm boys that passed the ball. They would look one way and point another and pass the ball a third direction—and the person was there to catch the ball. Texas dribbled the ball here and there. Wisconsin defense was zone oriented; Texas played man on man and sometimes two or three on one guy. Time outs with the coach were a huddled mass for the Longhorns, the Badgers organized themselves into rows with camp stools for the first row. Both teams appeared oblivious of the crowd while shooting free throws. The crowd composed mostly of burnt orange with a few red shirts was not only loud but enthusiastic. My son pointed out the section of the stands he was entitled to—right behind the goal post—and filled with students jumping up and down for the majority of the game. Longhorn fans are expected to come early, stay late, and be loud. We were early, thank goodness, as it was a sellout crowd.
Now what does all of this have to do with art?
Each team had their own approach. They could have switched to another one but this was what they had practiced. It was clear they had spent hours practicing and they knew exactly what to expect from each of their team members. Both teams were good. Both concentrated on the job at hand.
Rather than spending time looking at another artist’s style or approach to a subject, I need to spend time on what I know best. I need to concentrate on it. I need to practice it again and again until I know exactly what each material will do, what each thread will do. And although I know there is another artist working on the same stuff as I am, each of us has our own voice that is right for us.