Breadth / Depth

Is breadth or depth more desirable? If you go to a doctor for aches and pains, you would want a doctor who has a wide body of knowledge and experiences to draw from. If you are going in for brain surgery, you are going to want the doctor who has a very specific and tailored knowledge. So, which is better?

In the arts there is an emphasis on a person having a narrowed focus. In college art programs, particularly those that call themselves “professional programs,” the aim is to narrow a student’s focus so that they are employable for a specific job. That is all well and good and makes perfect sense when a person is beginning their career, but what about after a person has had a 40-year career in the arts? Can you imagine doing one thing for 40 years, because I sure can’t. 

I am a multidisciplinary artist; P.S., I hate the term artist, particularly with a capital A, but I digress and this is a rant for another time. Over my career I have worked as a photographer, a designer (graphic designer, commercial artist, communications designer, information architect, art director, creative director, UI/UX designer…all synonyms for the same thing, but with different pay scales), a professor, set designer, an elementary school teacher, a social host on cruise ships, and a touring musician, so it is very hard when someone asks what it is that I do to have a concise articulate answer. I do a lot of things and my portfolio is extensive – to the point of being overwhelming and unwieldy. If you haven’t looked at the work on my website, please go take a look so that you can get an understanding of what I am talking about. 

One of the benefits of receiving the Pinellas Creative Emerging Artist Grant is that it affords an opportunity, incentive and framework to narrow and refine the focus of my work. Narrowing my focus and knowing that I am working with the goal of having new work ready for the April show provides a pressure that helps forge and hone what it is that I am trying to communicate as an artist.

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