Honour Mack

I think all artists wear two hats. One is as a maker and the other is as a seer.

When does the tipping point from private perception to an awareness of public perception occur in your work? How do you know this point has been reached? As a painter, I spend all of the creative process alone. I think all artists wear two hats. One is as a maker and the other is as a seer. These two occupy the studio together, ideally not at the same time. As a maker, the studio is where questions are addressed and answered. When I begin paintings, I try hard to only allow the 'maker' in the studio. I really need to have an anything goes attitude toward the work. It is important that I have the freedom to experiment (and fail or succeed) without judgment. The seer is the objective artist. Learning to see your work as others see it is an essential skill. I can’t really pinpoint the moment that the 'seer' arrives, it’s different every time, but this is when I start to ask myself whether the work is communicating what I’m thinking and also when I consider public perception.

What role does public engagement play in your work process? If none, why not? I am interested in communicating ideas. Artists offer up alternative ways to communicate with others. It’s our job to engage with the public.

What evolution/change, if any, do you see in students from their first to last year in their awareness/perception of the world outside MECA&D and their capacity to engage with it constructively? In their first year, students are deep in the process of gaining skills as makers; basic skills like drawing and design, as well as intellectual skills such as expansive thinking and communication. It takes time and practice to learn these things. It’s almost always a bit bumpy for them as they figure this out. As they advance, through experiments that both succeed and fail, they learn to use their own ideas and concepts with their acquired skills to reach out to the world. I think this process teaches them problem-solving skills that go way beyond work. It teaches them how to grapple with life issues and how to be contributing citizens in our culture.