Written reflection #4

I enjoyed so much reading Making the Memorial. I see a very clear ideation and creation process; I see her reflections in each phase and her way of problem solving; I see her fear and hesitation as well as her motivation and courage; I see the strong will that has driven her through the challenges and mixed critiques; I see a brave young woman who did an amazing job in making something so difficult yet so incredible happen.


I've always appreciated artworks which is so simple but so profound. After drawing the first sketch, Maya Lin reflected that "it almost seemed too simple, too little." So she started adding stuff to it, but they didn't belong. I believe this concern for being too simple occurs a lot to many artists and designers, including myself. It takes so much confidence and thorough thinking to dare to decide that it's enough. Sometimes I'm so inspired by an idea, but then the next day I start to feel it's terrible and fear that everyone would laugh at me for calling something so naive art. I still have this kind of fear a lot, even in my current project. To me, a big part of being an artist is to be brave. Brave enough to make a statement, brave enough to face harsh critique, brave enough to be misunderstood, brave enough to make mistakes in front of the whole world. Often times it's the "me against the world" situation. I totally agree with the architect who told Maya Lin to look always at what was originally envisioned and try to keep it. It's not easy to always believe in yourself, or to know what you really want. Like many things in life, making art is making decisions. I know myself better and better through the process of making art, and I think the confidence also comes from that. I envy those artists who make "crazy" art, and care nothing about what people say. Of course they care about something, or someone. But nothing is gonna change the way they make art, because there is something very important that drives them forward and makes them fearless. They seem not caring because they care so much. Their art seems so effortless or natural because they know what they're doing and more importantly, why they're doing it.


The more I make, the more concerns and hesitations do I have. I worry if it's too simple, too complicated, too confusing, too rough, too costy, too cliche... But I also surprise myself from time to time, with a beautiful form, an emotional moment, a music added that made everything make more sense suddenly, an experience that I have never thought of... Making art is also making peace with oneself. By thinking of and reliving the things that inspires you the most, strikes you the most, hurts you the most, you're making an agreement with yourself. You fight and compromise with yourself. Every artist is making art for themselves. You make art because you believe that a change should be made somewhere in this world. You are always your best audience.

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