Today at college we had a Very Special Visitor. He is called Jeff or Geoff. He is known to us as the External Examiner. He visits twice a year and when he visits we get to eat posh sandwiches and chat with him about the art world over those sandwiches.
The purpose of his visit is to check that the tutors at the college are doing their job properly and that they are marking our work appropriately (the good news is that they are, and they are).
Jeff or Geoff is a freelance External Examiner. He is also an artist. He covers a number of colleges affiliated to Staffordshire University who run the course I am on and visits them all throughout the year (and presumably gets nice sandwiches at each).
Today, over duck wraps and cheese and pickle granary bread sandwiches, I complained to him about the amount of time, or lack of it, I spend making art at the moment. He thought about what I said for a few seconds, paused to chew his sandwich, and then raised an interesting point. He responded that I should be cheered by the fact that the artists who make a success of their work are those that think. He said that the amount of time spent thinking divides true artists from ‘makers’. I hadn’t looked at it in this way and this did indeed cheer me somewhat.
I think I will carry on thinking and drinking coffee in coffee shops. I just wish I were better at articulating what I am thinking in person so that next time Jeff or Geoff visits I can dazzle him with my philosophical thoughts on art.