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Making Art out of Nothing: a Short Guide

By Kat Pavlin

What is Art today?

A couple of decades ago art was supposed to be about sculptures of pretty ethereal-looking people in bed sheets and colorful impressionist landscape paintings. Today the vast amount of different art movements and a crapload of techniques bring in a new range of possibilities when it comes to art-making.

Forget the Michelangelo statues - these days it’s all about conceptualism and eye-grabbing art objects (not specifically, of course, but you get the idea).The point is, as long as it exists, it can be considered art.

Are you eligible to make art?

“If you are not skillful enough to sketch a man jumping out of a window in the time it takes him to fall from the fourth story to the ground, you will never be able to produce great works.”

~ Eugène Delacroix

With all due respect to Mr. Delacroix, this doesn’t apply to , that’s bullshit.

A common misconception is that in order to make art, you need to have a degree. An art degree will make you more educated on art history and sure, you’ll pick up some new skills. But what stops you from getting the same set of knowledge and skills in your spare time?

Trust me, as someone who went to art school for a year, I don’t recommend spending unjustified amounts of money on something that is easily accessible for free.

Anyway, in order to create art, you have to understand that no one will ever stop you from creating it. And I’m here to prove how easy creating is by pointing out the basic principles of art-making.

The Guide

In Russia, we have a saying: “Сделать из говна конфетку”. It translates to “To make candy out of shit” and it means that no matter what it once was, what’s important is what became of it in the end.

So how do you make art out of shit? And how do you make it successfully? Here are some very easy steps to follow:

1. Concept

Just kidding! Despite what they might tell you in the aforementioned overpriced art schools, concept isn’t necessarily the base of all art projects. Instead, you should focus on visualizing.

Grab a piece of paper and start sketching out vague depictions of what you want the result to look like. Or just try to imagine it in your head reeeally hard, if you’re too lazy to make preparations. It’s all good, as long as you have an idea.

2. Materials

Well, in order to make something, you need to have things to make it out of, duh!

Now that you’ve got an idea of how your finished piece should look, you need to find the right materials. You can use literally any existing objects in your work; paper, clay, videos, furniture, food, mud, roadkill, etc. Don’t you just love “mixed media”?

3. Make it political

Or social. Or not political, nor social at all. But do make it relevant to today’s topics and include a message. Again, the possibilities are endless.

Is it homophobia? The government? The global warming? The anti-nipple policies that Facebook, Instagram and now Tumblr have? Hell, you can combine all of the above and probably get even bigger response to your art.

But yeah, sometimes a bold message is enough.

4. Shock Value

Now, this is an easy one. Just think of something that would surprise the viewers upon seeing your art. Adding something like this will draw more attention to you and what you do.

You can cover your work in glitter or spill puke on it. Glue a dozen of diamonds on it or the same dozen of dead insects. Make people talk about it, make them send your art to their friends and family (It might even end up on a meme page!).

Am I using actual shit? Or is this fake shit? Who cares! It works, as long as it looks like shit. If it’s visual art, your focus point should always be on how it looks.

5. Does it look like art?

This is where you will need to take a step back and ask yourself: did you achieve what you wanted? Is it similar to what you had planned at the beginning? Maybe you need to add more details or on the contrary, remove some.

A good thing to remember is to not go overboard. Sometimes going small will be enough, and unless the point of your work is to make it as chaotic as humanly possible, excessiveness will ruin everything.

6. Now you can add the concept!

Put yourself into the viewer’s shoes. What would you think of, upon seeing your art?

This will depend on what your art looks like. In some cases, your art is self-explanatory enough. Other cases, when your work is a little too meta to understand, you will need to add a description. The longer it is and the bigger words you use, the more impressive you will seem to the non-artists, right?

8. Enjoy being an artist.

You did it! You made something that you can call art. And if someone isn’t convinced, you have your long boring description to counter the criticism and call them an uncultured swine.

Don’t forget to document your artwork, in case someone decides to barge into your house and steal it (very unlikely). I hope this guide helped you to unleash your hidden artist potential. If it didn’t, it's not like I actually care.

Go wild, go paint a dick, market it well and try to sell it for big cash.

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