Some continuation of a OCA forum discussion on skills, craft skills and ideas. [if you have access to the forum, the link is here]
Most of the art practice I have pursued so far has been concerned with learning skills. The focus on learning painting, drawing in different media was at the foreground of my engagement.
This was deliberate. It was in a sense a way of working my way along some empirical lines: practice, observation, experimentation to build up experience, knowledge and skills.
The ideas and concepts behind this experimentation were kept rather quiet. In fact: I remember an early blogpost which deliberately dismissed conceptual work.
Keeping quiet with conceptual concerns was a way of keeping separate academic work and art leisure.
What this allowed for was a responsiveness to 'empirical problems' such as tensions of colour, surface, composition; and ways of resolving these into a finished painting.
It also allowed for concerns over memory, belonging and identity constructions to surface (notably in the Fieldwork). If I had employed a deliberately conceptual framework at that early moment, I suspect I would have ended up with work concerned with urban environments and politics over publicness.
In all this, however, the approach to art was in fact rather similar to my approach to research: by asking questions, by experimentation within limitations and by moving along such lines of enquiry in a rather systematic way inclusive of tangents.
Much of this is highly conceptual: conceptual with regards to methodology and empirical practice. It is also conceptual with some continuous themes: about presence/absence, what can be seen and what remains invisible. The concerns over constructions of space, planes, fields and environments. As well over positionings - within the artwork, besides it and of the art (istic practice) itself.