We often aim for specific results and in that desire to achieve that result, forget to appreciate “the process” or journey we took in trying to accomplish that result—people often allow the desire for a result or the disappointment from the lack of a result blind them from the wonders of process. Whatever the result is, should we achieve our desired goal or not, the process offers us valuable growth, reflection, and experience which we should appreciate just as strongly as our initial goal.
Steve Prince, an educator and art evangelist from New Orleans who utilizes printmaking, drawing, and sculpting as mediums to tell stories, is an individual who strongly emphasizes the benefits of the process behind a goal, as well as the growth and experience that occur with alongside this process. As a storyteller who utilizes significant historical context, his process of pasting and working context together is more rewarding than the product—of course, working with a goal in mind is important, I don’t mean any discredit to the application of goals. The interactions I have had with Steve Prince that have helped me arrive at a better understanding of the benefits and weight of the process, they include: the SUNY Geneseo Urban Garden collaborative art Project which Steve Prince facilitated at the beginning of the semester and the jazz/art collaborative work between Prince and the Freedom Trio that same week.
At the beginning of the semester, I was unsure of the direction behind the INTD 288: Art of Steve Prince course; the large variety in the upcoming lectures featured in the syllabus intrigued me, but also pushed me to question the purpose or end goal of the course. Fortunately, my upcoming experience with Steve Prince and the first of the many lecturers of the course halted my questioning and allowed me to appreciate the process of the course.
My first encounter with Steve Prince was at the SUNY Geneseo Kinetic Art Gallery; the event was particularly eye opening, because it too, through the collaboration between the members of the SUNY Geneseo community and Prince, emphasized the importance of the process and showed how one might learn to appreciate the process, opposed to focusing solely on an end goal or product. The time I spent working on the canvas, as well as the bonds I strengthened in that process, were extremely impactful in the direction I was taking alongside the course—they gave me a good sense on the people I would have the opportunity to work with, as well as the promise of a “hands-on experience” course, where we the students would led the way. Beyond these benefits, I also came to realize that with art, or at least in this particular event, there was an idea of what we wanted to do, but there was no exact product in mind. The moment I helped Steve Prince and the class set up the charcoal canvas, I came to understand that what we were focusing on was the moment and the act of creating in order to construct a metaphorical vision of the United States as a garden.
Watching Prince work together with jazz musician Herb Smith and his group the Freedom Trio further revealed the enjoyment behind and the worth of the process, regardless of an end goal or desired product. The two came together and exchanged their art through two different mediums; in their time together, they were able to build off each other’s presence and art, subsequently growing as artist—the event ended with the two groups exchanging art: Prince offered them some of his prints and the freedom trio gave the music which they created and improvised from nothing. This revealed to me the importance of interdisciplinarity and how artist can come to together and exchange art; as a result, I saw how all the lectures that would follow would yield similar benefits and opportunities of interdisciplinarity.
Both the Urban Garden community event facilitated by Steve Prince and the collaborative work between Prince and the Freedom trio were essential in displaying the impact in the appreciation of process. Having goals is important, but it is essential that we remember the process as we continue to create and live, in order to optimize our growth and satisfaction with our decisions.