Art & Parameters: I’ve always wondered a

Art & Parameters:
I’ve always wondered about the relationship between art and parameters. Do limitations promote freedom of expression, or do they unnecessarily confine it? I’ve been studying and dabbling in art since before high school, and I have to say that I personally thrive on parameters. Knowing that you have a set area to work within, or requirements that must be met, allows you to make those limitations work for you rather than hinder you. It becomes a challenge of expression to work within a set of confinements, but the results are typically quite fulfilling because you, the artist, took control over the constraints, making them conform to your vision. There are those, however, who believe differently and who prefer a blank slate that doesn’t have restrictions or requirements attached to it. I get that mentality—complete and utter freedom to do as you wish. But just as they view parameters to be controlling and hampering of their artistic creativity, others are baffled by the unchecked freedom and sometimes are intimidated by it—I know I am. I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to create this collage piece that is in my head. I have an 18×12 canvas and all the drawings, magazine clippings and saved scraps I could ask for, but since I have no pre-existing conditions that I must meet per an instructor or customer, I flounder. Even though I consider myself a creative and imaginative person who enjoys writing and constructing art, I am also of the mindset in which I think in black and white, therefore I need parameters. Now, I should push myself to working without prerequisites and see what I can come up with (I do this in my writing, but not so much with my art), but it’s also important for me to know myself and how I can best produce my work. What I’m really getting at is that you need to know yourself and the best way to bring your art to life. Do you prefer absolute freedom, or do you need some guiding parameters? Speaking of this topic in a literal or physical sense, a canvas has limited space, but another can always be added—you are never limited to the point of compromising your work; you just need to adjust and expand. In my mind, parameters don’t limit what you can create, they force you to take something into consideration and still create beauty.

Article Submitted by Alexandra Dailey.
To read more of her work, visit her blog at

Art piece by Curtis Montgomery.

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