Competition, reality shows, the next top model, dancer, chef, designer....blah, blah, blah. These reality shows are their own genre and for some bizarre reason they really hook people in. I have watched most of the above, but not gotten that hooked until NOW. Bravo's Work of Art: The Next Great Artist is fascinating to me since I am an aritst(part-time and unpaid!!). I also teach art so I've been viewing the show from the perspective of an educator. I am almost more intrigued by this aspect of the show. I think the super tight deadlines that the artists are faced with and forced to work under really cause a variety of issues and some intriguing results.
Deadlines are a realistic necessity. I work better under the pressure of a deadline. A huge part of being an artist is procrastination but that procrastination is mostly about fear. I see my students hesitating all the time and I do the same because we are afraid we will screw up. Artists must fearlessly put themselves on the line with their work. You work in this vacuum in your head, trying to get what's there to show up in some semblance on a canvas or in a gallery space. Along the way you crash into the media you're using and craftsmanship and the ability to manipulate those supplies intersect with the idea you wanted to portray. Often this is where the most interesting twists evolve, but you are essentially still working alone at this point.
The show on Bravo and any art class setting bring in the element of collaboration and competition. You work on your solution to the problem and you see what others have done and you may start to self doubt or question if yours is the right choice. You may wish you were as good as so and so or you may become a complete jerk and think you're the best of all and have this hyper condescending attitude to the rest. This dynamic occurs in the best classes. There is the yin and yang of the competitive and collaborative nature of the group. Not everybody is friends with everyone, but in the spirit of the class, cohort or show everyone talks and interacts, some helping each other, while others completely sabotage the other person either indirectly or through their irritating work habits. Within this environment you produce a piece. I think in the best scenario artists learn from each other, maybe not even so much about technique or ideas, but more about the process of how people work. I find this environment to be extremely challenging since I am a very self-conscious and confidence-challenged artist.
The exhibit or reveal is the most nerve wracking part. I remember in my MA program just dreading the critique because I couldn't stand finding out what everybody else thought of my work. Usually it was fine and nobody really said anything horrible, but sometimes I wish they had to push the envelop more. I think the Bravo show takes this to the ultimate level with people actually being eliminated each week based on the work they produce. That level of competition is how the real world works. In the classroom we could never eliminate kids from the class or program, but we do vote by giving them grades although this to me is a diluted process. What would happen if the classroom was run the the show? Tight firm deadlines with uninhibited criticism and elimination of those that don't cut it. Whoa...reality, INTENSE!