I was really pleased at how straightforward and honest Laylah Ali was. Hearing her speak was very refreshing, especially when she admitted to believing that there are too many painters and art students in the world, which i completely agree with. I think a lot of artists are afraid to admit to believing in that idea for fear of sounding selfish or mean, but i think several artist feel the same way. Ali also had a ridiculous sense of humor, which helped keep me engaged throughout her talk. She seemed to take her self seriously and yet speak of her artwork in a very dry and comical sense.
As I'm sure many students were eager and excited to hear, it was interesting to hear a successful artists and art professor speak about her negative experiences with receiving her arts education. She said that an education with equal good and bad parts was still worthwhile, but that an education that started to way more in the negative spectrum was not worth anyone's time. I liked this, because being misunderstood or pushed in the wrong or undesired direction as an art student, though difficult, can be extremely educational.
I also liked how Ali described how much information she wants to provide her viewers with through her paintings. She puts forth 70% into her paintings and she leaves the remaining 30% for her viewer to fill in. That way she guides the cognitive journey, but lets the viewer finish the story in a way that speaks to them personally.
The only part of Ali's lecture that was not extremely thought provoking for me was the video dance performance. It was interesting to see her paintings interpreted that way, but I thought the feeling transmitted by the performance was very different and does not fit in well with the rest of Ali's work. It felt rather random to me.
Also, I appreciated Ali's commitment to her talk even though she was under the weather. She was very patient and talked with me and other U or M undergraduates and answered all of our questions after her talk even though she probably wanted to go home and sleep.
Overall it was my favorite talk this semester.