The Indian Artist, Revamped: Forced Creativity and the Confinement of Abstraction

Good afternoon all, I hope that you are all well! Today I wanted to share my most recent Studio 3D sculpture assignment. I struggled a lot with this one, as I have found that I have struggled quite a bit with this class thus far. The whisper of forced creativity and the underlining requirement of abstract has made it quite difficult for me to create pieces that I am proud of. I have learned a lot about myself as an artist and have honestly just realized that I have a hard time with being spontaneously creative, especially when forced into the confines of abstract art.

It is interesting to think of abstract art as confining. Many people would probably consider it quite the opposite as much of anything can qualify. However, as a conceptual artist in love with hyperrealism, it is very difficult for me to create without any inhibitions. I constantly crave creation (wow that’s an alliteration if I’ve ever seen one) that has a backbone, a thread that is traceable to something very conceptual or recognizable. When asked to create merely with the basic principles of art (lines, forms, planes etc.) without adhering to any rules, I have a lot of trouble. It is very frustrating and leaves me creating something that I “secretly” attribute to a concept in my mind but force to fit within the label of abstract.

I did the same thing with my most recent piece assigned in ARTDES 120: Studio 3D. We were instructed to create a piece using various planes to create a beautiful sculpture at least 20 inches in size. When playing around with planes, the first thing that I thought of was a flower, an objectively conceptual symbol. I was then forced to create a piece that was not so “scientific” but rather something more “classical” in thought. Being so used to creating with a firm idea in mind, my mind jumped to a skull. However, I forced myself to pursue a piece that was almost “shapeless”, something that has form and takes up space, but a work that does not need to resemble anything else.

I inhabited my inner child, making random shapes, and putting them together. I ended up with a piece that flowed upwards in a tower formation with intersecting planes. You better believe I still integrated a flower! Ultimately, I enjoy the piece; however, the only part of it that I will actually save is the flower. I hope that I am continued to be challenged in this way. The experience of being forced to lower my inhibitions and break out of my own created box, in my opinion, has made me a better artist.

Please let me know if there is anything more that you all would like to see from me. If any questions or thoughts arise, please comment or reach out to me via my socials!


Until next week,





Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Senior at U of M studying Molecular Biology with a double minor in Art & Design and Sociology on the pre-med track. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in the final iteration of my column, I look forward to sharing my passions as they connect to my culture, medicine, and art.

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