The Artist’s Mindset

" In order to catch a varmint, you have to think like a varmint."
- Bill Murray as Carl, the groundskeeper in the movie Caddy Shack.

Thinking patterns are obviously different for each person. However, it can be fun and interesting to adopt the seeing and thinking patterns that characterize a specific discipline (geologist, politician, educator...).

Artist Mindset = Form + Function
Form – the method, materials used
Function – the result

The methods are used effectively to communicate or produce a result.

This definition, there certainly are others, of the Artist’s way of thinking honors the principle of unifying the means (Form) and the ends (Function). This can be applied to almost any discipline, for when something is done well it follows this principle of effectiveness – e.g. The Art of Teaching.
In his won words Thomas Child created Gilgal Garden to inspire viewers to ponder "the unsolved mysteries of life" and struggle to find their own answers.


1. Consider Child’s aim, his Function, and view his art with a critical eye toward how he used his materials to present his ideas.

2. Choose two different Garden art pieces and describe how the concepts of Form and Function work together.
What was he trying to communicate and how did his artistic choices effect this communication?

3. In your opinion how well did Child accomplish his goal by integrating Form & Function in each of these two art pieces? Explain.