April 1, 2010

Process: How It All Unfolds

I sometimes describe myself as a process-oriented artist. To me, that means that I value the path of artistic creation as much as the finished work of art. I view artistic process as a sacred relationship between me and the materials--a relationship that continues to develop even after the artwork is “completed.”

Being process-oriented, for me, also indicates that I am continually open to the unexpected. My art usually begins with some particular image or question, but I never know how it may shift and change on its journey toward fullness.

One thing I've noticed about my process over the past few years is that at least half of it happens outside of the studio. (By “studio” I mean any dedicated space, physical or temporal, where one does the tangible work of making art. At the moment my studio is a portable 12” x 12” box of collage materials.) I love the part of the process that is hands-on and messy and in direct relationship with the physical materials, but I also value the intangible stuff that happens outside of that space.

Studio time is expressive time: making, giving voice, giving form. Outside-the-studio process is often receptive: not giving, but receiving. Sometimes this means simply noticing what thrills me, calls me, makes me curious. It could be a particular color that makes my heart sing, or a found object. It could be a line of poetry or the musical bridge of a song. It could take the form of ideas, materials, sensation, or conversations. Receiving can mean soaking in new information and experiences, letting them sift and settle among the inner layers. A connection may emerge: two unrelated pieces of data, juxtaposed, suddenly make sense.

Need a creative jump-start?

• Try changing your perspective, literally: Strategic planning is for the birds

• Take ten minutes for a creative practice.

• Consider: What are you hatching?

Share in the comments: What do you know, or notice, about your own creative process?

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