Sunday, December 6, 2015

Another phase

Last year I read a post on someone's blog that they didn't like viewing blogs that were just photos of artwork. I tend to like that myself. This particular blogger was looking for more "meaty" entries from bloggers. I think this entry might "qualify" for what he was talking about...
Lately, I feel as though I am going through another "phase" in my creative journey. I don't think it's necessarily a negative phase, but it has been a bit bothersome as of late. At this point, I am just trying to "go with the flow" a little bit and deal with what I'm experiencing (hoping to learn from it). Let me explain. Over the past several years I have had MANY successes as a collage artist (more than I could have ever dreamt of 10 years ago)! It really has been great! As I have grown as a collagist, so has my workspace. I used to work in the space of half of one of our guest bedrooms. I moved up into our attic space for a short while; and now have quite a sprawling area in the basement (space heater in the winter; de-humidifier in the summer). Over the past several years I have also collected (accumulated) hundreds of magazine and scores of books from which I cull the elements for my collages. One of my favorite things to do when I have limited time or when I am not feeling particularly creative, is to peruse my vintage magazines and books and tear out the pages with the most compelling images for collage. This has lead me to have a stack of hundreds of pages of awesome elements from which to choose for collage creation. So this all sounds "good", right? What's the "phase", Monkeybrain? I think a combination of recent continued success and the presence and awareness of so much interesting raw materials has resulted in a feeling of being a bit overwhelmed or intimidated. I like to be the "driven" individual I am, both in my profession as a college professor and as a collagist; but sometimes I think I "put too much pressure" on myself. When I descend into my studio area, lately I have been feeling like I "have to" create something "really good". Or I get the feeling like I should be using the many great elements that I have RIGHT NOW! It seems like I have lost the Zen of my collage experience. This makes it difficult to enter what Csikszentimihalyi refers to as "flow". I write this post not to "whine" or to seek sympathy; but rather to share my experiences. I am assuming that some of my readers have experienced (or may be experiencing) this phase at some point in their creative journey. Perhaps it will be a good feeling to know that you are "not alone". I am referring to my feelings as a "phase", because I am also assuming that "this too shall pass". I am trying to learn from this experience and potentially grow from it. I believe I had a similar phase some years ago when I was playing more music. Occasionally I would feel "pressure" when I got together with my musician friend Goody to play guitar (after not having played for a while). We would put TOO much pressure on ourselves to "play something cool". This pressure inhibited "flow" and resulted in less-than-satisfying jam sessions sometimes. Once we worked through it and found a space where we could relax and enjoy the moment, the music "flowed" again. I trust that this will be my experience with collage as well. I suspect that this kind of phase is common in many domains. I have often heard  professional golfers say that their game "came around" again after they started enjoying it. All that being said, I did spent some intense time in my studio last night cleaning and re-organizing some stuff AND experimenting with some sketches. I wouldn't want to post this entry without any images... so here are some of last night's sketches. Thanks for your indulgence in hearing about my latest "phase" ;-)

1 comment:

  1. I'm a 'picture' person myself, but I did read this with interest. The pressure to 'perform' is definitely inhibiting. I find setting myself a sort of challenge game gets me going again. For instance....randomly choosing elements from your stash, and trying to get them to work together, can be freeing. When you choose elements on purpose you feel you should have an image in mind from the get-go. It's worth a try.