Jan 23, 2015

Process Driven Art vs Product Driven

I don't know if the title should be "vs" or "compared to" because I don't even know if they are mutually exclusive.   In fact, I hope they are not.

On my friend  Clare Murray Adam's BLOG, she was discussing about how her work is always about the process.  I envy this way of making art, and know many people who work this way with brilliant results.   Clare's work is testament to the effectiveness of this approach.    It is kind of like a call and response where the artist makes a move and waits for the materials and inspiration to suggest the next one.  It becomes a dialog with the materials, and is as intuitive as all get out. 

It's thrilling, and requires trust in the method, and trust in your own ability to discern and reflect on a pretty fundamental level.  I think it means you're in the zone, as they say, for most of the process.  Freedom, trust, dialog, expression, and ability to fly whenever the urge takes you - all of these are pretty intoxicating and compelling reasons to go this way.

I am clinging to the hope that this might just be possible with my work, but my natural way of approaching my work is so different.  I am one of those people who likes to know my destination before I set out, and my work tends to start with some visual trigger.  I find something that interests me, and then work to make a few references that best express this thing.  Often it is a small simple thing like the sun on an eyelash.  Or sometimes, it's just thrilling colors used together.  Whatever it is, my push is to communicate that thing.  And I'm working as a realist now, so that adds to the rigidity of approach.  So, right off the bat, the goal post is planted.    And I measure my success on how well my product resembles my original idea.

So, often, this is a slog, depending on how difficult the concept was in the beginning.  And I tend to like to torture myself by trying stuff that is beyond my skill set, just because.  This, actually, makes making art both gutty and exhilarating, depending on how things go.    I guess my "zone" happens when I get something right.  But it's often like this sigh of relief, and can be pretty agonizing getting there.  So, I've never thought of making art as relaxing or fun.   It's more challenging and nerve wracking.  Still very worth doing, though, when I gather the requisite energy.

I hope to change some of that by doing these smaller works.  Somehow, the smaller format releases some of the angst about making a major piece.   I'm noticing that when I attempt something that is less challenging for me, my interest flags a little.  I seem to need the uncertainty of not knowing if my goals will be met.  It might be my version of the excitement of creating without a net.  But I have that net.  And it can feel like a cage.

So, here is my new goal. (One of them)  I will try to paint intuitively, and NOT have a visual end goal, necessarily, except to make something that resonates with me.  I will make marks and try to see what they indicate that my next move will be.   And, why should that be scary?  It shouldn't.

It is.

I have my sixth painting drying now, ready to post as soon as I can scan it.  So, my next one will be something where I fly by instinct.  We'll see where that takes me. 

Thank you, Clare, for the inspiration.

1 comment:

  1. That's another version of doing something difficult, isn't it?

    I like to think about what I do as running to the edge of the known world that I've conquered so far and then jumping off, trusting that my feet will find land...


I'd love to hear your comments!