I recently watched a David Bowie interview in which he shared advice to artists. It essentially described how working in an area that didn’t settle nicely into your comfort zone was the key to creating something exciting and progressive.
This is an idea that has returned to me on several occasions during my artistic career. When i was at university I remember finding the control which I had over my material to be something of frustration in certain circumstances, I’m incredibly blessed to have been given the gift of being able to work representationally with a degree of skill, but I sometimes found that this ability actually can stunt your creativity, you get tied up in showing off your skill of reproduction, rather than taking away the boundaries; its a good feeling to have people say how well you can draw,and you find yourself ‘playing to the gallery’ as Bowie described it. Bruce Lee also illustrated the same point in his ideas on the difficulties of representing yourself authentically, by not succumbing to popular demand to put on an ‘impressive display’ of techniques for public admiration, but to engage your true identity and express yourself with honesty.
I challenged my control regularly, fixing charcoal to the end of a paintbrush and using my left hand to draw, the aim being to restrict control and maybe give way to an image that was born from a much more free flowing and instinctual place, than a preconceived recreation of an image in my mind.
This is why monoprinting always appealed to me, I loved the accidental marks created by the ink transferring from an area that I hadn’t worked upon, or the texture of the random brush marks in the base ink.
So, I realised after watching this few minutes of Bowie’s genius insight that I am consistently working in my comfortable, safe place, and so may have settled into this twightlight zone of post learning new techniques, and pre giving creation the sad goodbye that comes from lack of physical ability. This devastating realisation has spurred me on with new inspiration, the start of which had to be determining what actually would take me out of my comfort zone at this point in my life.
I have always had a difficulty with being connected to my art, I struggle with manning my own exhibitions, really feel uncomfortable with speaking about the reasons behind my work, and even have issues with choosing titles, as this maybe gives an insight into what i may be thinking or feeling around the piece.
So, I engaged my bravest state of mind, and I decided that to embrace this challenge fully I would not only talk about my art, but actually be part of it, a concept that was so alien to how I’d usually present myself that it has almost commanded me to take on an alter-ego to find the ability to work with this concept.
I wanted to express the idea that all energies were part of the whole, immersing myself into the art, and my art into the earth, in all its states. This has given birth to my latest project – EXHIBITION.EARTH, I hope you find it interesting…