Friday, December 15, 2006

Out Of The Void

The enamel painting I've been working on is finished. Now I can focus on ideas for a new body of work.
My mind is cluttered with stray thoughts and half-formed images. I need to write and sketch: shape concepts, experiment with them, see flaws. I spend hours browsing books, magazines, and the web to fill in gaps in my knowledge and understanding of themes I want to use. Often I'll come across a fragment of an idea in one place that ties in with another from somewhere else.
I am always searching. The more I search, the more ideas I have. When I am close to sleep, I let my mind wander. If something seems interesting, I scribble it down in a notebook. Sometimes it's nothing, sometimes it's the complete resolution of a thought I've been struggling with.
When I am painting in watercolour, I sketch a very basic composition. I empty my mind and let my subconscious run onto the paper through my hand. All the restless, insubstantial visions that have collected within my psyche over many years begin to seep out and mingle with the more conscious ideas I have evolved and an image begins to form.
How many times does an artist get asked, "Where do you get your ideas from?". The question irks me. It implies that the creative mind relies solely on inspiration or random input – as if ideas are available without effort. In other words, it's the wrong question: instead of where, it should be how. The simple answer is: it's a process. It isn't always easy, but it's a hell of a lot more reliable than waiting for an idea to somehow materialise, as if from nothing.

2 comments:

sue beyer said...

I have had people ask me "but what if you run out of ideas?" My quota hasn't run out yet, obviously :-)

Daniel Sroka said...

My answer for where my ideas come from: my art doesn't come from ideas, it comes from instinct.