Sunday, May 09, 2010

Trusting Tedium

When I left the clinic, nearly a month ago, I had to re-build the basic structure of my life. Only in the past couple of weeks have I been able to focus on making art again.
I'd fallen out of practice. My hand was rusty, my eye imprecise. It took hours of disciplined drawing to regain my self-confidence.
Now I'm ready to return to the studio. In a funny way, I've missed the dreadful miasma of enamel fumes. But I've resolved to be more careful about how I manage my exposure to them, just as I'll have to manage how I divide my time between creating new works and re-making those I destroyed when I went crazy at the beginning of the year.
I'm not going to rush anything. There's an awful lot to do, from building a number of new timber frames for enamel paintings to laying out a 'mechanical' but still hand-made process to produce a large number of the
Yes/No Stencils. The only way to get though it all is to to plan each step.
It can be a tedious exercise. But I've learned that if I'm going to be productive as an artist, a chaotic, passionate intensity is useful only when it comes to conceiving the work, not making it. It might not be true for everyone but for me to think of it any other way is tempting disaster.

7 comments:

Kate said...

"...a chaotic, passionate intensity is useful only when it comes to conceiving the work, not making it."

This kind of insight into one's methodology is so boringly helpful! Understanding and accepting these processes, helps to keep us on top of things and productive.

rino said...

This reminds me of Brian Eno banging on about Japanese calligraphy artists - spending all day preparing paper & grinding inks, and then after a tedium of hours, creating the art in a flash of brief, concentrated inspiration.

Spring Flowerchild said...

Reminds me of the guy who makes art that fits into a pin head of a needle. I saw an interview with him and the journalist asked him if he enjoyed doing it. He said, no. That it was painful and he actually had to slow his breathing and heartbeat down. Creating art is like that. We're driven to do it, but it sometimes requires tedium and even causes a certain amount of pain.

Mark Yearwood said...

I grew up in a custom auto body shop with my Dad. I would help him take these cars apart, meticulously
sand, prep, sand some more and prepare the "canvas". The time it took to actually apply the paint to the car was a brief spot in the whole process.

I go through the same thing now with my art. Supports must be prepped, supplies ordered and grounds applied. The artistic part is always going on in my head and when it all comes together in that creative hour, it seems like magic happens.

Now, I need to go texture some canvas.

JD said...

Out of chaos comes order - Nietzsche

JT Harding said...

welcome back. Your work reminds me of Patrick Nagel's. An illustrator for Playboy Magazine in the 70s.

Dave Doolin said...

I get tired of the "passion patrol" myself. Passion this. Passion that. All you need is Passion.

Not hardly.

Creating cool shit is hard work, and not always fun, and when I'm done with it, mostly I don't ever want to see it again. Or read it. Or whatever.

But it's still worth it.