Over the past year I slowly let my artwork slip away from me. I work as a Graphic Designer and so ended up only working to briefs set by others. I kept looking over the work I was most proud of when I made artwork for myself or for no reason at all and it scared me.
A long time ago when I was in my most prolifically creative, I was an absolute perfectionist. I wanted everything to be done correctly and I despised imperfections. I wanted to learn ‘properly through traditional techniques and life drawing.
Somewhere along the way though, I forgot to actually enjoy my artwork. After a while it became easier to focus on my paid work and put aside the artwork I wanted to explore myself. I let the perfectionism run riot and became scared of my own studio. The door was shut and the easy excuse that it was cold in there kept floating out of my mouth when anyone asked me if I was working on anything. I was kidding myself.
I have grown a lot since my student days. Rather than wanting to learn the rules now I want to break them. The styles and objects that I am drawn to are imperfect and loud. I have started to loose interest in my old fine tipped pens and graphite pencils that allowed me to work on form and pointillism and naturalistic details.
I am now finding myself drawn to materials that take control away from me, where happy accidents are more than likely. Lino and screen print and inky splashes.
Now I had identified what I wanted to do I needed to get back into the habit and that was proving tricky!
I found the answer in a little book that was gifted to me, it contains 365 little creative exercises one for each day.
T first I couldn’t face the studio so I snuck in and grabbed some water colour pencils. The first task was colouring in a grid to make a pattern which I enjoyed doing so neatly. Then I enjoyed dropping after over the perfectly shaded sections and pulling and pushing the media around the page into beautiful chaos.
I carried on working through the tasks and today had a bit of an epiphany. I only had a short amount of time as I was busy doing all sorts of life admin ready for the week ahead. I stood with the book in my studio and set a 2 minute timer. In that time I had to make as many marks as I could with whatever media I could find. The intention was to fall in love with the materiality again.
Wow was it amazing. I found inks and paints, knives, pens, pencils, brushes, pipettes, patented papers to tear and collage. I forgot what I had at my dispersal. Most of the materials I have are old and looking a bit shabby, but that doesn’t matter – there’s plenty of life left in them yet!
My book now lives upstairs in the studio and each day I will be venturing up to the materials rather than bringing them down to me.
I have been revelling in getting out all the things I had been collecting and saving ‘for when I had time and the weather was warmer’.
It is very liberating, and I am excited to get stuck in! I have not had ideas like this for years!
Wish me luck! – I’ll keep you posted.