Long time no post. Oh well. You know how I am.
This post, I’ve got a question for all you creatives:-
Does anyone else have trouble actually creating something entirely from scratch, from start to finish? I’m not sure how to explain myself without examples so here’s what got me thinking…
When I was an art student I used to get a lot of my materials out of skips. I like to paint on board but when I went to the wood workshop and cut and sanded and prepared a board to paint on I felt the board was more of an object in it’s own right and the painting was less an image in it’s own right, more a layer of oil paint on this bit of wood I’d manipulated. So my solution was to paint on found objects, table tops, cupboard doors. Those awful cheapo shop-bought pre-stretched canvases that used to horrify my tutors. Making a frame, stretching and sizing and priming a canvas felt like craft to me, it felt like I’d created an canvas and wood sculpture to paint on and to me that distracted from the creation of a 2D image. I always struggled to explain this to my tutors, I still don’t quite understand why I can’t separate the image and the support in my mind.
And then I got into sculpting and I’m doing the same thing – I have to use found objects to offset the act of creation. I buy clay and epoxy putty and primer and all that stuff you’re supposed to use for raw creation. Then I create a framework from tinfoil and twigs, batteries, bits of plastic bag or bottle and usually tons of masking tape. I cannibalise bits of old pottery. If I made something completely from ‘proper’ raw materials and it was all my own original creation I wouldn’t feel it was mine, somehow.
Believe it or not, I’m usually quite introspective and I try to analyse my motivations. But I’m coming up blank when it comes to my compulsion to never quite make something from raw materials. I have this need to avoid total autonomy and build my objects from readymade stuff hanging around.
As a confusing addendum, I’d like to add that although I’m repelled by working entirely from raw materials I also have an aversion to using visual references. I’ve spent all my drawing life trying to avoid inspiration from external sources. If I get stuck, I have to work it out in my mind rather than hit up google images. Not that I’d negatively judge someone who has another approach, it’s not a moral judgement or anything. It’s just a personal compulsion.
And in the end – it doesnt matter. I’m going to keep making stuff and we all have our own way of working. I’m just a bit preoccupied by the fact I can’t understand why I feel I have to work this way.
Any insights and comments are much appreciated.
Anyway, just to prove my near-crippling creative neuroses don’t always prevent me from making art, here’s a rough little sample of something I’m working on.