How strange. Here I am, the self-professed art geek, and it’s been a long time since I actually talked about making art.
See, I view this as a very individualized activity. My brain functions a certain way, hence I tend to make art in a way that makes sense to my brain. This line of thinking has been brought on by two events – one, I’m currently reading (and loving) Douglas Hofstadter’s book “I Am a Strange Loop” and two, I went to an artist talk here in Prague a few days ago. I know it may not look it, but these two things are in fact, related.
Let’s start with the book. Hofstatdter is an old favorite of mine, since I had to read “Godel Escher Bach” in college and thought his seamless weaving of science, music, technology and the human mind was ingenious, and I’m a true sucker for anyone who talks about mapping and patterns and repetition. So I was particularly keen to get my hands on “Strange Loop” where he really digs into our own understanding of self, and how the brain is able to make sense of the world and ourselves. Heady stuff. Amazing really. And I’m not even finished yet. But here’s the point, he talks a lot about what makes a person an individual, and he’s successfully upended a rather central belief for humans – that one body = one soul. Let me bring this back to art, before I digress too far. I’ve always asserted that each of us is truly unique, and that we see the world from our own, singular point of view. And now I’m wondering about that.
Continuing, we’ve got this artist talk I went to on Monday at Svit Gallery down the street from my flat. The artist is Jordan Wolfson and it was a kind of interview style artist talk. And a lot of this talk centered around how and why the artist created different works, and listening to him speak made me realize that how he makes art is nothing like how I make art. Obvious, yes. But still interesting to actually butt up against the reality of this truth.
So back to the beginning. Me, making art, here in Prague. It’s been simply luxurious, to have to make sure to schedule time to just make things. Now, granted, what I thought I would make is nothing like what I actually made (and am still making). But to have the time to just respond, to let what is surrounding you influence how the work progresses is an unimaginably wonderful thing. Certainly isn’t like when I’m home, and working a few jobs and tired and squeezing art making in on the side, where I keep doing what I’ve been doing, because it already makes sense, and that is actually for me, easier to do right now.
I tried to continue my skiagrams while here, though in modified form – cyanotypes instead of silver. I’ll be honest. They sucked. To prove it, here is a shot of some of my tests:
No contrast, no form, no visual interest. I knew I needed to adapt, but man, was it heck figuring out how to change.
Now here’s the interesting thing. I don’t ever have just one project. I’m a bit too scattered in the brain to stay focused on a single idea for very long. So I tend to have one big, main project that I really dig into, and then I have little side projects “for fun” that I do when I need a change of pace. That’s what this blog has really been. My Natural Disaster images, or my series of images that are just blurry white on white. Plus, I’ve been goofing around with my camera phone quite a bit too (separate post on those coming soon).
Here’s where things got cool the other week. One of these “fun” projects started to resonate with what I was experiencing here. My flat is this big, tall, white place, with little sound and almost no stimuli (no tv, no internet, nothing hanging on the walls and everything is painted white except the few pieces of furniture).
I would come back to this space, not knowing anyone in the city, not speaking the language and not a ton to do in this space but read. Or take pictures. So I started taking pictures of the light coming in through the windows, almost to prove that the sun did come out in this city! And lo-and-behold, I’m making work very simliar to the Edge of Vision pics! But with new intent, new direction and a very different resonance, at least for me. I’ll let you be the judge. Here are a few:
All in all, I’m excited about the new ideas and the new shifts that have happened here. And the really exciting part for me is that this new visual direction is actually making a ton of sense with the sound that is paired with it (coming soon!) and so I feel like I’ve made a ton of progress with that end of my making stuff. Residencies = highly recommended.