Wow, I just can't do it. I can't sit down and make a just-for-the-fun-of-it process-oriented print. It's hugely unsatisfying for me. I want to do it, really I do. I have a printmaker friend named Joyce Silverstone who makes gorgeous abstract painterly monotypes (please go look at her site) and I so envy the sheer beauty of her work. Joyce is also a Rosen Method bodyworker and to watch her work is just as beautiful as the prints she makes. She appears to be in a meditative state as she works, and you can see that she works from her body, that she works kinesthetically. I envy that, too.
After my one week of homemade residency, during which I tried to explore mark making, tried to be loose and free, tried to work work kinesthetically, I've realized something that I actually already knew about myself: I work from my mind.
I work from my mind. Not that my work is purely mental, not that I don't use my body (just try clearing a 36 x 40 sheet of plywood with a chisel without using your body), but my work is driven by ideas. The stimulus for any work I make is always an idea, often verbal. I care a lot about process and craft, but the process and craft are in service to the idea. If I were a painter, I would pursue the same idea with paint and if I were a sculptor I would pursue it in three dimensions. The concept, the idea, is what I care about, and my chosen medium happens to be woodblock printmaking.
I knew this before, but it's suddenly clearer to me. And this seems like an important thing, to know my artistic self this way. Another thing I know is that the energy and force required to make my work come from the
passion I have for the idea I'm working with -- a mind and heart combination that
fires me through the process of creating the work. Any idea I work with has to have enough emotional energy behind it to carry me through the very long process required to make a print or series of prints.
I formed an idea over the weekend that I think has enough *kapow* energy to work with, so my little homemade residency is taking a turn. I'm doing some research and I think I'll be starting a new print later in the week. I'll let you know what happens. For now, it's off to the library to pick up a book by Christopher Isherwood.
I'd love to hear from any of you readers about how you make art, where creativity comes from for you, what motivates you.