A friend of mine recommended I watch a show on ABC called “Space 22”. It is a reality TV show but I think the premise is kind of cool. Seven people have come together to explore art-making in creative ways. Working with local Aussie artists, they will make original artworks. Each artist brings a technique or idea about self-expression to the space and the inexperienced art-makers use this technique to make something. Some of the outcomes  are paintings, some are installations and some are just activities that release emotions or explore ideas.

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/space-22/series/0/video/AC2108H001S00

The show claims to be exploring the need for ‘art making on prescription’ as a means of healing from trauma or mental stress. There is a psychologist overseeing the interactions and an art therapist working directly with the participants. They are encouraged to feel their emotions and sit with their responses in a safe environment.

For me this is what art has always been: a process for reflection and thought; a way to work through how I’m thinking about a particular situation. In recent years it has become a vital process for me to balance the cruelty I have been exposed to with the positivity of creating something new – and quirky. 

I make art slowly and thoughtfully. It is not always serious or deep but it is always from my heart. I work quietly and calmly. I sometimes have music going but sometimes not. I never look like I am jumping for joy when I am making. I just create. I have never chosen 2D painting or drawing as my primary process. I prefer to work in 3D. In fact, there were many years where I did not feel I was very good at drawing. For a 3D-thinker it is hard to create an illusion on a 2D plane. I have never seen the logic of it. When I started to explore drawing as a 3D process I had a lot more success and my imagery progressed. Drawing in 3D is a SLOW process. There is as much problem-solving as there is drawing: you still have to have balance and strength. If something doesn’t work on a page you just re-draw but, often, in a 3D drawing it requires a complete re-jig. 

At art school, I was told that ALL artists need to be able to draw. No “real” art can be made without drawing first. I now dispute this quite strongly! My recent process has been more about the materials I am choosing to use. I look over a variety of materials, select a few items that suggest aspects of a sculpture and see what happens. Sometimes planning gets in the way. Sometimes the materials have to speak for themselves. Sometimes not knowing what will happen means that something new and exciting emerges from the most unlikely junk. 

I have become a little obsessed with using recyclable materials and found objects. Sometimes they remain obvious in the final work but mostly they get covered with several layers of paint and it takes a viewer a few moments to work out what they are made from. It could be an egg-carton or an eye-dropper bottle; a part of a child’s toy or a basket. Computer parts are great but then so are old magazines. To me it doesn’t really matter what the objects are that I use but all of them have significance to the nature of the creature I create.

The materials can add to the back story or identity of the creature I have made and usually by the time I am putting on the eyes they have told me who they are and some of why they are significant. It just as often turns out to be a self-portrait that is telling something of what has been happening for me! I enjoy not knowing what the outcome will look like and often edit out key starting points in favour of a better direction.

Where will your art making lead you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *