I was sitting in my studio tonight looking through some old Sculpture Magazines and letting my mind wander through the different forms, colors and patterns that the images from the magazine evoked. In my mind I can create some wondrous things without having to lift a finger. “I can see it in my eyes” is a phrase that comes back to me from childhood, a phrase that means I don’t need it in front of me to be able to see it, to envision it, to live with it. Sculptures appear that will never be made but I delight in seeing them and desperately want to make them. I long to be able to create chaos and yet the muses keep me in an orderly line, sifting out any unnecessary detritus that might distract from the pure beauty or the singular focus of the piece I am working on.
In my mind I create things that would involve practical knowledge that I do not have, woodworking skills, knowledge of plants and materials that take years to master. I am game for trying anything but know that creating something to the level that I want is just not always practical. And yet, I have a lot of experience with two very disparate media, which pleases me immensely. I now have the feeling that I can (and do) create pieces/sculptures/stories that are highly polished, that are “finished”.
More ideas float around in my brain and I am aware that there is a similarity between what is in my head and what has been done by someone very famous. The words “That’s already been done” come to my mind, meaning that there is little that can be explored in this direction that wouldn’t bring this person to mind. Think mobiles/stabiles (Calder), large I-beam constructions (DiSuvero), horse sculptures (Butterfield) environmental art (Goldsworthy)…the list goes on and on. Sometimes I think that what I do is new but it is not, it is a reorganization of materials that have been poked and prodded many times before. I struggle to stay within my own parameters, those people and events that made me who I am, my family, my schooling, the people I have met and the things I think and feel…everything that makes me ME. This is what makes my current mixed media manipulations unique, even if they remind you of someone else. How many times has someone come into my studio and said “Do you know…., your work reminds me of them”, and then they wax eloquently about how much they love that person’s work, without really seeing what’s in front of them.
And then my mind starts tripping on the fact that a lot of what I see in the magazines I don’t like. I try very hard in my life not to be judgmental (a reverse reaction to my incredibly judgmental father if you want a psychological reason) but quite honestly, I think there is a lot of bad work out there. It’s work I don’t understand, it’s far to symmetrical or precise or unfeeling or creepy or downright scary and I don’t want to look at it. I understand everyone has their need for self expression, but I don’t have the need to look at it. I also understand that this applies to my artwork as well, although I like to think that I create artwork on the line between accessible and unaccessible. (Okay, maybe I play it safe, who knows.) I’d like to say it doesn’t matter to me if someone dislikes my art but I know me and I know that it would hurt. But I can’t control that, nor can I make something that everyone likes. What’s cool is that at least one other person (besides me) likes everything I make and that means I’m not creating in a vacuum. I have too much of an ego to continue what I’m doing if NOBODY likes it.
So when I sit down with my next group of basket/vessel spines and decide how they are going to look, I will smile at the memories of tonight and get to work choosing what the basket actually calls for and what the Muse thinks is the right thing…and it will be good.