ART AS A COIL
We all have a process. Whether you are an Artist or not. You have a way and you can call that way your process. It is your way of navigating through things (life) to get to some kind of end, or understanding, accompanied with a sense of achievement; at the very least.
Most people (myself included) like to see the results of their process as a linear progression (upward trending). Although we know life can unfold very differently. So if I am talking about lines and progression, and my Art process, perhaps yours too – visualise a coil.
My contract requires that I show up to my Art practice everyday. Whether I paint, buy paint, make collograph plates, cut paper, make paper, write, have a conversation, or all of it in a day, I try to do something each day which fulfils my contract as an Artist – for me. Needless to say some days are more productive and successful than others! This momentum ensures that inspiration can reach me. Either from within myself or externally. As it does you.
All practicing Artists who turn up to their work, in some way everyday, will describe to you in no uncertain terms, the process of having revisited a familiar ‘place’ (visualise a coil) repeatedly. Often how far up the coil they have progressed and how many revolutions they have made over the same place isn’t evident until concepts and materials engage in a way which makes their work distinguishable; though most importantly their heart sing. The ‘Yes’, ‘It’s working’, or ‘I started doing this stuff 10 years ago but it’s better now’ moments; because it can take years and years of spinning around – ‘gathering information’. Let me also just point out that sometimes the coil is inexplicably pulled into itself and flings you off onto another one. This is also completely normal and necessary for your process/practice to become what it needs to become – REFINED. Maybe you need a whole new coil. Maybe you will return to the one you were flung off. Who knows.
It’s fine. It’s fine because Artists have to be comfortable with being on a coil for their entire career. If the questioning stops, exploration stops, refining stops you will not reach the heights of your career. This is my opinion as much as I believe it to be a fact. I have just finished making 40 sheets of A5 paper. I have no idea what I’m going to do with the 40 sheets I have just laid out to dry or the 40 from the other day; but I trust that I am doing it for something and that is the contract. Keep doing what you are doing especially if you believe in the integrity of your practice and your life as an Artist. Keep creating – something. One day those pieces of paper may very well be hanging in the Guggenheim!