Question from a fan- How do you make art?? Where do your ideas come from?
It’s both harder and easier than it seems. At it’s best, you are constantly awash in inspiration, anxious to create. At the worst, filled with ideas you can’t execute, anxious to try anyway.
Actually, the hardest part is not getting bogged down in the “I-should, You-need, I-was-supposed-to” minutiae of life. Because only other artists really understand that rapt exploration of the idea you just had is vastly more important than picking up groceries or returning that phone call. Artists really are only pretending to inhabit the same world- we’re actually much farther away than you realize.
Even with that though, it’s still hard to let go of the doubts and fears we carry. Will my boss like my work/is my friend who is really sick going to be okay/why did my child have a nightmare/am I wasting my time…. Our empathic nature that makes us such wonderful artists is also our biggest obstacle to overcome.
But we’ll pretend we’ve successfully stopped worrying about all of that momentarily, and you are ready to start a morning as an artist….
How to make Art
Every where you go you carry a sketchbook and pencil, but you’ll sketch anywhere. On the side of the grocery list, the back of bank receipts- envelopes from junk mail. The walls of your life are papered in odd places with quick sketches of dreams and ideas.
Your morning walk brings you home with pictures of the shadows caught amongst the windswept eddies of the local lake, your head stuffed with incoherent speculation on the nature of shadows, and why ancient peoples were afraid of the dark and the sea. Shapes and forms are etched in your mind, and your fingers anxious to work.
But taking those shapes and forms- clear as it is in the mind’s eye, and conveying it to world…. Therein lies the work.
The delicate tracery of rippling waters rendered in silver is often too delicate to actually be worn. So you try again, and again.. through it all, shifting tides ripple in the mind’s eye.
Every curve of the metal sparks a dozen new thoughts, the tools simple extensions of your hands, forging and forming the metal to match your vision.
Time seems to stop.
You don’t hear the phone, or the hum of tools. You forget to eat- all that is swept away in the force of creation.
The rhythm of the hammer, the ringing of the silver, the tiny roar of the torch… your heartbeat. These are all you hear. You and the piece. That’s all the world narrows down to … until the bench is awash with wavelets and spume, gleaming shadows of waves taken form… and one final piece is born, gleaming and complete lying on the workbench.
Finishing a piece is very much like surfacing to breathe after swimming deeply. The sense of coming up for air is strong, and real.
And you suddenly realize you are hungry, and your phone is ringing, and the laundry is probably done.
Back to the world. Until next time.