Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A word on creative blocks

When you rely on your creativity to pay the bills and build your reputation, you can’t afford to be short of ideas or the energy to put them into action. When you can’t get over it, under it or round it; what do you do? Often in an artists career we come to a dry patch, its hard to think of ideas, we get stuck, we hit a wall. Whatever you want to call it, it can seem impossible to overcome it. 

What tactics have you employed to get over this hurdle if we have ever encountered it?
 ·       month, week, day projects to kick-start
·       discussed our work with others
·       stopped practicing for a while, until the ideas naturally return
·       procrastinated
·       worked on something else mindlessly before returning to work
·       returned to education (MA, PHD, etc)
·       got another job
·       try a different approach
·       visited somewhere to inspire our thoughts

I would be interested to hear from other artists and what tactics they have used to get over it???

“It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward.”  - Stephen Hawking     
“The best cure for a dry period to simply to keep at it. Good things are happening, soon to be revealed.”  - Eleanor Blair     
“When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.”  - Barbara Bush     
“The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality...”  - Pema Chodron     
“As well as many subspecies, the main blocks are fear of failure after previous success, fear of success due to a sense of unworthiness, lack of potential venue, jaded attitude, crisis of confidence, evidence of persistent poor quality, lackadaisical motivation, and common everyday shortage of ideas.”  - Robert Genn

Thursday, 22 May 2014

All good things come to an end...

I feel that my successful and fulfilling Construction Project has naturally come to an end. Intended as a two or three week project of consecutive days, instead I have spend 24 days over the last two months making test works of new ideas in my studio at Rogue in Manchester.

I feel liberated from the constants I felt I had, able to move freely around my mind in order to explore ideas, respond to space and in the selection of materials I choose.

Before the Construction Project I felt stuck. I set myself a set of simple rules to construct, document and deconstruct a piece everyday I got into my studio. I had to use whatever materials were around me, therefore I couldn't buy anything new.

I have now got to the point of reflection, whereby I am able to look back on the images I have taken and take time to think about which were successful, which weren't, which pieces had mileage and which I could refine. Some I could easily dismiss, others I am excited about taking further, some works are great just as they are, with no extra work needed. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Construction Project Day #24

Singular tone flat/panels were the order for today. 

I paired a sheet of coloured board with a shard of painted 4mm acrylic. The contrast in surface, texture and opacity were delightful (even if I do say so myself).

I like that from the images you can not tell how big the boards are, they could be any size. This gives me room to experiment with the idea for future projects/works.

I would like to run through the whole spectrum, these three shades are just a tester. I would also be interested in pairing complementary colours together. e.g a red board with a green shard or acrylic, etc. 

The juxtaposition between the neat and precisely cut board next to the organic and sporadic shapes of the plastic work in contrast with each other.    

These works are, for me, sculptural. Even thought they are 2D, perhaps you would call them paintings, I see them as models for 3D works or illusions of what sculptures could become of them.

I must admit using paint is rather nice. What is happening to me???

Monday, 19 May 2014

Construction Project Day #23

Referencing the painterly even more than on any other day, I made a simple balancing construction from postal tubes and painted aluminum. The colours reflected in each metal sheet as they were positioned one on top of the other. Levitating on cardboard tubes. The singular mirror laid on the floor makes the work. It allows for a clear reflection of all the aluminum sheets above it.

This sculptural Mondrian-esque arrangement could be added to using different colours at alternative heights. The simplicity of the work is what is most successful about it, in my opinion.

When I first made the work it seemed precarious in the way it was balenced, however, after leaving it in my studio without any interruptions (except for a heavy industrial sewing machine vibrating intermittently above on the next floor) for 2 weeks, as I nipped to Devon for a holiday in that time, it was surprisingly still standing on my return. Testament to the strength of the second hand postal tubes.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Liz West in 'The Language of Mixed-Media Sculpture' Book

 A survey of contemporary sculpture; featuring the work of Liz West

Liz West’s' practice is discussed at length in this new survey of mixed-media sculpture, alongside several colour images of her recent installation work.        

The Language of Mixed-Media Sculpture by Jac Scott will be published on the 10th May 2014 by Crowood Press.

The Language of Mixed-Media Sculpture is both a survey and a celebration of contemporary approaches to sculptures that are formed from more than one material. It profiles the discipline in all its expanded forms and recognizes sculpture in the twenty-first century not as something solid and static, but rather as a fluid interface in material, time and space.
Topics covered:
  • It gives insightful revelations of the creative journeys of ten renowned sculptors
  • Useful technical information on a myriad of processes and materials
  • Twenty-eight international sculptors showcased
  • Inspiring imagery with over 200 colour photographs

 Have a sneak peek at the book here:

Friday, 2 May 2014

Construction Project Day #22

The question at the back of my mind yesterday was 'could I have the same effect without a light bulb?'

Depending of how you position the aluminum sheets, the strength of hue and colous of paint you use and ultimately the whiteness of the wall behind; you can achieve a successful, be it more subtle, delivery of this idea.

I know for certain that it would not have worked if one of the sheets had of remained blue. 
It would not have worked if the wall behind hadn't of been painted bright white. 
It would of helped if the floor had of been reflective or painted fresh either light grey or white. 
It might have helped if the metal sheets were larger (this would of also made a bigger impact on the space).

So many aspects contribute to the success of an idea that result in a work. This piece certainly demonstrates the painterly within my practice, without the need for electricity. This is somewhat of a breakthrough and a line of inquiry that I would like to explore further.

What this space. I am becoming brave!


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Construction Project Day #21

Even thought I switched the lights completely out yesterday, I have re-introduced just one for today. Not because I feel totally attached, but because I thought that the one white striplight may add something to the work as help emphasis the colour behind the aluminum sheets.

I was right. Without the white light behind, the painted colour on the metal did not shine; it was barely noticeable. However, with the white light, the colour reflected onto the white wall they were propped up against and started to saturate the surrounding space.

Using aluminum sheets (found in my planchest - given to me a long time and NEVER used) was a delight. I had been toying with the idea of using them for a while and never found a solution or reasonable idea. They share the same industrial quality as other materials I have used in previous work, but also have a gorgeous reflective nature which isn't as sharp as in a mirror. That slightly blurred reflection in the aluminium offers an insight, highlighting elements of the surrounding space, but without detail.

I have them in the shape and size that they were given to me in. Someone else already made that aesthetic and formal decision. I am happy with that limit for now, at least all three are identical. If I were choosing the size for new work now, the choice would certainly be different.

Whilst fabricating this idea, I painted the back of the metal different colours. I originally had blue, yellow and green - thinking about how the two primary colours (yellow and blue) made the secondary (green) as I wanted to see if the colours mixed in light as well as in pigment. After testing, I found out that the blue paint was perhaps too dark and offered no reflection onto the wall. The lighter colours suited this idea better, hence painting over the blue with orange.