Sunday, November 8, 2009

a stormy brain

i've been trying to do some big time deconstruction of my ideas in hopes of better understanding their roots, and my motivations. filling pages of notebooks, putting them down for a few days, and coming back to them with fresh eyes. drawing web graphs in hopes of connections revealing themselves to me as i work through them.

i recently watched the documentary about r. crumb, and he made a simple statement that i really related to. he said "i don't work in terms of conscious messages. i can't do that. it has to be something that i'm revealing to myself while i'm doing it". now i differ a bit in that i do start off with an idea of the message, but i purposely begin a piece before i have the entire message completely fleshed out. i relate to crumb in how the learning occurs for me during the process of making.

i've had a good amount of studio visits and critiques by now, and more than once, i have received the comment that i have strong drawing skills, followed by an implication that perhaps i shouldn't automatically rely on them. i could be reading that into it actually, but nonetheless it is something i have come to think about. is drawing necessarily the best way for me to convey my ideas? it is something i believe i will always do, but is it a requirement for every piece? i'm thinking more about the ways i could work outside of drawing, and most likely after some experimentation "out there", i will find a way to bring the two ends of the spectrum to some balanced middle ground.

i have some ideas for some sculptural, photographic, and installational works. i also have thoughts on pieces that focus on the collection of information or dialogue, but haven't figured out how i could exhibit my results. for those ideas, i almost think of the experience itself as the piece, but of course if i wish to communicate it to an audience, i have to formulate that aspect.

this is a pretty vague entry. perhaps i am finding that i am uncomfortable speaking too much about my ideas in a public forum until they are under some manner of execution. i will say that one of the web graphs i drew today started out with the concept of overpopulation among deer and humans, and that some of the outer circles of the graph ended up with subjects such as faux bois, human denial of animal instincts, modern illusion of nature, and wallpaper. i assure you that the middle parts of the chart are completely fascinating as well.

at first, the various ideas i've been coming up with have felt pretty disparate, but i am beginning to see that they share a common theme, which has revealed itself to be Control...or Loss Of Control (i capitalized to show how important it is...of course). there are separate intricacies to each idea, and i am more than okay with that, but i still feel very compelled to seek a connection sometimes.


  1. Drawing may well be a requirement for every piece, but not necessarily its end point.

  2. It may well be that your particular practice is motivated by the act of drawing and the desire to draw. That doesn't mean that all your outputs have to be drawings, or that drawing signals the conclusion of the development of a work.

    If drawing springs from desire (as I think Mitchell suggests in What Pictures Want) there might be other ways to express that desire, despite the act of capturing it on paper being the source point for the work. I personally like the connection between drawing (the mark making activity) and drawing something or someone nearer. It's also true though that other media have that effect too, through their own particular means (I'm thinking perhaps of how image dispersal on the interweb creates a proximity between artist, subject and content that doesn't rely on a one-to-one spatial relationship.)

    I guess I'm saying that your work can be whatever you want it to be, and doesn't need to be limited to one particular medium. In that respect, I'm probably stating the obvious.