Art is a Verb

Recently I heard a critical response to a fellow artist’s use of some vintage wood in a design. They used 100 year-old wood in their art which was deemed a “waste” by the responder.

lumber4

 

I wish only to explore what “stops the creative process” at this point.

Why was it a waste to use that rare wood?

“If the wood could be used in a more ‘worthy’ application, then it would be a proper use of the material.”  If the wood were made into a fine altar piece or carved doors to a crypt, then it would be something more notable.

Nope.

I wonder in this manner sometimes when I make something new, even one-of-a-kind piece from found objects. Certainly few recycled things I have come a provenance or even an estimation of age. None are any sort of rare things other than they had been “lost”, they piqued my interest, and I re-defined them.

Paint remaining in tubes for fear of waste might deter me if I allowed. The costs of paper, canvas, and brushes do frighten me when I order materials.

But, what if I do not get “it” right?

Do I feel guilty when I fail the materials and decide to start over? Does starting over prove I am un-wise?

Nope and nope.

If every time I failed I stopped the process and cleaned up the materials and placed everything back where it belongs and quit I have only accomplished only an exercise in studio cleaning, and turning off the lights.

Do I fail often?

Yep.

I simply begin again, almost out of reflex. I have yet to understand why starting over is such a “horrid consequence”, a waste. [I’m thinking maybe also stay ahead of deadlines, because missing them qualifies as a “horrid consequence”.]

Why is “waste” such a driving concept?

I think it is rooted in fear of failing. If I mess up this cut, then I’ve ‘ruined’ a piece of 100 year-old wood and the wasting wood cops are sitting in a van outside.

Yep, it is the same with anyone who might mess up vintage lumber or a box of nails.

If the piece of  100 year-old wood rests on the shelf for another hundred years perhaps it will be a buffet for termites.

If and if and if must end. It stops the creative process.

Art is verb, it is about doing.

Advertisements

I Artist, Sometimes I Open the Box

Cigar Box of Inspiration left flip1

Urban archaeology: A find whilst junking. It was under a 1964 scrapbook.

 

The following good questions are about “how ideas originate”. And my, with hope, helpful attempt to give a “full” but direct answer. These are perennial questions. I like them. I wonder too. I should never get tired of hearing them because they are wonder questions. How does one go from ‘nothing’ to ‘something’?

 Q: So, what inspires you?

A: What does and what does not.

Example: Doodles do inspire me. Being part of rush hour does not inspire me , which is a personal epistemological squib.

 

Q: Where do you get ideas?

A: By thinking.

 

Q: What was the most recent time you were inspired?

 Short

A : Today, when I looked inside an old cigar box.

Long 

A: I scrounged a fifty-year old cigar box with a few pencils inside. I sharpened a blunted stump of a scared and pitted half-inch round  red pencil. I doodled with it in a scrap paper practice pad I keep handy. Then I got excited with the doodle and now it is going to be a color drawing.

So, the most recent time I was inspired was today, when I looked inside an old cigar box. I wondered if any of those vintage pencils still worked.

At least one of them did still work.

Being a Scrounger

It’s been two days since I’ve picked up any interesting junk. I have a deep respect for found objects.

I started June 2016 with a few loose nuts and bolts.

  • I had peanut butter jars on hand
  • Put the nuts in one jar– bolts in another
  • On a shelf

When I go through my shelves of junk for an Art project it’s almost like birthday opening presents.

Junk in Plastic Boxes

Locks, Keys, Bits, Pieces

In May I opened my bins and shelves to my friends. They made a little party of it. To their credit they hauled off a lot of swag.

That is why I had a few empty jars in June.

I know I should stop scrounging.

But life is so full of such interesting stuff.

I Artist

  • I don’t want to stop making. So I make. I suppose I could quit any time I wanted, I guess.

          For that reason I keep a journal. I have an “idea” table just for “what-ifs”. I take pictures of           constructions for reference. I made a small backpack for art materials.

  • I can create by my own will, on command, except sometimes I don’t do so well.

          So, I keep an everyday carry collection of sketch books, idea books, and finish books plus a                 small selection of pens, brushes, pencils, and colors.

  • I see the world in terms of light, shadow, form, flow, and composition.

          For example, with light and shadows I work on getting folds of fabric plausible or to show the           muted hues of an alley.

          I like to catch the early morning light and the twilight.

  • I reflexively decide what something could “be” if I change some things.

          So, I combine objects and create 3-D sculptures on wooden panels. I use items I have owned             and mix them with junk from my stash mashing, and melding.

  • I mostly work alone

         But I am always telling a story.

 

Shopping Bag Quilt1_1 45%

Shopping Bag  component from found fabric

Parts Make a Whole

Fuel Filter Lamp 1

I walked passed the collection of automotive parts everyday for several months.  The 1960 Willys Jeep fuel pump was near the top of the heap. I liked the “AC” glass bowl.

I disassembled and cleaned the fuel pump. Then, the un-necessary bits were removed.

 

Then my curiosity was growing. What else was lurking in that scrap?

I found more parts–outside house lights. I began to get a sense of what “the fuel pump” could become.

The assembly process was trial and error. Error gets me going with more determination.

I needed some bits to enhance “the fuel pump”.

I was given a cord coupler. Nice threads.

Bartered for a brass plate for a base. Scrap brass sheet and couplings for contrasting color.

I bought a toggle switch.

 

I call it a “Lamp” from a 1960 Willys Jeep fuel pump.

 

Fuel Filter Lamp 2