To the non-artist there often seems to be a certain mystery to the way an artist works. Perhaps this is partly because it is usually just the “finished” artwork that is presented to the viewing public. The process from inspiration through distillation to realisation is mostly hidden as it takes place in the artist’s studio.
However, one of the aspects many of us love about working at the Glasgow Print Studio is the communal, open access nature of printmaking that goes on there. Recently I was at an informal "show and tell" with many of the new-comers and regulars when I was asked which direction my work would be taking next. I had to admit that I wasn't really sure.
But chatting with others while looking at their own work in progress made me realise again how important it is to just "put in the hours", to simply turn up for work when inspiration is slow or on holiday somewhere nice and sunny.
Although the eureka moment does sometimes happen when we are not thinking about stuff, I also believe that sitting around and staring out the window isn't always the best way to solve any of my art problems, enjoyable though staring out the window may be. It was the wonderful John Byrne who, in a recent interview said something like "Inspiration!? That's for amateurs...just get on with the work".
So over the last few months I have been making an extensive suite of small-scale A5 sized mixed media collages without aiming to have presentable or finished works of art. Initially I was just having fun and putting in the hours…turning up for work and seeing how it would all pan out. I had also started noticing a few of my oldest works, some of which I had uncovered when I was packing up my old studio last year for the big move. I’ve been kind of back-tracking or reviewing it from a distance of many years, more than three decades in fact.
It’s the first time I have ever done this but I actually spent time studying and analysing some of my oldest work. I began to question what I had then that I don’t have now, which enabled me to make such raw and edgy marks, images and compositions? How do I relearn and recapture that? Searching for those answers lead me to start some more collages based on the really old stuff.
These, and a selection from the A5 series are what I’m launching on-line for you.
But enough of me staring out the window writing blog posts. Maybe I'll go for a run, focus on nothing much and wait for a eureka moment, or maybe I'll just get back to work. Difficult decision. The trouble is, both sound like fun.