I’ve been in my studio for three straight weeks and among the solitude I keep returning to a single question: WHY?
Why am I doing what I am doing? Why marks? Does it mean anything? Why is it important? Am I crazy? What am I trying to do?
I by no means have a final answer around this but I do have some thoughts. I will lay them out as best I can. These ideas are fluid and not fully formed.
. . .
I’ve realized my current body of work has two primary influences: a life outdoors and my career in communications and graphic design.
Nature has always helped keep me centered. Its been my part of my internal compass and center. Living a life where I can be outside and connect with the world around me makes me feel part of something greater. I love how the vastness of spaces makes me feel free like a bird and how the impressiveness of mountains make me feel like an ant. I am constantly navigating, exploring and trying to figure out how I fit into this world around me. The physical world gives me energy that I internalize and then externalize through my work. There is a constant exchange between intake and output.
My work uses color and form to create a language and express/communicate intangibles. I categorize intangibles as all the stuff you don’t see going on behind the scenes: ideas, emotions, energy, thoughts. These are things where, for me, words fall short.
I really try to think of painting as a construction of an image. Dealing with things we don’t have proper language for. The neologism is there to address when language isn’t enough. Through repetition of the mark there is this desire to try to invent something.
– Julie Mehretu
I have built a visual vocabulary of marks. I am fascinated with repetition and patterns. I love how a set of marks looks one way but when you change your material it changes the entire ethos of those same marks. I often think I am crazy. Repeating the same thing over and over again on multiple paintings. Is my language not diverse enough? Am I just making the same work over and over again with different colors? We are all critics but I am always my greatest. This is when I have to reach outside of myself and look to others.
One mark leads to the next and then feeds onto another painting.
– Heather Day
"I love your use of marks. When I look at them it makes me want to make marks. I just love the tediousness of some." – Soundbites from peers post Pause, A Break
So I am not alone and I am not crazy. This does mean something. What I’ve realized is that I am obsessive and I am endlessly on this pursuit to sort out what is going on in my head and the world around me. I’ve always leaned on my internal states as the subject of my work and I am creating a language for me to process it all. So yes, for me, my work is personal but it isn’t just about me. If it was, my language would be way more specific.
The unconscious is a language.
– Lara Pawson
What I’ve realized is that working in communications/design I’m always looking for the most simplistic way to convey an idea or a thing. A reduced visual language to show the thing in it’s most simplistic but informational form. I love in the Netflix mini doc series ABSTRACT with illustrator Christoph Niemann when he talks about using a heart to create a symbol for love through his ABSTRACT-O-METER. He sorts out how to convey the idea of the thing versus the actual thing itself.
I am constantly intaking the world around and within me and regurgitating it onto my work. I create a world where triangles are trees, directions or movement; wonky lines are trails, a ridge line or my own path. Where dashes can be the wind, migrations, or thoughts and color can be landscapes, water or emotions.
The form is the body of the color.
The color is the soul of the form.
– Kevin Gerstner
It is important for me to create something that show opposite states co-existing within a single piece. I’ve always framed it in my mind as states of control and lack there of. Order + chaos. Rigidity + fluidity. Spontaneous + intentional. Guttural + soft.
“Something effortless and something considered”
– Heather Day
That is important to me because as entities (humans, landscapes, etc.) we are dynamic, constantly changing, reacting, growing and shifting. These altered states demonstrate states of flux that coexist amongst one another. Complexity + simplicity.