About Me

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If you like short, fiery, red haired East Londoners who now reside in Norwich that have a penchant for video games, board games and filmmaking then you've come to the right place, my friend. I write a fortnightly column about video games for Forces of Geek and I write, direct, edit and film with Cheesemint Productions, my production company. You can search for us on YouTube, you know how the Internet works, right? This blog, Excuse Me While I Geek Out is a place to collect my column pieces for Forces Of Geek and anything I've written for other websites and publications as well as being a place to write about all things geek. My other blog, For All Or None is a cathartic activity dedicated to my mental health and I write openly and honestly about deeply personal psychological issues that effect me. It's an mental outlet so doesn't necessarily require readers especially as it will no doubt be full of grammatical errors, nonsense and spelling mistakes.

She appears composed, so she is, I suppose

Hi there,

Welcome to this unorganised collection of my writings, thoughts, creative notes and ramblings. It may not be coherent and at times may be a little hard to follow. Such is the nature of language and I'm not writing for anyone else, just myself, in an attempt to organise my thoughts and to aid me with my creative work but please feel free to peruse and comment if you wish to do so.

XO,

Emma-Jane

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Existential Canvas Crisis!

One of the things I've been doing lately is trying to articulate the feelings I have when encountered with a blank canvas. I used post-it notes to write down as many words I could think of that express this notion. I got the idea from one the sessions we had about 3 weeks back when we used a similar technique to describe a painting in one of the galleries at the Castle Museum. I remember feeling incredibly frustrated that although I described the painting as I saw it, that language will always hinder communication. It is a self destructive tool.

I'm often faced with ideas or concepts that I can't communicate to others, I can bearly articulate their meaning. Often, I have thoughts that could only be described to others by first describing the thought processes that preceded the thought, this would be incredibly laborious and is near impossible. I only describe it as near impossibility rather than full blown impossibility as I haven't tried it out!

Either way, language is an absurd concept. It is utilised for communication. Learnt from childhood so that we can express ourselves, yet, as with most things it is extremely complex and can often emcumber us with too much detail or none at all! There are some things that I can not possibly say because there exist in English no word or symbol for. Add visual language to the equation and you're set for misinterpretation AND inability to articulate...Argh!

Here are the words I came up with:

Rectangle
White
Blank
Canvas
Rough Surface
Untouched
Nothing
Daunting
Looming
Challenging
Ominous
Intimidating
Empty
Absence
Nothingness
Unknown
Void
Uncertainty
?! - this represents feeling I can not express/articulate/communicate etc.
Scared
Unsure
Self-conscious
Mental Block
Potential (To Ruin)
Inarticulacy
Inability
Inadequate
Self-doubt
Fear
Frustration
Anguish
Paranoia
Defeat

Quite dramatic, yes...but I do seem to get myself incredibly worked up about a blank canvas. I also uploaded another entry today called "Untitled". It's a fictionalised account of my battle with the canvas.

Anyhow, here is the image from the aforementioned session just to show you how t inspired me. Below it are images of the task I set myself to challenge the blank canvas. Apologies for the awful quality of some of the pictures, some were from my camera phone!



















Contemporary Showrooms and Flat-Pack Furniture (Apparently)

I have never been to Ikea. I suppose this sentence is akin to someone in the West saying I have never been to McDonalds. All I really know about Ikea is that it's a Swedish company and has a reputation (apparently) for it's flat pack furniture being near impossible to put together. I have a friend who visits it regularly, not to buy anything in particular, sometimes she doesn't buy anything at all, she goes to visit it, as if it's day out destination. It's a shop right?! Or has consumerism totally engulfed us?! I go to the shops to buy things I need and on those rare occasions when I have money, things I want.

Maybe I'm just disillusioned, since I have never been to an Ikea. Why is she harping on about Ikea anyway? you may be wondering. Well, for my self negotiated unit, I am researching the book as an object through domesticity and the commercial. When I read, books are enjoyed predominantly in my home or perhaps in the comfort of a coffee shop (which I would argue is really just an extension of the home). I feel they represent the comfort of domesticity. Books are also sellable, they are commercial objects as well as domestic ones. So I've been looking at bookshops and the home. My table could be described as furniture, well I suppose it is. It performs the function of a coffee table at least. Yet it is also an art object. Through my art I have combined the concept of books and the concept of furniture. Ikea sells furniture, it displays furniture, in fact I hear Ikea displays are a joy to behold. I've decided that I'd quite like to display my coffee table in a similar fashion. So...I'm going to visit an Ikea! No doubt my friend will be more than willing to escort me!

Apparently it is full of complete displays of every type of room you can think of: living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, offices, etc. Each display is full of products that have tags with information that tells you where you can find the same product in its warehouse. According to someone on an online forum: "These displays are amazing. They think of everything. There are real books on the bookshelves and complete dinner sets on the table tops. There are even glasses and plates tucked inside of kitchen cabinets."

Here are some examples:





Pretty detailed and I must admit I can see how people seem so impressed. There are even people who go to Ikea just to have their picture taken in the displays.
According to the same Ikea fan as above, "All you have to do is take photos of yourself acting natural (or completely ridiculous, however you like to present yourself) in these displays. Make sure you hide the price tags though! Then, when you return home, just upload your favorite photos from your IKEA outing to your profile and there you go. Just wait until people start responding to that photo of you sitting in your huge black leather office chair behind your massive oak desk surrounded by your posh bookshelves and lighted liquor cabinet." Yes, indeed.

Sounds a bit extreme to me but all the same I'm going to go take a gander and see what all the fuss is about. There's an exhibition on Ikea and its history currently on too. Sadly, I shan't be going...as it's at Liljevalchs Konsthall, which is in Stockholm,
Sweden. 50 Years of Ikea

On another note, my coffee table will be on display at Borders Bookshop in Norwich from Sunday! Fun times.

Untitled

The blank canvas stares back at me like a mirror, hard and cold. Its reflection is scrutinising, I can hardly bear it. Worse still, its silence nauseates me. Unsure, I continue to stare back searching the blankness for something, anything! My act, though full of artistic intention is futile, it only serves to amplify the silence and blind me with its gleaming whiteness. A void; avoid the void I plead with myself...yet, my mind travels towards it at an alarming speed. It begins with self-doubt, my no-goodness and good-for-nothing self has hijacked my founding optimism. The canvas looms, ominous. Intimating but never intimidated. I recoil in fear and uncertainty, unable to make a mark on its untouched roughed up surface. It notices my failing and challenges me to a mental duel – I hesitate. It hits first and jabs me with gut-wrenching inadequacy, speaking to me in a cruel, unforgiving whisper, “You’ll never be good enough”. Worthlessness consumes me, my potential to ruin stunts any creativity that might have been my salvation, my saving grace. I try to retort but cannot find the words or articulate their meaning. Language can not save me now. It has taken sides and acts as a barrier between me the words I seek. I am abandoned by language, left alone in a vast chasm of unfathomable symbols and indecipherable chaos. My mind tries to fight back, an attempt to mark the canvas, but it is too weak, too defeated now to go on. I become as blank as the canvas itself. It exudes nothingness, projecting itself onto my own life, reminding me that I too, am finite. I can not beat it. I will die. As my anguish and despair intensify, I can not control my inaction; an existential crisis of sorts. This does nothing but encourage my frustration and paranoia. “I’ll never be good enough” I cry. “It’s all pointless” I weep. Tears fall, eyes swell, my vision blurs. Uncontrollable sobbing replaces my indignant cries of inadequacy. This continues, as it will always. Absence of sound and thought create echoes in the caverns of my mind, what was once there is gone, forgotten. Distraught, I have no choice but to accept my fate. I am human, doomed to live and die alone. What am I if I can not express or articulate myself? I know the answer all too well, it is insufferable and it consumes me every second I am alive. It sits there uneasily, awkwardly, like an unwanted guest within my consciousness. The answer whispers to me loud and violent. I am nothing. An insignificant entity. If I possess no words, have no actions, own no instument to communicate- then I am defeated! The final blow knocks me to the ground, I seek comfort in the foetal position but it is too late. I have lost. The blank canvas reigns over me once again. It remains untouched and immeasurable, whilst I obediently fall into the abyss. Exhausted, I give in to the calm, the empty...the nothingness.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Poverty + Art = Povertart? (Hmm...)

Fearful, I feel like I should write something here as it's been over a week since I last posted anything! I've been busy networking and organising my next exhibition.

Money has become a restricting issue for my self negotiated unit, I'm struggling to acquire more coffee table-esque books for a reasonable price and no one seems to have any they wish to donate, so I'm thinking of "theming" my tables based on what books I do have. For example, I have a large number of horror genre hardbacks, also paperbacks (for the legs!) which would work.

I suppose I'll just have to try and be inventive; poverty can be inspiring...sometimes.

I'm hoping that my loan will be topped up soon. It's all been agreed, I just need to go through the tiresome process of getting things signed and such. Once I have all this sorted, I still need to work round the less than helpful summer workshop times too...else, I'll have to fork out more money I don't have for a drill, which wouldn't help alleviate my financial stress!

It will be interesting to look back on this time in the future and see what work I eventualy create. Also, I'd love to see what "new" art is emerging from these financially difficult times.

I don't have much else to say really, this whole post seems a bit pointless and my brain hasn't quite been on form these past few days. I'm starting to feel the pressure a bit and I'm worried I'm beginning to burn myself out from exhaustion. Fun times!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Fairhurst, Fear and F**k Me I Think I've Started a Business...(Kind Of)

Fairhurst's image, When I Woke up in the Morning, the Feeling Was Still There, is a screenprint in three-colours. The particular print I have added relates to a series of four large colour photographic panels. (1992), titled Man With Dream Colours.


Copyright: The Estate of Angus Fairhurst

The photographic part of the image is in black and white with the canvas a blank white except a square of yellow has been printed on it's surface, it has been deliberately misaligned. Fairhurst often used to play around with themes of mis-alignment and removal. Here's an example of one of his works, a collection of magazine pages with the body and text removed...Ten Pages Of a Magazine, Body and Text Removed



Fairhurst commented on the image of the man with canvas...: 'I wanted to play on the mis-alignment of the hard form and the notion of feeling, both physical and emotional, which is something you cannot be so sure about' (quoted in Contemporary British Art in Print 1995, p.46). As made obvious, this work relates to my own, I've been struggling to find much more information on these particular prints, especially explaining the reasons Fairhurst decided to produce them. My search however will continue.

In other blank canvas news...David and I set out to the library a few days ago to take some more pictures of myself avec canvas. I wanted to show the canvas in another environment, one which manufactures another of my fears...SILENCE! So the library it was. I often find the library intimidating yet magnetising, the quietness freaks me out yet the books call to me! I suppose this is how I feel about the canvas too. I'm afraid of it, yet I want to explore it...perhaps I'll overcome it?

It was a new experience, I've never posed with a canvas prior to the last "photoshoot" which was at my home (a safety net perhaps?!). So bringing this experience into the external world was a little nerve-wracking...I was very aware of people watching us, me...I'm not sure it was embarassment either. We took a few images outside the library, as I wanted to highlight the environment. There were quite a few people miling around and I became very aware of their noticing us. So, I laughed and kept laughing so I could disguise my fear, also hid my face with the canvas a lot to begin with. David seemed far more at ease, camera in hand, shooting away. I kept thinking "let's get this over with quickly, this is weird...I need a coffee!". Still, I let the fear carry me and once I'd asked permission to take pictures in the library we wandered to find a place that had enough natural light - we weren't able to use flash photography and couldn't control the light like we had been able to at home. I took us over to the biography section, not for any artistic reason - it just seemed to have enough light, but also seemed to hide us away from people...after a few pictures I felt braver and decided we needed to be somewhere with even more light so we moved to the front. I was conscious of being in the way and this was made worse by the fact that someone upon seeing us, changed their route to the photocopier as we were blocking their direct route. I felt a bit out of place. Perhaps it was my fear of libraries? Well, silence. Although, I noticed this wasn't quite as bad when I had someone with me.

After I felt I had enough images, we retreated to the coffee shop, I remember feeling dizzy: part-adrenalin, part-lack of breakfast! So my coffee (well, mocha) was one of the best coffees I'd had in a long time! David took a few more pictures of me with the canvas and I reverted back to being silly, posing and pretending I was on a date with it...it does make me realise that I rely heavily on laughter and amusement. I've also come to the conclusion that without other people I start fearing absolutely everything, I lose the ability to do things on my own! I also need to enjoy myself and treat art as entertainment rather than something that needs doing. Perhaps this is the mistake I've made in the past. I want so much to feel like an artist again that I'm forgetting to enjoy it.

Enough rambling...here are some of the images:






















So um...also, I'm selling some work soon. Also have the opportunity to sell through The Perfect Pad. By chance, I enquired about exhibiting work in the shop as I thought my work would look quite good in there and it turns out they have a gallery upstairs. I'm now thinking of possibly exhibiting my work there. The only thing is, I can only exhibit if I'm looking to sell...and it's 40% commission.

I've got all the details of the guy who owns it, he seemed to like the images I had of the table. So, I'm going to draw up my design specification professionally, produce two tables at the same time instead of one (not exactly mass production, but sort of...) and see if any other similar shops/businesses might also be interested.

I'm also waiting to hear back from my other "client", god, it still feels weird referring to him as a client! Madness. So um, yeah...I'm in business, kind of.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

So much to do, so little time!

Things I need...

A drill
Dowel
Some new coffee table books
Perspex

Things to do...

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Fighting the Blank Canvas with Fun!

So quick update on the blank canvas project...I've been planning some images for a while now, I finally realised them a few days ago. It meant I needed a helper, one who knows how to work a camera...cue David, my housemate!

As I've been investigating my relationship with the blank canvas, I've been thinking about how I could show this visually - that is, my struggle with it and the intimidation I feel when faced with one. I thought it might be interesting to photograph myself with a canvas, but so it was in front of me. This would be so I could highlight the canvas as an intrusive object that stands in my way.

So anyway...I explained to David what I wanted. I didn't necessarily wish to be seen in the image, rather, myself and the background would act as a frame for the canvas. Here are a few of the "framed canvas" images.














I ended up just playing around with the canvas while David took more photo's, they show me being playful with the canvas, it became something fun as opposed to something fearful. I realised that humour and playfulness are possible coping mechanisms. I also learnt that perhaps in order to feel comfortable with a blank canvas I need dependancy on others. So, I'm going to try and pursue this collaborative element, could be interesting to see if I might find out more about my practice this way...

Here are a selection of some of the photos...























On another note,"Billboard Image Appears in Norwich!"
- A friend of mine has been stealthing it up like a ninja, round the streets of Norwich at 4am! Pretty darn good! He takes found local photographs (forgotton memories!) and blows them up, placing them back into the local community they came from.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Contexualising my work (and all that jazz...)

I was discussing my blankness/silence idea with a few other MA students today, someone suggested I should visit Berlin for research...(I wish!). Apparently there's a room in the Jewish Museum there, which is completely empty, it's concrete and about 20 metres high. There's a hole in the ceiling so that the smallest ray of light cascades through. He said that when you enter the room, you feel as if you can't/shouldn't speak...it's strange what the architecture of a room and the use of it's space can do. Although totally the point I guess, i imagine it would be quite a poignant thing to experience. Just looking at images of it online I get a sense of sadness. From what I can gather, (well from a quick search on the internet, not bad for 10 minutes!), it's called the Room of Exile. It sounds incredibly eerie and the name itself suggests some kind of impending doom! It only has one door and one ladder mid-wall extending to the ceiling. This portion of the museum seems to be using architecture to convey feelings of absolute isolation and despair. I know from this description that it would terrify me, given my irrational fear of silence and nothingess! Here's a quote I found about it: "The room was cold and dark with only a sliver of light cascading down from the ceiling"

Here are some images of it...as you can see it's quite intimidating/forboding! These images really fill me with uneasiness.







Luckily it's not all been doom and gloom...I've also been reading these past few days, (mainly because I have reached a bit of a dead end with my practical work, although this is beside the point!) I found a particularly helpful essay by Maria Fusco entitled; The World Tomorrow - The Future of Books

It's opening quote, fits in entirely with my art;

"Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house"

Henry Ward Beecher

In this article I found a collaborative piece of design called Juxtaposed: Religion by Mike and Maaike who are part of the online design company blankblank (what a coincidence eh!? BLANK! hehe!)

This company is based on collaborative relationships involving designers, vendors and clients. "Beyond the artful interplay between materials, color, objects and spaces, we are constantly striving to enrich the relationships we foster"

Mike and Maaike's piece brings together religious texts and presents them on the same level, in theory yet also aesthetically. A very interesting yet ingenious bit of design work there I think! The subheading for the piece also adds to it's overall message of bringing different people and religions together as one;

5.084.000.000 people; 5360 pages; 3700 years; 243 countries; 7 books; 1 shelf







This piece is simple, bold and does what it sets out to, as well as being functional. it gives the client the possibility of possessing something which works not only as a stylish, flawless design piece which would work as a talking point in their home but also as a work of art. It combines both art and design with functionality. I absolutely love it. I have been toying with the idea of a shelf made of books. However my design idea is to have them so they look as if they are suspended in the air against the wall. The spines will be level only at the top, so as other books can be placed on top - like a bookshelf obviously! I will try and upload some rough sketches of it soon...once I find my damn camera!

Anyway after seeing Mike and Maaike's work, I have found new enthusiasm for developing this piece and I especially want to think about which books I might choose to use. Perhaps I could play around with humour, much like the work of Jim Rosenau. Who is Jim Rosenau I hear you say? Well, way back in December, I came across his work and mentioned him in one of my blog entries. Here's an image of one of his book shelves (each one is designed with humour in mind but he also makes custom orders on request). His website.



I love the use of humour in his work. Without the whisk and the carefully chosen titles I think his idea would still work incredibly well. But it just adds another dimension, it's playful and combines an art object with a functional domestic use. I will definitely keep this formula in mind when approaching my own work. After all, I try to keep it playful and lighthearted anyway! I'm pleased this post has gone from uneasiness and gloom to playful and lighthearted! I think I'll focus on this side of the coin for now!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Keeping it Simple...

Right..."BE FOCUSED AND KEEP IT SIMPLE!" is going to be my mantra for the next few months.

During a group crit, it was pointed out that I need to set myself deadlines, that way I will become less distracted (or at least, I won't have the time to be!). So I'm going to document what it is I am doing for each unit.

So, for my self negotiated unit I will...create a new table based on updated design specifications, proceed with my second exhibition (with the original table - albeit with a few moderations) and I will also create a chair made of books. Alongside this I will continue research into books/domesticity.

For my learning conversations unit I will...explore my reaction to the blank canvas. If this fails, I will replace "blank canvas" with "silence" then "unknown" and so on, I will also continue research into blankness/nothingness etc...I think I've finally worked out what this action research is about!

It might look simple but it is a lot of work for the timescale I have, makes me realise how overcomplicated I've been making everything on this MA so far...I have 5-6 weeks left for the blankness project and 9-10 weeks left for the other. Will need to start allocatng time for both! Eeeek!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Why Does Someone Always Get There First?!

Damn...just when you think you have an original idea, the realisation hits you in the face like a wet fish...there is no such thing as an original idea!

Bedroom of Books

Still, ain't no-one taking my Ikea display room/catalogue idea from me...or books won't be the only thing I'll be cutting!

Found a few more interesting sites this eve too:

Book Furniture

I want one of these!

Books as Art Objects and Sellable Products: Combining the Domestic with the Commercial

During the private viewing last week, one of the viewers? (still not sure which word to use) enquired as to whether I would sell them my table. Initially I was quite taken by surprise. I hadn't considered this a possibility. I explained to this potential customer that the particular table in the exhibition wasn't in a condition to be sold as there are still several design issues that need to be resolved (based on feedback) and also because I intended to use this table in my own home. However, to my horror/surprise I found myself offering to negotiate a price for a custom made table once I had design specifications sorted and was happy with it as a final product - I took his details and gave him mine...so, um...yep, possible monetary gain in the future!

Somehow my language had shifted from art object to commercial product. I'm not sure how happy I am about this, as it's been a struggle to finally create something I saw as art. Here I am now talking about this art work as a product. Still, it fits in with my self negotiated project as I'm currently arranging my next exhibition (in a bookshop which happens to be...a commericial setting!). The exhibition will enable me to analyse books as art objects in a very different setting than that of a gallery.

This has prompted an idea, well, set one in motion actually. I was suggested to me whilst in a conversation about where I intended to take my art next by a good friend. It would also combine the commercial with the domestic: a catalogue.

I will produce a catalogue of products/furniture/soft furnishings made from books/book pages. I will give each one it's own reference number, price and name.
I have expanded this idea as I have been thinking about the end of year exhibition. I would like to create a scene incorporating all of these "products"/"art objects" much like an Ikea/MFI or to lesser degree Marks and Spencer/John Lewis display which are often made to look like a room in a house as a way of showing off the products.

I will visit some of these stores to conduct my research and possibly speak to employees who are paid specifically to create these displays.

With regard to the practical element, I've been playing around with book pages lately, seeing how far I can manipulate them as material. Good news for my poor neglected sewing machine! However, I am also looking into paper making processes. Exploring how I can possibly turn paper (book pages) into fabric. It would be a welcome return to textiles but through an art context.

Drawing a Blank: Howard Hollands

I came across an "engage International Conference" while looking for essays on blankness. 'Like Nothing Else: experiment, risk and gallery education'
16 - 19 November 2005

One of the speakers at this conference was Howard Hollands:

Drawing a Blank: picturing silence in the classroom and gallery
'this interpretation panel is intentionally blank'
So, what 'this interpretation panel is intentionally blank', really means is, 'don't worry, this interpretation panel is intentionally blank', as a means of allaying the anxiety generated by the visitor faced with what appears to be nothing on the gallery wall. This throws us back on ourselves as a reader-viewer of images. Art is what we make of it, and 'nothing' as 'something' remains a confrontational and challenging concept. The nature of nothing means that it can never become an orthodoxy, but what we say about it certainly can. In this (blank-blanc) paper with too many words and pictures, Howard explores the empty space of the gallery and classroom as overflowing with pedagogic possibility


Unfortunately I could not find a transcript of his presentation (probably because it is blank?), however, attached was a link to his references which might be helpful. What striked me was the line: So, what 'this interpretation panel is intentionally blank', really means is, 'don't worry, this interpretation panel is intentionally blank', as a means of allaying the anxiety generated by the visitor faced with what appears to be nothing on the gallery wall.

The use of the word "anxiety" reminded me of my own. I never considered that an audience might also experience the same fear as myself. Yet again, I realise how incredibly self obsessed I have become. I really need to stop taking assumptions and turning them into truths/truthes? (For some reason I've drawn a blank on it's spelling - ha, hilarious...I am not.)

I wonder if I contacted him directly, if he might let me look at his transcript if it even exists? Hmm...

( ......... )

While researching blankness/silence/nothingness, I came across this blog entry by author, Thaisa Frank. It's entitled Speaking of Silence
.

It offers advice for writers but can be adapted for artists. As I also write, I found it extremely helpful.

Thaisa explains that the unfamiliar is a good route to expanding your practice and suggests that silence, does not hinder an artist but can actually increase productivity, leading you to new material. Her insight has given me a new way of approaching the concepts that I fear.

"...even if you aren't that interested in readers, experiencing the world without language it's crucial to discovering your most original work"


This could also be related to the viewer of an art work. Language that does not need to be written, or visual language, can often express more. An audience will respond emotively to what they see or alternately, don't see. During my exhibition, I spoke with several viewers, some of whom expressed that my coffee table did not require a written statement. It was evident to these particular viewers what I, as an artist wanted to express. I created this piece through challenging my practice by experimenting with the unknown (sculpture/3D work/furniture design). I am hoping to take this on board with any future work. I feel that Thaisa's comment relates to my current research - my own fear of the unknown needs to be challenged!

No matter what anyone says, there's a part of writing that you can't talk or think about. You're either writing or not writing. And, if you are writing, it's either going well, not going well--or at some point in between.

I have adapted Thaisa's paragraph on silence:

When the art flows, you don't care that you don't know how to talk or think about it: You move easily between intuition and practical work, thought and imagination. Creativity expresses what it means. Images create a subtext. And when you step back from the work to view it, there's a kind of rightness to it. You feel like a magician pulling rabbits out of a hat--no one, not even you --can see the hat's false lining.

It's when the art isn't going well that you want to get to the heart of what's not working. You mull over it. Or return to some past work. Attack it at different angles. Or try to remember other moments when you felt stuck, and created something that worked. Often you mimic old strategies--without results. Sometimes, no matter what you do, the art withers on the vine. And sometimes, without quite knowing why, it comes back to life. You may have theories about why these things happen: But since art making is partly an unconscious act, you will never unravel the mystery completely. This is why each new piece of work often feels like the first, no matter how much art you have created.

There are a variety of ways to coax creativity back into motion--all valid, and I may share some of my own ideas later. But often the only solution is to do nothing at all. In homage to this solution, I present a small paragraph of silence. It dedicated to the elusive Edward Tolliver, as well as all artists who reach a point in their work where the only solution is to create nothing. Most of us stare at the blank canvas: Few of us bother to read into them.

The Paragraph of Silence:


















I think this piece of writing is particularly helpful. At least, it has been for me.
Whenever I lapse back into the fear and panic of a new canvas I will come back to this paragragh. (I have decided that my fear may lie in the language "blank" so will refer to the blank canvas as "new". Whether or not this helps or just projects my feelings of panic from the word "blank" into the word "new" we shall see)...I also intend to look at a blank/new canvas (it's actually quite difficult to stick to "new"!) and try to create some work from it, not adding to the canvas but creating work inspired by it's concept.