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Why are you all screaming at me?
The end of the year can be a creative’s worst nightmare.
I have a confession. I have never wanted to produce less physical artwork now than I have in a long time, and it always happens at this time of the year. I still love my inks for workshops and children in particular work so well with the brightly saturated medium. It’s not that I feel stuck for ideas, and I have shared this before, it’s quite the opposite. But an overwhelming sense of adding to the noise and the land is consuming me as we are shouted seasonal and tailored advertisements now until Christmas, and then wait for it – slashed and unreasonable prices that will barely make a profit if at all are slapped in our faces. Feeling familiar? I am writing this on my dining room table whilst my kids watch some Netflix on their day off and surrounded by their little messy memories of the moments before their quiet TV time. There are also the many boxes of LEGO stacked high to my left that they’re no longer interested in and are sending me into a landfill panic!
The op shops nearby say they’re at capacity and unwanted and damaged bricks can be recycled in the regular plastic and papers recycling bins. Really, all those tiny pieces needing to be sorted. It can’t be the way forward? So, when I sit down just to paint for fun on more paper, for these works to sit only in my tidy IKEA drawers like an architectural studio, it feels strained to say the least. Then to ask people to purchase some art for Christmas when they’re not really in the position to also feels unpleasant, that’s why a commissioned piece feels so different. I can freely connect with the people and their brief, the message, the medium, and the colours. I know that it won’t fall into the overflowing drawers of experiments and promotional workshop imagery, it has purpose and will proudly sit where it is intended to go.
Don’t worry though – I’m not packing up my brushes and running to an isolated cottage in the hills (although tempting, my kids need a good education first), but I have been working with digital mediums more and my creative practice has certainly grown more in this space. I love an animated illustration. I’m not talking about a full cartoon story, and not about to change careers but using multimedia in my art and using my art in my learning designs is so energising and its purpose is always so clear and meaningful! I also don’t feel a terrible sense of waste with my digital work and experiments, I can just close my iPad, have a glass of water, and ponder what I discovered about that piece, see it with a new perspective for a different project down the track, or not think about it ever again.
“I just want to create beautiful experiences.”
In sharing this post with you this week I discovered something that I never really gave that much thought to before or articulated (drumroll please …). I like creating artwork that has a purpose, and love to create experiences with my art more than anything else. That’s why my creative workshops are more like a dinner party setting, a happy gathering, sometimes there is food, there are always some flowers, and a perfectly curated music playlist to set the right atmosphere. The feeling of joy I experience when friends and participants share how they have continued to create after having been at one of my sessions is incredible and makes me so happy! It makes the planning, the travel, the materials gathering, the setup, and the occasional pre-event jitters/excitement all worthwhile!
So, this silly season – I won’t be creating frivolous and dust catching prints and ornaments. I will focus on the experiences that make us both happy, inspired, and engaged in something bigger than ourselves. What do you think about that?