Archive for May, 2010

4 points guide to express your creative calling

May 15, 2010

Nothing just happens, folks. Only ideas come to you out of the blue, but even then they really don’t appear out of thin air.  We usually know the cracks, wells and heavens they inhabit. We go searching for them with a big pasta strainer. We get them and it feels good.

One of the best feelings of the creative experience is waking up and realizing that it’s time to move yourself toward a new level in  your work. Even while still in bed, the mixture of adrenaline, excitement and terror starts to build in your blood stream, softly fondling your veins from inside. It squirrels away through the progression of morning grooming threatening to spill over once you have that coffee and the celebratory dance. However, this ‘calling’ for a bigger challenge,  for higher level of consciousness, and/or the step in the unknown direction in your work,  if you will,  rarely gets to detonate  into a full-blown actions on your behalf. It happens mostly because none of us exactly knows what this ‘calling’ really is. And we don’t have the technique helpful to exercise this ‘calling’ to see what it’s made of.

Confronted with my realization of how good it would be if I had a system for myself to properly respond to those days, I started thinking about developing a program. It’s good for us to open up, to try themes and messages we usually don’t touch in our work. It doesn’t make us inconsistent, it diversifies the thought process. Because I write as well as make art, I came up with this exercise relating both activities together in the critical approach.

Building your idea as a simple structure can be helpful because it calls for a level of clarity. Most times being clear or purposefully ambiguous is a good way to engage with your audience.  Attempt constructing your artwork as a good English topic sentence – with your topic on one side and your opinion on the other side of it.

1. Choose your topic.  The more specific it is, the better.  For example I pick war in Afghanistan; it is still too broad – I narrow it down some more. Going in tighter, I choose – the role of women in the war of Afghanistan. And I thin it down to Russian women married to Afghans and living in Afghanistan during the American invasion….

2. Form an opinion about your topic. It might take some research and some heavy thinking. So I take my topic “Russian women married to Afghans and living in Afghanistan during the American invasion and  I literally place on the left of my topic sentence that has to be complete . It is very important that you write it down and have it in front of your eyes and see it. Now, I will place my point of view on the topic  in the right side of the sentence.

Russian women married to Afghans and living in Afghanistan during the American invasion_______________________.

For example Russian women married to Afghans and living in Afghanistan during the American invasion_ had even less rights than Afghan women.

This topic sentence that you have just made is your  thesis statement. It clearly states the focus of your interest and how you feel about it. You have a clear main point that you set out to show for your viewer.

3. Before you move to the next step, you might want to ask yourself one big question. What is the fundamental purpose of your art work?

Express

Describe

Shock

Explain

Inform

Persuade

Make aware of

Entertain

Having only one or two fundamental purposes helps to make your statement more clear. Try clearly answering that question for yourself.

4. After you’ve identified the topic of your interest and  you’ve formed a clear opinion about it, you are free to engage in the search for your visual language –  images that illustrate  your sentence  in the most universal, uncommon and original fashion depending on what effect you are trying to achieve. Make a list of your imagery and concepts.  For instance, for the topic sentence we have discussed the following images come to my mind.

Burka, tanks, guns, children, blood, long hair, eyes covered, strangers, alienation, contact of skin and burka, mixed children, etc..

Now choose the strongest and the simplest images, that are both strong and full of meaning, and cultural biography

5. Now you  are ready to do your sketches. What medium best represents my topic? Remember  Marshall McLuhan’s “Medium is the Message“, well it’s still works. Do I need color? Do I need collision of forms. Do I need movement? Should I work with preexisting imagery and use collage? Should I use a palette knife or a brush, what medium is going to help the viewer to feel my story?

The  difficult part is uncovering those other topics of interest. As artists we are interested in certain things and sometimes set in our ways and styles. In addition, so many things  are often subconscious and it is not easy to pull them out of yourself  on demand. Carrying a note pad helps jotting down those things that make your heart go zok zok zok.

Now go, get them tiger

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