Better to learn through the making. It’s taken four years of full-time art school to get past my past way of thinking: the urge to pre-plan, to set the course objectives, to start at the intended result and work backwards. I’ve worked harder than I ever have to muster up the courage to take the leap into the unknown in order to learn from what I discover.
This is much easier when you’re an 18-year-old than a fortysomething corporate-media drop-out. It’s all about unlearning.
Take this blog entry. For almost two decades I pre-planned each weekly newspaper column, mostly on the fly. First I started with the point of the piece: the conclusion, the punchline. Then it was just a matter of working backwards to craft the persuasion, which inevitably included a recap of a real-life situation. Finally, I would craft a high-impact opening statement — or at least try to. So: gripping lead, the real-life example, the quandary, the realization, the wrap-up. Back to front, all wrapped up in a bow.
That’s absolutely contrary to my ongoing deprogrammed approach to art-making, so when it comes to writing even in this lowly space I stare at my blinking curser, barely able to eke out a few sensible lines. I don’t know how other people can create written discourse and visual art at the same time.
This isn’t the usual writer’s block but something new that requires an innovative approach. So I’m tackling journalistic writing as with art, trying to find my point in the doing of it. It might make for bad print, but then, my art’s not exactly where I want it to be either.
The point is to play with ideas. Currently that means playing with visual connections between psychedelic art and doilies. I might still be able to revert to the linear, make persuasive arguments about mathematics and transcendence, but it’s an urge that must be resisted.
I have to take the leap and believe that I’ll get there when I get there.