Circumstance Dictates Course
pt4. (Dancing With Muses)
Conclusion from the previous post:
It had been dark, and I had thought unexpected events terminated my multiple exposure series works just when I thought I was making progress.
So often in my career as an artist, this has been the case. And as I get older, these dark times seem more fatal.
Creative blocks are terrifying. Forced halts to a creative flow can be damaging to progressing an idea. And the anxiety that comes with a creative career can be overwhelming, especially in darker times. Forgetting circumstances and waiting for the muse seems like a waste of time (especially without hope). However, that inspiration, when it comes, is like finding a beam of light to hold. Holding faith that lightning will strike again and recharge a depleted outlook with illumination is essential, though the waiting seems bleak. Trust is not as easy as writing heroically about the solution after the fact. I only write now in triumph.
Inspiration did strike. My premise remained the same as before the lock-down, but my artwork gained a new flavor while restricted indoors. I was still “membering” data into experiential pictures, but now my “source playground” was my studio environment: the new artworks were more privately autobiographical than my previous selections found through incidental public observation. I was still forming proximal data into memory icons, but now it was with the things I had collected over time and had prior personal experience.
I liken these images to brain engrams—even shooting the same subjects in a different sequence or perspective alters the final appearance—as if revisiting the data developed a new engram. In theory, it is thought that memories work this way, rewriting each time we remember—either strengthening that memory or altering it if ever so slightly (like the game of telephone).
And here I was, revisiting information I had learned about; historical people I had forgotten. I ‘re-membered’ them as I constructed new contexts and relationships by making from them new artworks, artworks that carried fragments of a collective past. This way, they might be familiar to others as well.
The irony is I have photographed thousands of images rapidly in the moment of shooting to the degree that I can not recall what pictures were altered by in-camera compositing. The images are conflations (just like some of our memories over time). They start to look original to me (noncomposited). They are like stories we partially remember and confabulate with imaginary memories. They have a life of their own, changed in context and no longer related to the source images.
One friend described viewing these artworks as dreamlike: looking at the images is like waking with a dream from which you feel, all the while trying to recall and interpret the dream, which seems elusive but for the feeling.
All this to say, this is how some creative ideas develop as the developmental course gets blocked and altered by circumstance, and circumstance solutions inspire growth and even insight.
Ideas aren’t always deliberate. They certainly aren’t for me. But the will is intentional and strives to create something. The process for me is dynamic, for sure. I wish I could sit down in advance and make a thesis and strategy, but my way is akin to tripping and falling forward. My artistic development changes as negative or positive circumstances impact my will to stay creating. It is a struggle at times and a progressive process that, in my case, gets promoted by discovery and development.
Much like life.
- Hello & WelcomeGreetings to the new blog portion of lefever.com
- In The BeginningCuriosity bred invention that became quite the creative journey and developed an understanding of human perception.
- Another Type Of SeeingBuilding on my previous post and making a memoir of how this multi-exposure style developed.