Sunday, February 1, 2015

Focus Project

I’m making thirty identical paintings.  They're each 8” x 10” and modeled after a study of a blue gradient Tree of Life hexagon.  

"Transformation Hexagon"  ©  2015
This image's step-by-step process make it a natural choice for this sort of project.  Focusing on the same shape, same colors, same process, technique and size will yield the same result X 30.

This is the most controversial assignment given by our faculty at the Corcoran College of Art + Design (Washington, DC, 1980’s). However, it was given after 2 months of free range creativity. Nobody mentioned it, but the piles of artwork generated during that first stage were about discovering our modus operandi and ONE image.  

A piece that summed up the range of our unfettered production; our free association, lateral thinking, uninhibited choices in art making that sidestepped our fault-finding, self-filtering, uptight, judgmental fearful selves.

Duplicating that one piece thirty times through the Focus Project was an exercise in discipline and an example of what to do when you found that idea worth pursuing.

Sometimes logistics becomes sculpture.
We do an awful lot of artwork in a lifetime.  We produce drawings and sketches, and ideas that take over our imaginations.  We rush on to generate more ideas, sketches, and proposals…. 

And then what--continue the search for “the next big thing”?  Ugh….

Let’s stay with that brilliant, reduced idea.  Why discard it in the search for another?  They're worth holding onto.  When you find it, focus.  

A focus project brings a meditation on an image, finding out all that it holds and in the process of re-iteration controlled progress reveals itself.  

Side work produced during the current Focus Project.
Thinking becomes ordered, step-by-step instead of random.  Your body of work becomes cohesive and its coherence is evident.  Clarity becomes a trait of your artwork and process.  The directions you take become manageable choices that your clients and fan base follow as well.

Dare to impose a little discipline into the mix.  Hammer out thirty!  You might like it.  If nothing else, you’ll find a few that really sing!  You’ll internalize the image, as well as the focus processes and the multiples aesthetic.  You’ll have that ability and insight as a permanent part of your creative options.  

Who can argue with increasing one’s creative options?  

It’s an investment in yourself; in your discovery.  Your work merits the investigation.  This sort of output declares the importance of your own thinking, research and imagery.

And here’s a surprise:  I’m not making 30 paintings, I’m making one. 


1 comment:

  1. James! What a great post. I'm in the process of making duplicates on a series of paintings that include strips of acrylic. The intended effect is an optical illusion whereby each painting appears as color bars floating in space. I'm glad I'm not the only one! And, yes! It takes a lot of discipline:)