Sunday, January 3, 2016

Incidental Discoveries are Crucial

An artist does an awful lot of artwork in a lifetime.  Ideas overtake our imaginations and we rush on generating ideas, sketches, artwork and proposals. 

Ideation Drawing:  Hexagon Variations  ©  James Thatcher  2012

Use a “focus project” to concentrate on a single successful image from those labors.  Produce 30 identical versions with no variation in size, process or subject matter. This will stabilize studio output and concentrate your art making processes and effort.  

And it will generate a market of strong reliable imagery. 

I’m in the midst of the second focus project in the past twelve months. The first focus project was 30 small paintings, 8” x 10” each.

Transformation Hexagon  © James Thatcher  2015
© James Thatcher  2015

This second effort is sculptural and the discoveries are compelling. 

In a 2-D focus project you only have finished work at the end of the process.  Suddenly you’ve got 30 finished pieces.  The joy and beauty of this 3-D focus project pops up in unexpected places as assembled sections need to be stored.  
 Proposal for Public Sculpture ©  James Thatcher  2015

These incidental discoveries are crucial.  They maintain creative interest during the long weeks and months of production. You don’t want to break the momentum of your epic focus project but these ideas can also be works in themselves.

18 Corner Pieces, Bamboo  ©  James Thatcher  2015
So be sure to photograph and make note of your ideas.  Also consider making drawings and paintings of these various stages after completing the main body of work.  They represent a strong direction for future artworks and possibly your career.

Creating 2-D artworks extends the depth of your 3-D portfolio.  It’s a separate/additional body of work that supports your sculpture installation.  They provide a wall mounted display to accompany your floor display in a pre-curated collection.    

Model for Sculpture/Painting Installation  ©  James Thatcher  2016
(What if this were a giant outdoor steel sculpture with a digital billboard behind it?)
The question of whether one is a sculptor or a painter is not relevant because the relationship between your 3-D and 2-D images is so clear.  You present the artwork of one artist who uses multiple mediums to explore their ideas.  


The dedication displayed by presenting your ideas in a volume of related artworks is impressive.  Your vision is clearly defined and explored at a depth displayed only by the most professional of artists.  

(Welcome to the big time)