February 3rd, 2005
“I hate writing. I love having written.” -Dorothy Parker
I think the main benefit in doing pieces you are not invested in is pushing yourself into places you don’t normally go, or don’t want to go. I have on purpose cut out photos that I am not really drawn to and tried to use them in something. Not really liking the feeling of a piece and reminding myself that it matters not. Sometimes I get halfway through a piece and flat out hate it. (The piece below on the right was one.) So I keep going, add a few lines, fill the page. Move on to the next. Sometimes a few days later I will look at it again and find there is something in it, something beautiful that I didn’t see.
I remember a story told to me recently at a dinner party. An art instructor seperated his class into two groups and asked them to produce a body of work. The first group was told that they would be graded on quality (how successful each piece was), and the second group was told they would be graded on quantity (pure numbers). As you may have guessed the quantity group was the most successful, producing large numbers of pieces that the artists were really happy with. The greater the number the less attached to the outcome the artists became. The quality group laboured over each piece, experienced more stress, and became much more self-critical. Interesting.
For me these pieces are largely about accomplishment. Even after doing a couple pages I feel satisfied, that I have produced some work, and given new life to my journal. The journal becomes less about documenting (it’s usual role), and more about letting go. I have on occasion gone back to some of these collages as inspiration for my commercial work, (using color combinations, composition, etc.)