Each month, the Creative Gateways studios chooses a theme to inspire our work and act as a focus for our events. Here is what’s coming up in January…
Stuck in a moment
“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” – Sylvia Plath, “The Bell Jar”
It is not hard for us to get caught in loops of indecision. We have all had moments where we find ourselves caught between options: what clothes should I wear today? What food should I order from the menu? What movie should I watch tonight? The brain is an amazing organ, and the mind a wondrous thing – but that does not preclude them from sometimes being a hindrance instead of a help.
This problem can be magnified for the working artist. Creative decisions can feel a great deal more important than the valid, but quotidian experience of choosing your attire. Artists not only wish to put out a good product, but want it to accurately reflect their intentions. Their work is an expression of their feelings, their perspective, and their voice. It is often meant to articulate the otherwise incommunicable aspects of life. It is no wonder, then, that perfection is frequently internalized as the goal.
But doubt and hesitation, if left unchecked, can cast increasingly long shadows. At a certain point the mental cycle must be broken for the good of the creative spirit, often by handing over trust to an element of the unpredictable. And it is often in those moments of surrender that the best work can emerge.
The art of letting go
“Sometimes letting go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” – Eckhart Tolle
Laura Hines struggled with this issue as she was developing her unique and generally fastidious style. Although she still has her moments of artistic vacillation, she has learned more productive approaches to her work. “I try to just go with instinct, and filter out whatever intellectual plan I might have. It means I’m free to experiment.” This has led to creations, like her “Beasts of the Forest” series, that wonderfully blend the photo-realistic with the fantastic.
The organic and the intentional have also become hallmarks of Michael Colpitts‘ style. In his mixed-media work, while paying great attention to characteristics like composition, he also desires a natural feel. Part of this is accomplished through Michael’s willingness to take chances with inherently capricious techniques. The results, however, can be enrapturing, such as with his piece “Emerging Light.”
The artists of the AMusinGlass studio also find themselves giving over some control to the uncertain. This comes in the form of reactive glass – types of glass that, when heated together, creates a chemical reaction. “Most people stay away from that glass,” AMusinGlass and Creative Gateways founder Pilisa Rainbow Lady explains. “But if you’re mad scientists like us, you love it.” There is no telling what the end product will exactly look like, which can be a scary prospect when considering a piece that has been worked on for months, if not longer. While it can be a risk, it can also create dazzling effects, as seen in Pilisa’s “Ocean Bifurcation” or Marika Israelson‘s “Velvet Dawn.”
Free to see
Join us as we display the results of all our resident artists’ moments of creative liberation, at the opening reception of Liberation from Ideation: First Friday Exhibit!