No More Boring Art

© John Baldessari

© John Baldessari

I am deep into an open exploration of my next personal project. What started as one idea, has taken several unexpected turns, and is gradually gaining shape. It feels like I've started with a giant mound of clay, and that I'm scraping away or adding on until there is some semblance of form. 

It's a difficult process that comes with a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. When I feel stuck, I'll often look at books, watch obscure films, or go for a long bike ride. The small ideas that produce forward movement seem to come at the most unlikely times. 

The other night, I wrote a first draft of the statement for this new project (currently titled "Zauberfarben"), which I had to finish by midnight in order to submit for a portfolio review. That day I'd driven 400+ miles to do two location shoots, wrapped, had dinner and sat down at 10pm to write. I was tired, looped and not thinking very clearly, but had two hours to write something that made sense. My tired brain produced a few random associations of ideas that somehow came together in an interesting way. Something clicked, and I suddenly gained clarity on the project and its intentions. 

I continually find myself coming back to the work of John Baldessari for guidance on how to maintain this movement, as I've always appreciated the clever elegance of his work. I was happy to find an awesome short about JB by Supermarche, commissioned by LACMA for their first annual "Art + Film Gala" honoring John Baldessari and Clint Eastwoood.

This was the little slice of guidance that I needed to hear from JB, regarding the creative process: "Not so much structure that it's inhibiting, but not so loose that it could be anything. It's a corral around your idea -- that you can move, but not too much -- and it's that limited movement that promotes creativity."

Thanks, Mr. Baldessari.

Jamie KripkeComment