Saturday, 21 May 2016

There is no wrong way of being me. . .

Well, I’ve been playing a lot with Shannon Tabor’s faux Raku crackle tutorial in the last day or six. I’m really enjoying what it can add to my ancient effect techniques on my beads. I still have a way to go to work out how best to use it and what to overlay or underlay it with and stuff like that, but it’s definitely part of my toolset now .

Pics further down this post. . . But first, a digression.

As a habitual over thinker, I do, from time to time, find myself musing about this whole making and sharing business. It’s all very interesting, to me anyway, and throws up some fairly deep questions about motives and motivation. Like it or not I’m going to share some of my thoughts with you. Hah!

I make things because I enjoy the process and the results. I enjoy the learning, the exploring and the challenges to my existing skill set and mind set. But why do I want to share these results? What’s that all about?
I’m sure that all artists want others to see and respond to their work, but the received wisdom, when an artist asks whether they should please themselves or their audience (presumed or real) is that they should please themselves and not worry what others think. There is an inherent contradiction there. If an artist truly doesn’t care what others think, then they wouldn’t need or desire to share their work? hmmm.
But the artists’ perhaps insecure ego usually does require some form of feedback from others to validate what they spend their time doing. I know that I would most likely stop making stuff If I had no way of making it visible to others. I want people to like what I make, and to express that. Most artists do, I think.
Now, from a Northern European Protestant perspective, which is loosely where my cultural values seem to have originated, for better or worse, wanting praise from others is deeply wrong. It smacks of egotistical behaviour, drawing attention to yourself, inflated self worth and other sinful concepts ;-)
“Who do you think you are?” “What’s special about you?” etc. Self love as something that by definition excludes everyone else, as obviously, there is not enough love to go round so if you waste it on yourself, you are depriving somebody else. yeah right.
I am enthusiastic about what i make, and want to share that enthusiasm. It comes from a position of thinking “Look, isn’t this great?” as opposed to “Look what I made, aren’t I incredibly clever and talented?”
It’s more as if I found something wonderful and want to share how lucky I’ve been to have found it. Not to negate my part in the process, but not to make it the central point either. Making is about finding things, discovering techniques, processes, forms and colour combinations that produce results that please you and often pleasantly surprise you. All filtered through your particular sensibilty, making them your creation.

The way I create, the way I feel about what I create, and the way I feel about sharing my work is all a reflection of who I am. Ideally I feel I should be 'authentic' to that concept and share what I like as often as I like, but it would hard not feel a sense of guilt if I took that approach. Dismantling this feeling of guilt is an important ongoing task in my creative life, and to help me, I came up with the slogan, "There is no wrong way of being me!" Order your T-shirt today. . . ;-)

This fear of being thought of as self indulgent is something that makes blogging quite challenging, because central to having a blog is that question, “Who do you think you are?” “Why would anyone care what you think about anything?” I try to relax and take the view that as I’m not forcing anything on anyone, if anyone finds the blog they can decide to read it or not. I guess that way I can appease my cultural guilt, and, as with my work, just put my thoughts out there for others to make of what they will.
Jon x

Oh yeah, more crackle pics -

Friday, 13 May 2016

Convoluted Explanations. . . .

Well, it's the 13th May. Ooh, Friday the 13th ;-) not that that has ever bothered me particularly. Anyway, despite my silence on this platform I have still been following my fascinations, albeit alongside interruptions from our house selling and buying ongoing process. Just to give you some context, we are moving further out into the country, we are in the throes os selling our house and buying another, solicitors, surveys etc. It all takes time and makes you feel totally powerless, which is not good, so I am glad I have things I can achieve results from in fairly short order.

I decided to try using some of my more faux organic digital images to transfer onto poly clay, further contorting and exploring the idea of presumed 'reality. I'm playing with the idea that it could be hard to tell what part of the object is the result of a physical process and what part is the result of digital manipulation that echoes the results of a physical process. 

The images I make use the mathematics that impersonates or echoes naturally occurring forms and distribution of forms. The dread word 'Fractal' has to used at this point. I don't mean the swirly, exactly similar but decreasing in size, rainbow coloured things that you used to see everywhere years ago, I mean what are known as 'Random Fractals'. These have the same self similarity and iterations of scale as the swirly ones, ('Deterministic fractals' I have been told is the name of those Mandlebrot Set type ones) but they repeat in a random way, so you get a similar shape or form repeating at various sizes in randomly determined places, making a pattern that repeats, but not exactly, and not in a strict geometric layout. Kind of faux 'natural'.

The image transfer process and further deliberate 'ageing' be me, brings my own physical impersonation of natural processes, such as decay and random attrition, into the equation. 

So I am making a digital image that looks like some unspecified natural form, digitally manipulating it to make it look decayed or degraded in some way, bringing it into the physical by printing and transferring it onto poly clay, then physically manipulating the surface to make it look decayed and degraded, which is itself a random fractal process. . . .

And they look cool, which is the main point ;-) Though why 'faux ancient' is considered desirable is not something I have yet fully worked out. . (I consider it desirable but haven't delved into that one yet)

My texture sheets are made in the same way, using the same kind of images made into texture stamps/sheets.

It's all fascinating stuff, arguably. I really enjoy messing about at both ends of the process - on my computer and on my work table. there is no shortage of stuff to explore.
Below is some more recent stuff you may have seen on FB or in my Etsy shop, but it's always worth a second look of course ;-)
J x