I once attended a talk given by a gallery owner for the benefit of young or undiscovered painters who were looking for some insight into how galleries and artists become aware of each other, and how they forge relationships. One of the most striking warnings he gave was against creative or artistic schizophrenia (i.e. the delving into multiple media or multiple styles in your work.) Barring an ability to refrain from this crime of split personality, he suggested a more formal separation of the many faces of eve in the form of multiple representation by multiple galleries who each would own a particular personality.
I was immediately claustrophobic. From a business standpoint I understood his perspective. A gallery wants to know what to expect from their artists. They want some predictability when investing in one’s work, and some security in staking their reputation on that artist’s output. Likewise, galleries want to be able to provide buyers a consistent body of work over the long haul.
I get it. But hell if I can get comfortable with it.
I am highly, creatively schizophrenic. I started out a painter. I’m now a photographer. But I love, and have an interest in, illustration, fabric / textile / fiber, paper, printing, collage, book making, and even some three dimensional media such as instillation and sculpture. These passions weave in and out of my gray matter with little predictability. I can be obsessed with photography for years, then slowly feel that fire cooling while I find I’m driven to distraction over fabric or paper.
Currently, and for a while now, I’m experiencing a dry spell when it comes to photography. I’ve taken less than half the number of photographs that I did by this time last year, and even fewer compared with 2008. I’m out of ideas for now.
But, lately I can think of little else than working with fabric. I have a ton of it. I bought it over the years, convinced I’d be a quilter like my mom and my mother-in-law. (As it turned out it wasn’t instantly gratifying enough for me at the time.) Most of the fabric I have is outdated per my taste, so I’ve been looking for ways to use it in large pieces and quantities, to make something useful and as a way to practice. This weekend I ordered myself a sewing machine (a task put off for almost two years by the great layoff). I’m so excited to get to finally play around with fabric again that I’ve been drenching myself in patchwork images, blogs, and talk.
I’ve become so desperate, in fact, that I began to toy with the idea of photo collage arranged in such a way as to emulate a quilt. The above photo is the first stab at it. I rather like my first block. I’m hoping to do more.
As for warnings about being certifiably, creatively indecisive… I’ve decided to treat them as I do almost every other “rule” about making art… Them rules are meant to be broken.
following this post will be some mini posts via flickr of some quilts that have me positively drooling. it seems almost wrong that such inspiration is free.