Motion, Creativity, and Motivation

 Sky Above Clouds IV, George O'Keefe

Sky Above Clouds IV, George O'Keefe

This morning I took a moment to consider my creativity, and what direction I want to take it.

For those who know me well and have followed my movements, know that I have been working hard at my creative expression for the last two years. In 2016 I made a conscious decision to take a break from a seven year career track as a brand designer in technology to honor my creativity. I took that time to develop my artistic style, aesthetic, and expression. 

 Standing in Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Room at The Broad in Los Angeles, 2017.

Standing in Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Room at The Broad in Los Angeles, 2017.

Something I discovered along the way was that motion and freedom is what fuels my creativity. It's why I go running. It's why I'll go across town to do something that I could accomplish more efficiently nearby — I need to be in a state of motion; to bring to life my creative visions. Some of my most compelling work was discovered in a state of motion: the botanical patterns came out of taking long walks through Golden Gate Park.

I've tried different mediums, art scenes, and paths in the arts since I started. I've tried making small scale crafts, and I've tried making large scale art. I love both in their own ways, but find myself more moved to make large-scale work, and I often dream of creating immersive experiences, like Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Room. 

I've tried most of the ways that artists make money with their art, from custom commission work and high end fine art galleries to craft shows, selling work online, and leading workshops. I continue to explore new markets and I'm always challenging my beliefs about how an artist makes income and what my time and art is worth. My experimentation has been intentional, as I've been figuring out my relationship with art and how it fits into my life. Do I even want to make money from it?

A place I thought I belonged was the craft circuit. Perhaps it was because of it's high visibility in the Bay Area at events like West Coast Craft, Good Omen, and the myriad of accessible public markets. I have great respect for the makers I met at these markets, and the beautiful objects they make (I have a growing collection of them: painted blankets, hand thrown ceramics, and beautiful jewelry). This year I gave the craft circuit a try by popping up at The Good Craft and West Coast Craft in San Francisco, channeling my expression into products that were easy to buy for people, like art prints and functional ceramics. It was a valuable experience for me. While my botanical ceramics sold out at West Coast Craft, I found the experience not as life changing as I thought it would be. It was only when I received an invitation shortly after to a group show at Eleanor Harwood Gallery, one of the top notch galleries in San Francisco,  that my heart soared.

What I've found is that I am motivated deeply by making pure art, which is made in a state of total physical, emotional, psychological, and intellectual engagement. In other words, it's a state of being where I feel most alive. It's a state of being that I haven't been able to experience when preparing for a craft show. When I prepare for a craft show, I have to think as a producer of goods. I consider the objects I make from the perspective of a buyer, as objects to be purchased and used. I know many makers who find a deep fulfillment in this kind of exchange and creation, and that's great. I can see how selling a lot of things that you personally make can feel validating. It's not what drives me, though.

Most of what goes on in my mind are creative visions that are meant to be experienced with the body and spirit. Pure art is what I want to make. I want to make art that moves the human heart and spirit in a way that is ineffable. It taps into the spirit, the heart, and our voids.

 Le Domaine d'Arnheim, Rene Magritte

Le Domaine d'Arnheim, Rene Magritte

Recently, the last room of Magritte's retrospective at SFMOMA did what I aspire to achieve with my own work. The room was filled with enormous paintings he made in the 60s and 70s. Large boulders hovering in the sky. Clouds contained in soaring doves that uplifted my spirit. Crescent moons hanging in clear daytime skies. The mystery, subtleness, and ineffable qualities of Magritte's paintings continue to permeate my mind and memory. I will never forget experiencing them. He awoke my spirit, and reminded me of what makes this life worth living: art.

If you're creative, I would love to hear what motivates you, comment below.