I’m always curious to read about other artists’ routines so I wanted to share a couple of things about my creative process. I had to learn to be very organized in order to create art because it’s not always easy to do so alongside running an art gallery. Here are some of the key ideas and rules I follow to make it all work!
This is not a very romantic subject, but I truly hate it when artists say they work only when struck by inspiration. I need my schedule to make it all work, and to prevent painting from becoming a weekend hobby. It takes me 2-3 months to finish one of my sequences, and without a schedule, this could easily turn into a whole year. I’m not in a rush but it did happen before that a piece lingered for too long that I couldn’t make sense of it anymore. There is definitely a pace that makes sense for me, and after I finish my sketches, I create a schedule and a timeframe in which I plan to finish the work.
Collecting things that inspire me is a big part of my creative process. Every time I’m starting a project, I create a mood board with all things relevant to the vibe of my new work. I never question the things that I find inspiring and by all costs avoid the intellectualization of this process. I strongly believe that everything that moves you is legitimate, be it the Higgs boson or some celebrity’s Instagram selfie.
This is not a sketchbook and not a personal journal, but a very strategic notebook which I use to elaborate on my concepts. It does sound ridiculously serious, but it helped me so much with every project. I write in it throughout the process and use simple sentences. I write in a ready-to-publish way while avoiding the free flow and venting. I often struggle with coherence, so it helped a lot with my focus.
I learned that having too many ideas might mean not having a single one worth developing. As a very anxious person, and high functioning at that, sometimes my mind feels like exploding with creativity and there is just too much to handle all at once. Then I have to remind myself that when the idea is that good, I focus on it and forget about everything else. But that is not always clear, so I made it a part of my process to have at least two weeks just for the sketches. In that period, I usually have my sketchbook around at all times and keep it on my nightstand when I sleep.
I do often get stuck and it really happens for many different reasons – sometimes I change my mind, and sometimes I have to put my work on hold for so long that I need to get familiar with it all over again. I use a designer method that pushed me through some hard times. When I dislike a piece that I have already created or it is mid-creation, I grab a pen and paper and write down all of its characteristics. All the simple, descriptive things like – is it feminine or masculine, light or dark, texture or flat etc. Then next to every word I write the exact opposite. Going through this simple list helps me to spot what’s wrong, and which characteristics make me dislike the piece. Of course, it doesn’t work all the time, but it’s still very useful.
As you can see, editing is a big part of my process. Don’t get me wrong – some of my favorite works happened by accident or by having fun and experimenting. But clarity of the narrative and minimalism are some things that I enjoy the most and what my work is all about. I also don’t like to romanticize what it’s like to create art, and always rather focus on the discipline and hard work, because to me – everything else is just pure luck.