The last question I always ask my participants is “whose creative process do you want to know about?” I’m so grateful to Jenna Park for introducing me to work of Lisa Solomon. Her work is beautiful and intriguing – there is a poetry to it. Her creative process is full of wonderful advice and inspiration and truth. Her thoughts really speak to me, as I’ve been interested in the results of collaboration lately as well. I’m excited to learn how to make a French knot and have it included in Lisa’s project. You can do it too…read on…
Lisa's Creative Process :
“THE CREATIVE PROCESS” (deep breath). I find it’s something that is obviously so crucial and yet also elusive and hard to define. In some ways, to me, it’s like describing how you eat, breathe, talk – it’s both universal and highly personal. Truthfully it’s also sometimes pretty pedestrian and mundane. It’s not always about an epiphany or ah-ha moment. It can be just about discipline and putting your head down and getting the work done – any work done. I think, actually, that’s a big part of my process. Making sure I simply keep it going. Things that are in motion really do stay in motion, so I tend to not stop. I also dream up crazy daily projects or prompts for myself to make sure that at lease once during any given day I’m thinking about and approaching something aesthetically.
I’ve come to realize that my process is in some ways very methodical. I almost feel like my studio is like a laboratory – I try to manufacture a space in which the artist process can then organically happen. Part of that is also allowing room for happy accidents and seeing my artwork is an “experiment”. Sometimes I set myself up with all these parameters – work must be square, I can only use 2 colors, each mark must equal a unit of measure… the parameters in some ways are actually freeing – they force me to problem solve, and in that gray area of following rules while also trying to break them (because what artist isn’t rebellious?) the good stuff (dare I say magical stuff?) happens.
A huge part of my process is research. I tend to pick a thematic course that has a personal resonance (many times this has to do with my heritage/history/family) and then I start consuming everything I can on the topic: WWII, toxins, migration, the significance of the number 1000 in Japanese culture… the research often leads to other pathways and in falling down (and climbing out of) the rabbit hole my work emerges.
I also just try and stay open. This sounds cliché, but for me it’s really important. I’m easily distracted and inspired - I look around at everything all the time. I take photos of things that catch my eye, I look for color combinations in my lunch. I read (fiction, non-fiction, newspapers), I look at other artist’s work as much as I can. I feel like there’s a dance of staying involved and getting out in the world, and guarding my studio time so that I actually make work.
Lately I’ve also become enamored with collaboration. The idea of a collective swarm - multiple small parts that generate a larger and new intense whole. For my last exhibition I put a call out for help – and 45+ people made very small doilies for me, and helped me put up an installation. The help came from all over the world. And the enthusiasm from the participants was incredible. Something really fantastic happened when the piece finally came together. It was more than just mine and it had a very sincere and surprising presence. It was in some ways a leap of faith, and really changed my perspective on what art could mean, and more importantly how it could be made. I’m actually in the process of trying to do another piece or two in this manner so I’m both excited and trepidatious. I don’t know if it will work again, but I’m very hopeful.
If you want to be involved in Lisa's next collaborative project, click here
As usual, I asked Lisa whose creative process she is curious about : If she were alive, I’d love to know more about Hannalore Baron’s creative process. I find her/her work infinitely fascinating and she was pretty reclusive. Her son recently set up a website for her work. I’d also like to know more about Martha McQuade’s process. She is someone I greatly admire. Her aesthetic and the way she talks about her work/intensions is so inspiring. I’d love to learn a bit more.