Liminibus : See the materials. Either raw or discarded but always as commonplace as possible.
Materials : either raw or discarded, but always as commonplace as possible.
Burnt stick. Sticky stick. I have always preferred simple raw materials - charcoal, drying oils, heady turps and the colours made from dried mud and clay. I also love working with things that are about to disappear off the other end of the manufacturing cycle. Things that were once proud products but are now about to be dumped. Landfill. The perfect art supply warehouse for our times.
This is third in a series of four blogposts about my key motivators : Audience, Process, Materials and Marks. This one about materials, probably the last but one thing for you to pay any attention to.
Perversely, Materials are the second most important to me, after Marks, when I'm actually making the stuff.
For two reasons mainly - firstly because my freelance work has to pay for my own projects so I can't afford expensive materials and kit. Secondly and more importantly the difficulty of working with intractably unrefined materials like burnt sticks, mud and junk is surprisingly liberating.
Doing something difficult or unheard of frees an artist to make that crucial minimum 85% of mistakes, cock ups and disasters. Any creative maker that claims a success rate of over 15% for their own output is actually a product designer. There's absolutely nothing wrong with product designers but making art is something entirely different. I see our job as giving people things they haven't seen before, engaging them in ways that surprise them or move their viewpoint unexpectedly into another space. That's hard, complex work that requires extensive lead times and large numbers of failed prototypes. An Alaskan artist called Bill Brody I worked with in Orkney said something spot on about the idea of making 'cool' art.
"It takes 5+ years from idea to body of work ... there is no way an artist can predict what will be cool with enough preparation time to actually do cool work."
Making good work requires an artist to be publicly vulnerable. I like to work with materials that people could easily find or might even have just thrown away. That's unthinkable for a 'brand'. The magic isn't in the materials it's in the process which is difficult and uncertain. If making this stuff was easy, then we'd all be rich and famous wouldn't we ?