2021 Breathe: Art in Process Week 4

Today I spent some time thinking about a ‘shell’. Yep a small sea-shell and how it could inspire me.

It is a process.

To understand what I’m on about you will probably need to glance over week 1 – 3, however, I’m working towards a body of art-work and interactive media for an exhibition later this year. The project is based around being influenced by elements of nature to create structures of narrative.

Surprisingly it did – inspire me, the shell. I first drew it and then just listed elements I could see and feel. Things like: lines of spots, 3 rings, textured, neutral colours… and so forth. It took a bit of contemplation and for a while I was thinking, ‘what the heck am I doing?’ – how is this shell going to inspire the structure of a interactive media installation??

This is the shell, which I used in last weeks blog.

I think one thing to remember is to that the process will happen, you just gotta have a little creative faith.

Once I had listed the elements of the shell, I decided to choose 3 elements that could structurally work for story telling. I chose:

  • Shape has function
  • 3 circles
  • Live edge

Once I had chosen this list I wrote what they could mean for story structure. (They could mean anything – this is just what I came up with).

  • Shape has function: The way the story works has function for the content
  • 3 circles: 3 parts, or 3 points of view
  • Live edge: Nothing static, plot points have a living quality, some paths could go nowhere, or characters fall away (like life)

Then I started crafted the very first stages of a story together. It came a lot quicker at this point than I imagined, but by now I was really open, allowing the process to just unfold without my critical mind getting in the way.

I broke the story up into 3 parts, a diary entry, a text, and the description of the world. Once I had those parts, I just wrote, which you can see on the left – yes, I tend to work backwards…

Absolute draft stages, and I don’t think I will carry on with this story – it was just my first attempt to see if nature could inspire structure. And obviously it can. Still a lot to work through – but that is what process is all about.

This attempt only took 1 – 2 hours, I had to walk away a few times just to let me mind think of something else, then I would come back and contemplate a bit more. It’s how I work. I will try again through this week with another item. Drawing the object first was a good start, it just allowed me to be with the shell for a while, also choosing 3 of the descriptions worked well, it gave boundaries for creating structure. So I will do both those things next time, and try a few others as well.

Catch you next week xx

2021 Breathe: Art in Process: Week 3

This week is a little explanation of what the heck I’m trying to do. My partner and I were going for a walk and I was telling him what the project was about – so I thought I would share some of that here:

Often VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and interactivity within storytelling heroes the technology rather than the technology being in the background. This can easily turn into a ‘technological’ experience rather than the forgetfulness of technology – like going to the movies and not thinking about the projector.

So how to switch this around?

In this project I intend to be inspired by nature, as in the forms, structures of how nature works as a starting point to create Vr, AR or interactivity. My hope is to create a more natural placement of the technology within the story development. (I do need to add here that I’m not intending to create VR my concentration will be around interactivity with a small AR element. But the intention is for the technology of all of these to always be in the background).

For example, a person maybe seated at a gallery engaged in a installation, and within the experience the story asks the person to use something, like headphones for part of it, or glasses for part of it, or choices on the screen and it seems very natural, it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, so the parts of technology being used are not focused on – rather inherently part of the experience.

I mean gaming is very good at this. When I’m gaming (and this is very rare), I don’t often think about the controller – unless I don’t know the game well.

So, my first mission is to grapple with how nature gives or provides structures and frameworks and how to incorporate that within a narrative piece. As I stated in the week 1 of this project I want to start with the patterns and oddities in nature and then move onto systems, as in weather patterns as such. But first off, patterns in leaves, shells and stones.

The first part for me is to collect objects and think about the forms nature has given them. There is no wrong or right way of looking at an object for this. For example the first image of the stone I’m interested in the random elements of it, but with the shells I’m interested in the patterns. What I’m not going to do is analyse why they are formed in the way they are formed – not at this point anyway. Rather, I’m just letting myself be inspired and then see what happens.

I really have NO IDEA where I’m going with this – but I have some sort of faith that I will find a way at connecting nature with interactive and AR technology….

That is the hope.

So, my challenge for this week is to be inspired from these objects with no intended outcome at this stage – just to be inspired and of course to remember to breathe.

Catch you next week xx

2021 Breathe: Week Two

How to set up a art based project?

There is no one way, there are as many ways as there are projects. So, this is not a set of rules or a check list, just the way I’m going to do it for this specific project.

My project consists of research before beginning the creative part, and the project also needs managed. So first I’m going to think about the research; how I collect it and collate research that relates to me, how I make notes and observations of my work. Then there are the outcomes, the creative part, what it is that I’m going to create – what I want the final output to be, and, lastly how do I manage the project, including time, budget…yep all the fun stuff.

1. research and observations. 2. creative work and outcomes. 3. management.

For this research I will keep topics, research collected and thoughts in a spreadsheet… For observations I will keep a journal and use OneNote.

Creative outcomes I am aiming to achieve: Feature Film Script, Interactive Video Art and exhibition, Workshop for public. I will be using Final Draft (scriptwriting software), Adobe and AVID, plus recording devices – but not sure what yet. For the workshop I will be teaching with DSLR cameras, and using Adobe.

Management systems I will be using is Trello.

You probably know about most of the software I’ve mentioned but I’ve linked them anyway, just in case. Also, these are just tools I use and there are many more that do the same task. But it is good to acknowledge what you will be using and try to stick to these, which helps with the consistency of the work. That doesn’t mean you can’t change mid-way through, it’s just helps me to set-up the project in this way.

Seems like a odd image to choose, but setting up a project is like setting up anything even setting a table. The choice over what you use will have some impact on the research and outcome, so think carefully about the systems, ways and even software, or tools. There can always be a time to explore some different tools to see what will suit the project best, but it is a good idea to come to a final decision and stick with that.

Catch you next week xx.

2021 Breathe – Art in Process: Week One

Last year I had to stop blogging. I was getting in my own way and things became unfocused; No one wants to go over 2020 again – so, breathe.

Here we go. It’s time to make new commitments with new intentions. Yay!

This year the blog will primarily focus on the process of new art work. I’ve been accepted into an art-gallery residency in June-July 2021, so, firstly I will blog my process of working and researching towards this residency, then blog the residency experience and finally I will focus on the after-process, findings of the research, and art outcomes (work, exhibitions and screenings).

I have a working title, ‘The Narrative Structuring of Nature: Te Hangahanga korero mo te Taiao’. The focus of the project is to look at creating narrative structures through patterns in nature.

I’m at the first stages of this research, so other than the idea and my first inspiration, I have nothing to show. Which is great! I have to start somewhere, and this year’s blog will hopefully document this entire process.

In my proposal for the residency I suggested that the project would look past the ’cause and effect’, ‘3-act structure’ or ‘hero’s journey’ pathways, which are very commonly adapted for moving-image storytelling, and towards unique narrative structures inspired by patterns in nature. Usually, for research purposes, I would start from, and discuss, why particular frameworks are common, successful, or “tried and true”, and then branch out from there. But I’m not going to do that.

I’m just going to dig straight into the work. Enough has already been said and is being said about these common structures in storytelling – you don’t need more on this from me.

There are a few things I want to do to set up the project, and that is to find several applications or programmes that will fit with the research. These could be anything from excel to photoshop – I want to decide on specific tools for a variety of functions and stick to those for the coming year. There are a number I have used before – but I’d also like to challenge myself and try different things out. I’m also going to write an overview of the outcomes, as there are several, and create a calendar, tasks and milestones for each to keep me on track, as each outcome is large. These planning aspects will make up the next couple of posts, so you can see my set up from the get-go. I hope this helps if you are also embarking on research or a project you need to keep track of and stay motivated with.

Me at RM Gallery, setting up for the ‘At The Horizon’ exhibition.

Must admit, I’m pretty excited for the project and happy to be using this blog as a platform to express my process. I’m going to leave the post here – just an introduction to the year ahead. Love this quote from Carla Melucci Ardito:

Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself.

Catch you next week xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week 6

Check in: Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

I completed 7 out of 7 morning pages. However on one morning I wrote 2 pages… My creative writing, or thoughts about projects usually start to arise about 1.5 pages in each morning – before that it is all minor fears and gripes, fretting over all the nothings in life. I get that out of the way and then creativity starts to intrude. (Which is lovely)

I did my artist’s date this week. I took myself out to a second-hand book shop, that also sells amazing coffee, and sat and read. I ended up purchasing an art book on the life and work of painter Henri Matisse. Beautiful book and reading through it taught me a lot about process and dedication. It felt good to finally put some time into myself.

Again, I haven’t experienced synchronicity, but I’m not out and about doing things or having social interaction. It’s ‘lock-down’ and being in the world is a very different experience right now. I’m OK with this as my creative output has increased and I’m loving where these new ideas are going.

Reflection

Week 6 is difficult. Not gonna lie. This entire journey through ‘The Artist’s Way’ has been very up and down for me, but this week those peaks and valleys have hit a new level. With understanding why I’ve been blocked brings a sense of anger, and resentment at myself for not seeing what was right in front of me – ME.

On the other side – finally synchronicity is beginning to flow and some things are happening – all because of this course (will discuss this in next weeks blog), but very excited for it. I’m starting to find a freshness to my ideas, a curiosity and excitement I just haven’t had for SOOOO long. But with this is fear, seeing that is a good start – I know – but I also know there is some hard work to do.

Spent an evening listening to old vinyl and playing with plasticine

Catch you next week xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week 4 & 5

I didn’t write last week – life kind of took over and I just didn’t get to it. However, I’m now well into this course of Julia Cameron’s, so will give you the latest update.

Check in: Week 3: Recovering a sense of Power

  • I wrote 7 out of 7 morning pages. However, 2 morning I only wrote 2 pages as I was sick. The morning pages have become integral to my morning. They have become meaningful and creative. I am so grateful for starting this course and finding how incredible morning pages are.
  • Being unwell affected my week. I had planed out the artist’s date for Saturday, however woke up in excruciating pain and ending up in bed for the day.
  • I did not experience synchronicity this week but I am seeing myself and how my past has influenced how I engage with people and how I engage with creativity. A couple of things happened this week to open my eyes to this – so I guess a type of synchronicity.
  • What I have mainly learned from this week is to get out of bad habits and replace them with ones that serve me and my creativity.

Check in: Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

  • I wrote 7 out of 7 pages. Some of the mornings toward the end of the week became difficult – starting to feel a little scratchy.
  • I did not do my artist’s date. So haven’t been great at this exercise. Not sure why I’m finding this so challenging but will endeavour to do better.
  • Not feeling synchronicity – except in my creative writing.
  • Overall, I’m being a lot more creative. I didn’t realise how blocked I have become. The non-reading challenge has been so, so, tough and I have realised just how much time I waste on stupid stuff that is filling my brain with clutter. It’s like a dumping ground – no wonder I can’t create.

Reflection

The last couple of weeks have been very up and down. I’m absolutely creating more, but also feel at odds with myself a lot. I think it’s because I’m learning much more about how I operate, and how I create. I’ve put a lot of obstacles in my way and it has been tough to see some of them. But other times, I’m having more fun, I seem a bit lighter with myself, maybe more curious. So all in all, it is very challenging but very worth it.

Catch you next time xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week Three

Check in: Week Two: Recovering a Sense of Identity

  • I completed 7 out of 7 morning pages. On most mornings the writing naturally flowed and on several of those mornings it progressed into creative writing, which has given me hope to continue with this. However, I did not complete the artist’s date this week. I think going back into lock-down because of COVID–19, (second time round for Auckland, New Zealand), pushed me into a type of lethargy and I just couldn’t commit to anything. Which is silly, as there are plenty of things I can do and enjoy and be frivolous with, so the challenge this week is the ARTIST’S DATE!!!
  • I enjoyed the other activities I worked on, but probably didn’t put in quite as many hours as I did in the first week. However, I feel like I’m understanding what I need to create in a more sustainable way.

Reflection

This week has been interesting, I’m enjoying exercises more this week. They seem to focus on childhood and reflecting on childhood memories, especially to do with play and creativity. So this has inspired my Artist’s Date, I’m going to be a bit more youthful in my approach. I tend to get too serious too quickly about process and activities and forget about having fun. I’m not sure why. But realising this is a good step to get a bit more lighter with my creativity.

The other thing I have been doing everyday this week is a very quick portrait sketch of myself. Not in a literal sense, but rather trying to express how I’m feeling through the sketching process. Below are a couple of samples.

Also, I fell in love with this quote, and it’s been a bit of a mantra for me this week.

Anger is the firestorm that signals the death of our old life. Anger is the fuel that propels us into our new one. Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon. Used properly anger is use-full.

Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend. Not a gentle friend. But a very, very loyal friend.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way p. 62

That’s it for this week. I hope you are all doing well. Catch you next time xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week Two

I’ll start each week in this series by checking in with the past week.

Week One: Recovering a Sense of Safety

  • I did 7 out of 7 morning pages. At first I found it difficult, but then suddenly creativity started to flow, for the first time in a long time. I didn’t feel as blocked as I have been feeling and I even started to think about filmmaking again as a possibility.
  • I completed my first ‘artist’s date’, which was watching a film at home due to COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland. I watched John Cassavettes, Faces (1968). Remarkable film, I have already watched this film several times but just felt like I needed to see this again. It reminded me about the use of ‘space’ in film, how to use it cinematically and also for storytelling purposes.
  • I also did a number of the other exercises, I wouldn’t say I did 1-2 hours a day, but I did my best.

Reflection

The first 3 days were really difficult. I just felt blocked and grudgingly did the exercises, thinking that it’s just another ‘self-help’ book and nothing would come of it. However, by day 4 something happened. I started to think about a character for my next film. I started writing!! I just haven’t done that for so long. And this time, I didn’t think about what the end product would be, I just enjoyed outlining who this person was. Just having that happen has changed my perspective and the rest of the week was nuanced with many little creative opportunities and moments. I’m not going to read too much into it, but it gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going.

Out of all the exercises, the morning pages are becoming more important, and I can imagine they will become a creative life-line for the future. I think it is these pages that are releasing some blocks, as my morning writing goes into all sorts of territory, which I just hadn’t expected – I guess it is allowing me to put my views, and feelings out there and just in doing that release things I’ve been holding onto. In week two there are more exercises to do, I like the ones with the pie-charts – I just like anything visual so got straight into them, however got stuck on the, 20 things I love to do… sounds so simple, but ended up putting in some dumb fillers, so I will attempt that one again.

This blog post by Madeleine Dore reflects her journey over the entire 12 week course. It’s a very perceptive piece on the entire course and reveals the unfolding journey Madeleine goes through. I’m only at the beginning, but it was really interesting moving along the 12 weeks with her in one read.

Hope you are all well. Catch you next week xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week One

After blogging everyday for July, I needed a break and a chance to reflect on what I want out of this blog. The main thing I want to do is engage in conversation about creativity. So, with that in mind, I’m starting the 12 week course using Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I will be discussing my learning adventure over the next 12 weeks into creativity using this book as a tool.

I started on Sunday, so my course weeks will be from Sunday to Sunday, although I will post mid-week. There is an enormous amount of reviews, and accounts on the web about this book, so I will endeavour to link something of value every week, along with my own review and reflections on the exercises. The first link is Julia talking with Russell Brand. This is relevant at the moment as they talk of being in lock-down due to COVID-19. Their discussion moves around, but it does show her thinking through artists issues right now and how to overcome them.

What I have learnt so far? Firstly, the morning pages. If you haven’t heard of these, they are the foundation of the course. This exercise consists of writing 3 pages every morning. There are no rules for these pages, you can put down anything that comes to mind. And, that is exactly what has been happening to me. I’ve only completed 4 mornings, but I just start jotting down anything that comes into my head until I fill up 3 pages. I haven’t done this long enough to reflect as yet. The next exercise is the artist date. Where you take yourself out to fill up your creative reserve, this is a weekly date so by the end of it I should have taken myself out 12 times. Brilliant idea – I just don’t know where I’m going to go, and how I will fit it in – so, we shall see.

That’s it. Just an introduction into what the next 12 weeks will focus on.

Hope you are all well. Catch you next week xx.

31 July Blog

This is my last daily blog. I have missed a few days through the month, but I’m still pretty happy with my accomplishment. So instead of writing 800-1200 words once a week, I wrote just a small amount everyday during July.

It was a challenge, and more difficult than I first thought it would be. But I think challenges, whether they work out or not, are a great way to re-focus or refine what we are trying to do.

Over July I kept thinking – why am I blogging? What am I blogging for? I think because it was everyday it pushed me to hone in on the reason for starting this, and if I should keep going.

I started Kick last year, in October, as I wanted to inspire creativity, and also reflect on my own processes and thoughts when creating. My angle was to inspire the process of creativity over any product or outcome. And I’m still so passionate about this.

However, I think some of my blogs have got a bit off track – so I do need to re-focus and this challenge has taught me to stick to my initial reason for starting this.

So this is it. A little bit everyday for a month. Done.

Catch you next time.