What I’m making in Lockdown

Kia ora, welcome, I hope you are all well.

I just want to share with you what I’ve been creating over the last few weeks. It is not something I have done before, so it is a good challenge while we are in lock down in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland. I have made short films before, experimental films, short documentaries, but I’ve never made a poetry film.

Poetry films have become quite popular, especially on YouTube and there are also film festivals world wide that only screen this genre. The Zebra Poetry Film Festival is one that comes to mind. Go and check out some of the films they have on their site – they are amazing!!

I love how language and visuals have to circle around each other, and there are so many interpretations and areas you could go down. Interpreting poetry has endless possibilities. I have documented my process in making my poetry film on my YouTube Channel, (which I have only just started this year).

Hopefully I will have it finished over the next couple of weeks. It was a struggle to come up with visuals to connect with the poem at first, but I’m now moving steadily forward.

I’ve been mainly looking at the natural landscape around me and colour, especially using colour in paints. Still got a bit of testing and work to go, however I’m loving the process. It’s good to be actively creating in a number of mediums at the moment. Trying to keep my creative muscle flexible and resilient, especially in the times we are living.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” 

Maya Angelou

Love this quote, I think I sometimes fall into this idea that if I put my creative energy into a project I wont have any worthwhile ideas for another project, but of course that is not the case. The more I make, the more creative energy I have.

I will link to the final film when it is up on YouTube, but just wanted to let you know what I’ve been creating lately.

Let me know how your own creativity is going…. or not going. Catch you next time

Juby xx

2021 Art in Process: Having Faith

What is it to have faith? Faith is about believing in something you can’t prove. I can’t prove that when I start a creative project I’m going to see it through, that I’m going to create something I’m proud of, or that I’m going to have success.

When a writer starts a novel, when a musician starts a song, when a sculptor starts a new project there is no way of knowing what the results will be. But they start anyway.

Yep. It’s frightening even terrifying at times and without faith in the process creatives may not make a start at all.

When I started to prepare for my upcoming residency at RM Gallery I only had a vague idea of a starting point – no idea how the process would go let alone the outcome. And it is nerve racking, part of me is constantly criticising the process and sabotaging my faith in my ability. And, that’s absolutely normal.

Creativity isn’t always easy, and it’s not always fun. I love being a creative but sometimes it’s just bloody hard work, and most of that is inner-work for me, combatting fears and overcoming my own insecurities. But, with all that I have faith in the process.

Faith isn’t completely blind. This is where we need to remember the things we have done before. Even though they may not be the same, the process may differ, the creative project may be completely different, we have accomplished things before. We’ve done stuff!! When in doubt try to take your mind back and remember that thing you did… at the time you also didn’t think you could do it, or didn’t know how your were going to do it – but you did it! You did that thing! Whatever it was, you did it! So faith in the process is not completely blind.

Below is a recent Vlog I did, where I comment on my process and admit that I don’t know exactly where this project is taking me – but that’s OK, as I believe in the process.

Remember to keep going. Have faith. You can do it.

Catch you next time xx

2021 Art in Process: The Pinecone

Out of all the natural objects I’ve collected, I didn’t think the pinecone was going to be the pivot-point for this research. In last week’s blog I put up a photo and a drawing of a pinecone, and the two main ideas that come from brainstorming around this shape was ‘vacancy’ and ‘layers’. Then I decided to reduce the pinecone into an abstract drawing, then into a more diagrammatical image. I just allowed myself to mull on these images, without rushing.

This is hard to do. Just being and thinking is hard to do.

In this mode of ‘mulling’ I come up with an approach to narrative that I don’t think I would have thought of without this reflective process. Which gives me some confidence in the work. It is difficult to push ahead, especially without knowledge of where the project is heading. I guess this comes from judging what I have done before and projecting that into the future. What I mean is that if I haven’t done something before, I can’t judge it on my past work. So the lack of knowledge or lack of known pathways can cause discomfort. But I have to push through.

So, the pinecone. Who knew?

I thought the research would be based around the spiral in the shell, or the speckles in a river stone. I wasn’t going to even use a pinecone, it was a random decision on my part. And, I wonder if because the shell and the stone already have connotations of narrative to me in their make-up they are in a way loaded in the research. But this pinecone I’d never intended to use, so my thoughts were a lot more free to roam and question how this object could inspire narrative or narrative structure.

Original sketch of the pinecone
First adaptation of the shape
Diagrammatic render with brainstorm

The words I initially used to describe the sketch of the pinecone, ‘vacancy’ and ‘layers’ have not been developed. Rather the idea of an ‘event’ presented itself. How to develop that further, will be the work of this coming week. But I’m quietly confident I can work with this idea. It certainly has potential for narrative or non-narrative exploration depending on how I develop it further.

The ‘event’ could seem very similar to the ’cause and effect’ approach of conventional narrative filmmaking, however, I believe the concept of the ‘event’ can strike a deeper philosophical meaning.

So, where to from here?

First I will analyse the term ‘event’ starting with the etymology and then look at any writers or artists that have used or been inspired by the term.

I’ll leave it there for this week. Catch you next time xx.

Oh… before I forget – I wanted to say I’ve posted my very first Vlog. So if you want to see me chatting about this research click here.

Process: A mixture of creativity and chaos – Part 1

This week is something quite different. I’m going to discuss a creative project that I’m working on at the moment. I’ve been planning to share my process on the blog, but kept putting it off – however, I think this is the ideal moment.

One of the projects I’m working on is titled, ‘At the Horizon’ (ATH). It’s an installation for a gallery in Auckland. However, with the lock-down due to covid-19, I’m not sure if it will be going ahead or not. However, I’m keeping-on. For one thing, I need some creative outlets to work on during this time, and also, I’ve got a momentum going for the work, so I need to carry that energy through.

The work is about my mother, myself and my daughter.

My ideas initially formed on this topic in 2016, and I filmed my mother sharing some of her childhood memories. At that stage I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the footage, and if perhaps it was only for the family. But I kept coming back to the interview and re-watching it, thinking about my mum and how her memories had somehow become my own, not as if I had experienced them, but rather I had experienced her re-telling – it was part of my childhood. I have my own imaginary place and characters, for her stories.

This idea began to develop into a question around, how I experience others experiences of life, especially my mother, and then later on my daughter.

Nothing I tried to create at the beginning of the process was coherent, I tried a number of times to edit the footage into something, but it just wasn’t working. Then in 2018 I had a chance to travel with my daughter to China and during that time I took a lot of photos and footage.

What has happened since that time travelling is a collecting process, new footage, old footage of my mother when she was young, footage of my daughter as a child, footage of my daughter now, all intertwined with a constant unpacking of what it is to have these relationships.

I slowly formed the project towards nine short films, of different lengths, that work separately on their own, but also collectively strengthen each other, as an interconnection. Much like the relationship I have with my mother and daughter.

The work is a collage, that will work interactively on the internet. This work is still completely in process, not one of the nine films are completed, at the moment they are all in production, (at different stages). I have been lucky enough to have Claire Duncan working as sound designer, and I have also roped my partner, Grant, into doing the coding for the interaction and web-site, which the work will be housed in.

I just want to say that creatively, this process has been very messy, there has been a lot of up and downs, a lot of dead ends. And that is OK. When I thought I was onto something, it often turned on its head and I had to start the process again. Creating 9 short films that interrelate yet hold a distinct quality… is harder than I thought.

But now I’m at the end stages, most filming is complete, most image collection and montage work is done and I can start to see the creativity through the process.

Whatever you are doing, striving for, trying to create – trust yourself. Trust the process. Trust the chaos, the messy bits. It’s OK. You are exactly where you are meant to be.

I’m going to bring you more about this work later in the year, maybe even a few clips to entice you into watching the finished piece…(when it’s done). Haha.

Catch you next week xx.