Using your own original ideas.
Artquest 3 – an idea a day: write down at least 1 idea in your notebook everyday for ten days.
Our previous two Artquest suggestions have been jumping right in to the art making process. Todays suggestion takes a step back to the heart of the Making Art website philosophy: hearing or acknowledging your own ideas. I can’t claim to know that everybody has creative ideas, but I am pretty sure that anyone who wants to be creative has ideas. Writing a book or poetry, writing music, making a film and making art all start with the core of an idea.
In the Making Art website section: Ideas, I talk about letting yourself hear your own ideas. This is something you have to become attuned to. Little creative thoughts pop into our minds all the time but normally we just let them go. In this Artquest, we aren’t going to make anything, our job will be let yourself acknowledge an idea and jot it down in a notebook everyday. Of course you can jot down more than one.
Like I have said before ideas don’t usually swoop down on you like a pterodactyl from the sky, a huge screaming thing saying listen to me, They are mostly just a little whisper, or a little oddity you notice. I think of these as the trigger thoughts:
So you’re thinking ‘So what? Who cares about the colour of that mango?’ Well no one except you. The point is, you think this about the colour, then let yourself have a little moment with it. Is it the colour in combination with the other colours around it? Is it, the way the light is hitting it? Just let yourself have a few minutes, with the idea rolling around in your head. You don’t have to know what you would do with the idea.
Once you have let yourself have that thought, it might continue to grow in your brain, for example.
It’s at this point that you jot down your ideas in your notebook. You could write down, ‘amazing mango colour’, but its a little vague. I think if you wrote down every tiny trigger, it would get a bit overwhelming and your notebook might be more confusing than inspiring. But it doesn’t have to be a big amazing idea: just a bit of one.
I also write down ideas in my notebook to get them OUT OF MY HEAD. Otherwise they jostle around in there together not letting me get any other work done. The last thing I need when I am making a really fussy pants sculpture is other ideas distracting me luring me away from the bit I am supposed to be doing now. This happens to me especially when I am working on something that has got a little tedious but that I do really want to finish.
Ingredients for this Artquest are very simple.
The aim of this Artquest is to let yourself notice that tiny trigger thought. Let it roll around in your mind for a few moments and jot that idea down. Don’t worry if it’s only a tiny thought. Jot it down. Use enough detail that you wont forget what you were thinking of. If a quick doodle or sketch of the idea will help do that too. It doesn’t have to be a good drawing. It’s not there to impress anyone else. Your notebook is not something you ever have to show. Apart from all you people in blog land, I have shown my own notebooks to only my art-making BFFs and my husband. But you don’t have to show yours to anyone.
To help you along and to show you how basic those ideas might be I will share my most recent ideas.
Above: perspex box and the note I jotted down.
Trigger: My little kid buys toys for herself with her pocket-money and they come in these nice little perspex boxes.
Idea: To build a little scene out of paper or Fimo to sit inside the box. There are 3 of these boxes and generally work in a series so I would do 3 different but related works. But I don’t have an idea for the scene itself [yet].
Above: wax bones and wax jaw.
Trigger: A while ago found a jaw bone in the dirt [from maybe a cat?] and decided to cast it in wax as part of another idea. I liked the result, so I cast some little bones I had collected too. After I photographed them for the website I realized how nice the wax looked against the pale background.
Idea: Take large scale photographs of the wax bones and jaw against pretty pale pastel color backgrounds.
Trigger: The other night I watched a show about the lunar landings. There was one beautiful piece of film show the guys driving along on the moon in a moon buggy. I found the colours very beautiful, only inky black sky, white space suits, the putty colour in various shades of the moon, and there was one bright gold yellow which was a metallic reflector like foil.
Idea: Do a painting using only those colours.
Above: you can see from my note that I also wrote, ‘or other picture’… Unfortunately even though this was very recent I don’t remember what other picture I was referring to. So use enough detail to act as a decent reminder.
Trigger: I saw a random paving pattern.
Idea: To make a very thin porcelain panel lit from behind.
Above: the note my little one wrote.
Trigger: I found this note my 7 year old wrote. It seems very deep and meaningful, but I am pretty sure she was writing something down from a video game she was playing. But the last entry, mth…. I have no idea what this means. She is not old enough to be using shortenings of words and when I initially saw it I thought mouth? In any case its a great list of words.
Idea: It’s a very nebulous idea this one. Something about the elements of life and death. Mountains and journeys. Not sure yet.
Trigger: I saw a show about vision, and they said that peripheral vision is better at night.
Idea: Some kid of creepy artwork about seeing things out the corner of your eye at night. The idea that you can only see things sneaking up on you at night.
Above: the drawing of the idea.
Trigger: I had a crazy dream with a full on image of a house that for some reason I knew was in Indonesia. The front verandah was piled high with suitcases and the house was being lashed by rain.
Idea: I have all sorts of ideas for this one, it’s something to do with immigration and colonialism. People arriving and displaced people. Not sure yet if it wants to be a sculpture, or a 2d image.
As you can see from my examples some of the ideas have all sorts of deeper meanings and possibilities going on and others are mere suggestions. That’s ok. I will let them brew. Now some of these [or even most] will not get made. That’s ok too. The idea is I always have ideas on the cooker, a few up my sleeve for when I want to make something but I feel a bit blank. Don’t worry about how complete or not your ideas are at this point.
At the end of this Artquest you will have at least ten ideas that you can begin to work through. If you are not sure how to sift through and expand upon your ideas please go to Making Art website, Choosing and Expanding section.