Loungeroom Residency Inspirations

This post was rather delayed. It was meant to go with the previous posts on my Loungeroom Residency, which you can find here, here, here and here.

In this last post on my recent Loungeroom Residency I thought I would share some of the inspirations that I’m drawing on in relation to this work.

I have been to several master classes with Dr Ruth Hadlow, where a big inspiration is the impromptu library created by the participants. Everyone is asked to bring along a few books that they are interested in to create a small reference library that everyone can share for the duration of the masterclass. In this way so many different sources of ideas and images are brought together (although the downside is that I always leave with a massive list of new books to buy).

I love this book of photos of sculptures by Aglaia Konrad, which consists of a series of black and white photos of sculptures in museum collections. The only text is the list of museums where the photos were taken.

Inspired by this approach I decided to go back and take a look at the many books I have that sit unread on my bookshelves. I found several that were relevant and even just took my fancy. It doesn’t matter what gets the creative juices flowing.

A spread of pages from Aglaia Konrad’s book.

A seredipitous reinforcement for this approach came from this post by Rob Walker The Art of Noticing on Crate Digging, where DJ’s and hip-hop artists literally go through crates of old records looking for the one sound that will inspire them and throw up new ideas. Now this is not a culture that I am very familiar with but that isn’t the point.

This is vividly illustrated in a bit with DJ Shadow, talking about poring over over the surreal selection of sounds, many of them rejected or forgotten, in a record store’s basement. The important thing to remember is that this basement isn’t packed with treasure. It’s packed with junk. You have to spend the time to sort through the junk to find the treasure. There is no shortcut. There is no algorithm. There is only time, attention, noticing digging. Shadow says:

There’s the promise in these stacks of finding something that you’re gonna use. And in fact most of my first album was built off of records pulled from here.

He talks about the “karmic” element, finding this or that by chance. (He also observes that there is something humbling about this hoard. “It’s a big pile of broken dreams, in a way,” he observes. I could write a whole separate essay on that riff, and maybe some day I will.)

One of my favourite sources of inspiration come from regular weekly posts like that from Austin Kleon. Kleon roams across different areas of art, music and stuff than I do, so it’s good to have a shortcut to see what else is going on that I might find interesting.

During my residency I also received recommendations from friends who, having seen my posts, passed on links to reading materials such as this article on Vija Cilmens and her intricate drawings. Cilmens is an artist that I wasn’t familiar with, but now I find her work popping up quite often.

Like DJ Shadow says “There is no shortcut. There is no algorithm. There is only time, attention, noticing digging.”

A Loungeroom Residency

Over the next week I will be undertaking an artist residency in my lounge room. It wasn’t planned, but an unexpected injury to my back has made it otherwise. The toughest call was having to withdraw from the formal residency I was about to start under the auspices of the Craft ACT Spring Residency. But then, I realised that I could undertake an artist residency in my own home.

Day 1 shadow photograph.

At this point I have to acknowledge that before I became concerned over my own temporary setbacks, I failed to acknowledge that many artists deal with such problems on a daily basis due to a whole range of physical, social or psychological reasons. I apologise.

A model, a theme

For my residency I have used the model proposed by Lenka Clayton for A Residency in Motherhood. Her model provides both a format and concrete examples of ways to work under constrained circumstances. This excellent resource was drawn to my attention by the fabulous Dr Ruth Hadlow whose master classes have been a major and ongoing inspiration in my work .

At this stage my daily exploration of shadows has become my default theme. I support this proposition by a quote from Ellsworth Kelly who said:

I realized I didn’t want to compose pictures, I wanted to find them. I felt that my vision was choosing things out there in the world and presenting them.

Resources

I have all the resources of my extensive library to select from and all my materials to use. I didn’t have to pack anything to take to this residency. If anything the greatest danger is paralysis from too much choice.

Day 2 shadow photograph.

Limitations

The biggest limitation I have at present is my physical ability to sit up for only limited periods of time and having to be careful not to overuse my dominant arm. I have finally discovered using the microphone on my tablet in order to reduce additional stress through typing. It works! Sometimes.

Interruptions are another cause of problems I would unlikely to experience in a formal residency. Social media management is also a major issue for me.

Work so far

Yesterday I made some collages inspired by one of the photos I took earlier this week. I used a clothing catalogue, which I am inordinately fond of making collages with. I will show you these in a separate post.

Enough for now I need to rest up. I plan to attend a screening of a documentary on Rembrandt this afternoon. Hopefully rest and medication and my wheat bag will get me there.

I would be really interested to hear of your own experiences of working with limitations and constraints in making art.

D3 shadow photograph

PS

I just wanted to say that I’m in good hands and my back issues seem to be slowly resolving so no need for anyone to worry about my condition.