Pondering Myself as an Artist (While Trying Not to Sound Like Some New Age Ass-Hat)
When people ask about getting to know me, especially as a collaborator or mentor, I always feel I should respond by saying that, the most honest way to get to know me is simply to…well, sit and doodle with me. I think that some people have it in their heads’ that there needs to be some great deal of preparation or planning; but collaborative partnerships work best when something is left to be improvised. It’s like a dance that leaves just enough room for uninhibited imagination. Uninhibited with whimsy. That is how I’d like for everyone (and not just collaborators and students) to feel whenever I’m around them.
Probably the best way to describe myself as an artist, is that I like for my work to reflect the viewer’s individual imagination…as if looking for visions in the clouds. In general, and among many other things – I am a Surrealist whimsical lunatic; partial to mixed media, digital art, painting, and sketching... My technique, style and choices of media vary depending on what I’ve got to work with and how I’m feeling at the moment. There are words for people like me, but I don’t think there are very many.
I have spent the last few years quietly developing various exercises, prompts, games, and other activities for creatives; all designed for the purpose of inciting an artistic process and diverse collaborative dialogue, challenging new perspectives, and promoting shared arts experiences that integrate different styles and media. Part of my teaching technique is to empower others to find inspiration through spontaneous “play,” improvised collaboration, and experimentation; engaging others in an artistic process that allows for individual discovery, insight into what works for them, and better ability to expand upon their artistic skills both individually and collectively. Many artists tend to hold back their full expressive potential for fear of making a mistake. By setting a collaborative atmosphere without setting limits, and maintaining a sense of humor and fun whenever possible, become less fearful of making mistakes that might stifle the artistic process. Collaborators become more confident in learning new skills, trying new techniques or media, and really finding their flow. Becoming inspired is not something with correct answers, set rules or reproducible steps, so I tailor my approach to both my own process as well as the way I teach to the momentary needs of each individual.