Monday, October 4, 2010

About My Art, Pt. 2 — In which I realize I am being far too general.

Hiya! Welcome to the second part of my reflections about my art process. One of the issues that I realized going through these notes and answers is that I seem to have a habit of talking far to generally about "my work". I suppose the lazy, rainy Los Angeles afternoon is the perfect time to reflect on my motivations for making art.

Last week I ruminated on my the way that my art evolves. This week I want to take up a more concrete topic of how I come to actually make my art. The question was:

"When do you make art? Is it at a regular time? Is it after a specific inspiration? What's on your mind?"

I am a very regularized, hard working artist. I wake up, work in the studio starting around 11AM, read some art theory while taking a quick break for lunch and a run, and a longer break to cook dinner (an important part of clearing up my head actually), and maybe go out and work another couple hours at the bar or before bed. One quirk is that I am not a home-body, I derive much of my vigor and inspiration from being out in the world, out amongst the urban swirl, or the uninhabited lands. Another quirk is that when I am shooting for a project I get up early or stay up very late (that is, I shoot almost all of my photographs from 10PM to 10AM!).

A big part of my production method is I make a million proofs, studios and tests, organize them, show them to friends, artists, have underground small shows, all the while making new photos, proofing more, having work-in-progress shows, re-shooting things, writing about the topic (often I end up writing academic articles about the topics I make art about) exploring the new topics making the work has raised.

Innumerable variations, contortions, long proofing and editing sessions, extensive research into ideas and topics as I go. Like a labyrinth, my process often feels re-treading the same area (both geographically and thematically) from every angle. That internal complexity of my work is why it usually takes four or five years to complete a given project, though two or three projects happen simultaneously with other projects and the work produced is very large in scope and complexity.

And perhaps I should have explained sooner, like a novelist has the novel, the "project" is the discrete unit of my art. Almost exclusively I build a body of work around and in response to a particular topic. While I produce individual pieces, they are like sentences and paragraphs to a larger written piece.

Akin to an essayistic structure, I try to worm and delve through the myriad of propositions and counter-propositions that the tension between these out-layers to the art world have when they are brought together in the same conceptual space. But I always see it as a two-sided conversation. An additive conversation - that both sides are furthering the complexity by participating.

As for my inspiration, I generally speaking cannibalize a topic I am intimate with (in the large number of senses of that word). Not only that but I seek out places in the periphery of art and culture. Place with differing valuations, modes, rituals and uses for art. Places where art has very high poignancy for the individuals involved but without a great deal of connection to the larger "art world." I search out topics and communities and subjects that I can build bridges and trails to. To facilitate the movement of ideas to and fro from the frontiers and repositories of knowledge. To in many ways examine and ponder the power and effects of art in our lives.

(Based on a series of questions presented in articles on Alan Bamberger's site at:

No comments:

Post a Comment