Monday, January 17, 2011

Crossover skills



I am at present working with my son Martin on a three week intensive refurbishment of his picture framing workshop. I brings back in sharp focus those years I spent as a carpenter in the building industry. This involved being shown a requirement, often designing the form, acquiring the material and then making whatever was required. It's what carpenters do.
So returning to a design and build project, I am made very much aware of how the skills of this former life have proved invaluable to me as an artist.

For example, the paper model above is drawn from the series I did that related to a derelict bus I came across in Crete. Needing some ideas for abstract figures to inhabit my 'bus' I began to sculpt/assemble some copper figures. This paper mock up (above) is in fact a pattern for me to cut the copper precisely before assembly. All very much in the mode of 'design and build' The bench (below) shows the transition from the 'idea' drawing to paper maquette and then to the work in progress. 


The way art is tied to method is different for all of us. At times skill can be a real nuisance and at other time the ability to understand how to plan ahead is invaluable.  
In this piece I am trying to express the idea of 'mother' and what elements of the form could best express that, in this case I develop the creative notion of the lap, a soft place for the child to be close and safe.
Finding a path from conception of idea to final realization calls for the orchestration of whole a range of skills from emotional perversity to physical dexterity. Calling such a tune is the game we call art. Not exactly effortless.
The final copper 'mother and child' can be seen on my Flickr site