Transitional states in the creative cycle

I am now in transition from staging a major event (in my terms at least) to whatever comes next.

Immediately after Civilians finished I made one application to an art competition and another application for an environmental commission in London. That left me with a lot of stuff to uninstall in the garage and a lot of domestic stuff to move back in there. So that is what I have been doing. This involves a lot of tidying and sorting through stuff. When you move things from place to place in your home your start asking ‘Do I really need this?’ This leads to a sorting process which makes the task longer but it also makes it more constructive.

You might think that I would take the simpler route. Just put everything back where it came from and be done with it. But no, actually I didn’t. I think it is because I am not just getting distracted, I think I am in a preparatory state. I think by doing tasks like:

  • Tidying my stored plaster moulds and
  • Rationalising my toolbox and
  • Cleaning the studio floor

I am actually making space in my life for the next phase of creativity (see my article on the creative cycle for more about this idea) and maybe some important changes. It would be really easy to give myself a hard time for ‘wasting’ time with banal tidying tasks that could be done at any point but I think these are an important part of an artists ritual of preparation.

If you have the expectation that as a creative person you should be creative all the time you won’t get very far in my opinion. You actually need downtime at work, time when your brain is processing whatever is coming next but not in the front of your mind. In doing these tasks, the my conscious mind is apparently occupied with sorting and tidying tasks. In the back of my mind I am thinking about where I will start on the next project, which idea I will tackle first and which of the incomplete tasks from existing work (electrical issues, display issues, etc) will need to be dealt with once I am really trucking on a new project and how I will fit it all in. Excitingly, I have a new strand of sculptural ideas to start work on later this summer.

But that’s not all. I am also thinking about how I market the work and all the things that have to be put in place to make that start to happen. I think this is where some changes may start to appear. I am currently working with Cindy Hohman on developing my online marketing which is starting to get interesting. So maybe this is what I was doing all that clearing and tidying for?