Saturday, 6 December 2008

Growing sideways in every direction, like mould in a petri dish.

A petri dish has sides which contain the growth, and so should my work be contained by my objectives and planning.

Tonight I will be planning my next steps, now that I have my first chapter in circulation. My short term goals are to meet with Kate on Monday - I've taken the day off work so that we can have a substantial meeting, rather than rushing things as we may have to do every other time. When I have her feedback on the chapter, I will apply the changes, then shelve the chapter for a later date. Over the maturation period, I may alter my approach, discover something new, or gain some perspective which I can apply to the chapter with the clarity which time can afford, so I think the plan to set the writing aside is a good one.

In the coming few weeks (months?) I will carefully plan the rest of my thesis; that is to say, I will at least set out the objectives and framework, or expand upon what I have already set forth on myfirst chapter. I think this will take the form of Chapter 2 (sub-list), Chapter 3 (sub-list), Chapter 4 (sub-list), etc. I'll be doing this for two reasons. Firstly, I plan on moving into a creative phase, which I will discuss in a minute, and so it's important to get all this structure down now so that I know how to proceed when I come up for air some months from now. Secondly, not only is it just good practise to plan in this way, but it will just supply me with a roadmap of sorts, telling me step-by-step how I should proceed. I can see the planning becoming a bit murky towards the middle where I plan a conversation bewtween the theory and the practise, but that's OK.

My second objective for the next few months is to move into the creative zone of this project. I'll do this in two phases, the first being a self-indulgent period where I will allow myself to muddle through various arbitrary techniques and processes to free up my mind and hand, and remind me what I'm capable of. I think I should do this throughout the coming Christmas period, say over a month, and set a deadline which I may call the SDA Date*, somewhere around mid January. After this point I will go full tilt into phase two - creativity with a purposeful intent. I will just need to go hard creating and testing my work against my objectives (Hmmm... Ethics Clearance time?)

Frankly, I'm scared witless by the upcoming creative work, for three reasons; I'm in a literary frame of mind which may be tough to transit out of, I expect the work to be kerrr-azy and without structure (woah - am I ready for that?), and finally (unk!) because I have lost confidence in my creative abilities. A leeeetle bit. I'm not sure why - too long since I finished my film "Danny", and felt it kind of sucked? Because lately, it's not what I do every day, even though I'm a designer. I think I'm going to work on illustration, and a little bit of colour theory, which should match my abilities well, but I'm perched on the side of the creativity pool, all blue-lipped in my swimmers, terrified of the jump into what I presume are the cold waters in front of me. I have been performing a little mantra which goes a little like this: When I focus and work hard on creative tasks which I'm passionate about, they are always successful. This is absolutely true, but saying it to myself doesn't make me believe it. It's like a friend saying "Jump! The water's nice and warm" but not really believing them. In a way the extension of this idea, also a truism, is that I have no business not working on it, when it's what I do best, and love best.

Also, I have taken to heart this quotation:
"It's no good running a pig farm for thirty years while saying 'I was meant to be a ballet dancer'. By that time, pigs are your style."
Quentin Crisp.

This thought resonates with me. I know exactly what he's talking about, and it calls to mind a conversation I once had with my dear friend Antonia, about the visual artists she knows through her work as a curator. She described to me how they are all people who have worked long and hard to hone their artistic skills - no presumptuous middle-aged up-start has a look in when they finally turn to their love of art, because they would be competing, or compared to those who have been sharpening their visual accumen for a very long time. No pressure or anything.

Needless to say, I very much need to get over myself, and get making. I'm on it.

* Acronym key: Stop Dicking Around Date.

Semi-amusing side note: Out of curiosity, I took a lengthy online test which determines a suitable career path, based on your personality traits. My results? Graphic Designer or Scientific Researcher. I'm dead serious.

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