Work, or Play?

An artist's day is filled with arresting moments when a fresh vision of something familiar appears quite by accident: something in one's environment, works recently completed, or works-in-progress. Light streaming through a window, shining on a familiar object, perhaps: then, creation gets really interesting.

Puttering around the studio can also release one from set ways of thinking and seeing. This is often the means to a breakthrough into new territory, even new uses for old media. This happened to me a few years ago when I decided to clean out my flat files. Tearing up work from graduate school and other works on paper from over a 50 year career, I looked down at the mess at my feet and saw such wonderful juxtapositions of media, shapes, colours of paintings, mixed with black and white drawings and prints, that suddenly, there was possibility in the old "stuff." From that came "Recreations," a series of collages named after the fragment of a title from an early engraving, entitled, whimsically, "Recreation among the Microbes." Recreation (play) translated into re-creation.

Isn't that what artists do? Play, and constantly re-create. All that talk about "one's work," when musicians speak more honestly, about "playing" their instruments. The "work" is not the "doing" of it: it's the talking about it, the framing it, the exhibition of it, the selling of it. And, that seems to be the thing non-artists are most interested in talking to artists about, because that relates to their work: with results, measurable and material.

But, there's so much more to art and life.

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