What role does research play in your work?
Learning about the ways other artists think and approach making presents me with worlds of definitions which I can draw from, recognize myself in, disagree with (and therefore find my own reply to), and be surprised by (and therefore be freed by).
It's like a form of triangulation or echolocation—figuring out what's inside by seeing if anything from the outside creates resonance.
A professor had me write a personal glossary for the things I was thinking about at the time in relation to the concepts and philosophies I was developing and my understanding of making art. At first I wasn't sure how to go about this but I wrote down words that kept surfacing in my vocabulary when attempting to describe my thoughts, looking up their dictionary definitions, and then making alterations to fit my philosophies. First, figuring out what they're about to the best of my understanding, then if they have anything that deeply affirms things I'd been suspecting, to use their work to expand my boundaries and serve as mentor suggestions.
Seeing the progression of an artist's practice and shifts within their body of work gives me a little insight into how they got to where they are and even frees me to understand how early I am in my practice.
Nothing kidnaps our capacity for presence more cruelly than longing. And yet longing is also the most powerful creative force we know. Out of our longing for meaning came all of art: out of our longing for truth all science; out of our longing for love the very fact of life. We may give this undertone of being different names--Susan Cain calls it 'the bittersweet' and Portuguese has the lovely word saudade; the vague, constant longing for something or someone beyond the horizon of reality--but we recognize it in our marrow, in the strata of the soul beyond the reach of words.
∆ Maria Popova, from: “The Thing Itself: C.S. Lewis on What We Long for in Our Existential Longing,” The Marginalian (3 September 2022)
“[I]t may be wiser to try to create the place you want to live, rather than to keep trying to find it.”
If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down the little ideas however insignificant they are. But do not feel, any more, guilty about idleness and solitude.
The purpose of a myth is not that it’s true. The human mind thinks in terms of stories, and the purpose of a myth is to help us orient our lives around whatever we believe is truly important. One of the core myths in my life is the idea that every human being is a worker in a factory that produces the complex beauty of life. We all stand along a conveyor belt and receive transmissions from past generations. As a worker in this factory, we each have two jobs: to appreciate everything beautiful that has been passed on to us, and to transform the suffering of past generations. If we can transform even a little bit of this ancestral suffering, we’ll leave the world better than we found it, which (for me) is the highest measure of a human life.
Desmond, Tim. How to Stay Human in a F*cked-Up World (p. 112). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.
We must never forget the joy of doing something slow and something difficult, the satisfaction of not doing what is easiest. The constellation of inconvenient choices may be all that stands between us and a life of total, efficient conformity.
I have no advice for anybody except to, you know, be awake enough to see where you are at any given time and how that is beautiful and has poetry inside, even in places you hate.
My daily routines are transactional. Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it. Without the time and effort invested in getting ready to create, you can be hit by the thunderbolt and it'll just leave you stunned. (p. 10)
Tharp, T. (2003). The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life: A Practical Guide. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.