Three odd things happened last week. (1) There is a book I think I really want to read, and after looking through it in the bookshop, testing its weight in my hand, checking my own energy level, I place the book back on the shelf. (2) An interesting camera is listed in the inventory of our excellent local used-camera shop, and after setting out from the car towards the shop, picking up some darkroom paper once there, looking around the shop a bit, I decide against asking about the camera. (3) A platinum/palladium printing kit was on sale at the online store for That Important Alternative Process Shop In Santa Fe, and now that I am using a friend’s UV exposure box, it seems a good time to get back into such printing, yet I do not push the final “order” button at the bottom of the cart’s webpage.
There is no sense of me claiming any sanctity around “Black Friday” abnegation. I simply felt almost too tired to take on more stuff. Those retired men I used to see in my teenage years in Prince George BC wearing t-shirts with sayings such “He Who Dies With The Most Toys Wins” now seem ever more absurd to me.
What has followed on since last week has a liberating twang to it. It is an ever-stronger sense that whatever is gestating within my visual imagination – wanting to be created – most certainly does not depend on me first getting my hands on yet more supplies or equipment or technique or physical space. Chuck Close has that famous line about how inspiration is for amateurs, that the rest of those with lives as artists simply show up and “get to work”. I am guilty of having used new stuff, new materials, additional workshops, etc., as “inspiration machines”. So the time is long past due for me to simply get on with the work – with the understanding that I will not know what that big but obscure thing to be created actually is until I go through the work of completing it (plus much else to be made along the way). This feels very strange.
Perhaps what makes this work with Paul, Kim and Francis so invigorating for me is the four of us nudging each other towards our inner, chiaroscuro-drenched psychic stages (as in “theatre stage”) where creation happens. We are showing up, doing the work, actually creating stuff!