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October 20, 2008

Things you only know after the event

When creating something I inevitably, and not unreasonably, start with nothing Ė a blank panel, a blank sheet of paper, a blank tape.

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I have a feeling for what I want to do, an urge, an itch perhaps. An idea Iíve been scratching at for a while. Something that has been bubbling away on the back burner of my mind for many months. I know where I want to go [mostly].

What I donít know is how Iím going to get there, how Iím going to achieve the results or at least how Iím going to assuage the urge. There are conventions that enable you to get going, admittedly, but itís a difficult business.

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An idea isnít created whole, it doesnít come flat pack either. The piece isnít conceived in its entirety and then brought forth through what ever medium seems most appropriate, at least it isnít in my case, I canít, obviously, speak for others.

Itís all a bit creep-and-go. Sneak around a lot, do a bit, think about it, do a bit more, check it, look at it, do a bit, measure it, squint at it, go shopping, come back, look at it again. All the time making creative and critical judgements, weighing it up against the initial idea, trying to assess whether it does the job, whether it cuts the mustard, whether it communicates the emotion, whether it scratches that particular itch.

When this process has gone on longer than is reasonably comfortable and things are rapidly approaching the end, I have an unhealthy attachment to the project. The more work I put in the more reluctant I am the change things. I feel Iíve got thus far by the skin of my teeth and any fiddling at this stage would upset an already fragile state sending the whole thing into chaos and mediocrity.

This attachment makes me blind to the reality of the piece, I can no longer see it. I am too close to it. I am the last person who should be making creative decisions at this stage. Itís only later, many months later, that I begin to see the piece in a more objective way, but by then itís usually too late to do anything about it.

Sometimes the reality of the piece hits with a sickening thud, other times it can be quite uplifting. The frustrating thing being that itís so hard to tell when youíre doing it, when you are still in a position to lessen the potential sickening thud.

Posted by john at October 20, 2008 12:38 PM

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