Artists, whether or not they admit it, benefit from limitations. In fact, they thrive on limitations. A teacher of mine once referred to this idea as “freedom within a harness.” And he nailed it. Feeling safe and buffered by a few boundaries can truly serve to unlock the creative spirit.
Often limitations are determined by the chosen media or studio size. Budgets can dictate the scope or scale of the work. Subject matter, deadlines, allergies, running out of your favorite color,…all serve to bring out an unforeseen, unexpected inventiveness.
Which brings me to the suitcase phase.
When my children were young, I was in my mini-van phase, meaning I couldn’t produce anything bigger then what would fit into the back of my mini-van. Now that I’m a traveler, it’s my suitcase determining the size and shape of my work. Nothing flat can be wider than 24 x 36” Anything longer than 36” must be rolled up on one of two hard core tubes that sit at the bottom supporting the portfolio. The space between the tubes is designated for art supplies and electronics.
And what about clothes you ask? Ha!
I like to work BIG so this current reality haunts me at times. I’m contemplating epic work that is made up of small components, or installations that can be constructed and deconstructed back to suitcase size.
See what I mean? Limitations push creativity. But for now, I’ve got a system.