A while back, I wrote a blog post called “The Poky Little Puppy” and an accompanying email called “In Defense of the Slow.” I talked about how, at 40 years of age, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, Inattentive Type. This realization has helped me to better understand some of the challenges I have had in navigating this life.
But ADD is also closely associated with having a creative mind. Artistic mind, attention deficit disorder, who knows where one ends and the other begins?
My mind is not organized. Information comes in the form of so many scraps of paper, fluttering about in the wind. Projects or professions that involve any complexity seems like an insurmountable undertaking.
I’ve got a terrible memory. I often forget essential aspects of whatever task I am performing. (Recently I set off to buy new glasses, leaving my prescription at home.)
But, I have learned something sort of fun about my mind, and how it likes to organize itself.
I was trying to develop some sort of regular, consistent, doable habit in regards to posting on social media about my art. “Everyone” was buzzing about social media.
You know, “Everyone,” don’t you? “Everyone” says:
And so on, and so on. All that resulted from this was a panicky sense of dread.
Enter, the Mind Map.
Here is all is. I spent hours on this silly thing.
I tried to impress my friends by sharing it with them, but they didn’t even want to LOOK at it, and who could blame them? It seems overly elaborate and faintly ridiculous now, but the one most important thing is also true: now I know.
Now I know. Social media is no longer confusing to me. I may need a reminder of the specifics, but the tiny scraps of paper have settled down into an orderly pattern. Now I understand.
As I just wrote about in my post “Evolve or Die,” I revealed that I am starting on a new body of work, inspired by archeology and deep history. It’s really exciting, and really scary. For the first time in many years, I genuinely have no idea what I am doing. It will be an adventure into the unknown.
I have been a consumer of archeology media of various kinds for years. I have two magazine subscriptions. I watch archeology shows. I listen to podcasts. Over the years, I have absently absorbed a lot of scraps of information. Over time, these bits of information started to formulate themselves into a loose, fluttery vision of the world.
I became filled with the desire to understand these little scraps in context, in an order, like maybe a mind map… or maybe… a time-line.
Fueled with this new obsession, I knew that I was not going to be able to commence on my new journey of art-making without tackling this. I took a large roll of paper, and I set it on a little table. I rolled it out on my wall and tacked in down. I decided on a very general form: seven areas of the planet, drawn with seven horizontal lines. The time demarcations will be the vertical axis. But, I am still not sure what time periods I am going to depict, and where along the horizontal axis they will land. So, I started to write bits of information I find intriguing on bits of rice paper, and started to tape them up at various places. Everything at this point is in flux and movable.
I feel like a mad scientist.
In fact, I have recently learned from The Google that there is a thing called “The Crazy Wall.” It’s a meme, stemming from the media’s dramatic use of an “evidence board” real detectives use to solve crimes. It was used to most dramatic effect in the 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind.”
For the first time in a long while, I am creating something that I have no real intention of putting on display or trying to sell. Somehow, I just know I need to do this. I need to capture and contain what I know, but cannot yet use. Something that simply comes out of my beautiful mind.
My beautiful, inefficient, scattered, forgetful, creative, artistic mind.
A video of me about to dive into the time-line.
"Evolve or die" is a common quote. I’m not sure I would die if I didn’t evolve, but stagnation is something I cannot exactly live with either.
Since the beginning of my art career, I have had two main bodies of work, which I call “Vintage Snapshots” and “Film Noir.” Now I am commencing on a whole new body of work! I don’t really have a catchy name for it yet, but it is inspired by my fascination with archeology and history.
Notice I make a lot of pencil notes on it, to keep track of what combinations I have used.
For the first time in many years, I genuinely have no idea what I am doing. It will be an adventure into the unknown.
Here are the hotsheets with the sordid details, the true confessions, and the inside info on my artistic process. Learn how it all happens right here!
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