Blog about the West Midlands Open exhibition.
How many times have you experienced that agonising annoyance of trying to remember something important, but try as hard as you might it just won’t come to you? That intense frustration and irritation you experience when even dislocating your tongue by sticking it out, far beyond the reality of physical safety, just to see what is on the tip of it even fails to get the vision you desperately desire! (Or is that just me again?!) That vexing moment when you finally concede defeat to never revealing the revelation. Exasperated, you walk away, move on, infuriatingly ignoring it. When suddenly, BAM! The answer, you so desperately struggled and exuded so much mental energy for, pops right into your head!
For now, I will forego the science behind this, but suffice to say that it is widely acknowledged that actively focusing on a conundrum rarely achieves the desired or optimal result. However when we are in a more relaxed state of mind, amazing things happen in our brain and we achieve a greater echelon of inspiration.
Many prodigious people have recognised the phenomenal value of tapping into this relaxed state of mind to initiate inspiration. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt and Leonardo Da Vinci, to name but a few, were all advocates of taking regular, succinct, naps throughout the day, waking with rejuvenated vivacity and revelation.
Salvador Dali famously napped holding a key between his finger and thumb. When he nodded off, the key would drop onto a plate below, the clang abruptly wakening him and he would then capture the thoughts and images in his head. His surrealism, including his melting camembert clocks are attributed to this method. Cheesy timepieces chronometers, mmmm!
With this in mind, I was intrigued to discover when and where our very own 2014 West Midlands Open artists acquired their inspiration and so, naturally, I asked some of them.
A shrewd bunch our artists, no one admitted to actually sleeping on the job. However they still had some fascinating insights into how they engaged with their inner muse.
Robert Neil (‘John’), explained to me how he works better in the afternoon and evening when he has ‘got other stuff out of the way’. With no distractions and by choosing not to think about solutions but just follow his instincts, Robert finds his optimal level of focus and expression.
Robert also finds it soothing and therapeutic to walk back and forth from his easel, giving him the opportunity to reflect on his work and gain greater perspective. ‘The experience of walking is crucial for the evolution of my painting’ Robert enlightens.
I also converse with Barbara Gibson (‘Streets of my city #1’) who finds her vision and insight through pensively pounding the pavements, where her meandering mind allows her to be spontaneous and ‘My dreams become achievable’.
In a similar vein, David Symons (‘Blue Ghost’) illuminates, ‘If I am stuck for ideas then I start to draw’. ‘Drawing unlocks my creativity’. David can’t explain why this is, but he knows it works for him. I am further inspired when David shares his perceptive revelation with me, that ‘having an idea is the unteachable creative golden goal or magic moment and the whole point of existence. It’s the best buzz.’
Dan Auluk ("I am sorry to inform you…") also enlightens me with his quest for inspiration. Dan has a diverse range of methods that he utilises in order to attain his own personal creativity and vision. Films inspire Dan, whilst watching them he allows his thoughts to flow and ‘imagine creating new works for exhibitions’. If Dan faces an impasse in his inspiration, he finds that a soothing bath or shower soon rekindles his imagination. Even the simple act of lying down with his cat can trigger astounding creativity. But Dan’s greatest source of innovative stimulation comes from train journeys, where he finds he can block out everything around him and let his imagination fly. Now there’s one for your marketing campaign Virgin!
Dan’s eclectic and extensive methods continue to inspire me. Dan reveals how on occasions he will literally interview himself. Dan will write a list of questions he seeks solutions to and then personally answers them. To gain further insight into Dan’s astoundingly artistic approach, explore his amazingly brave and emotive journey of self-discovery, culminating in an exceptionally rousing and moving series of works ‘Blind Drawings’.
Just like the aforementioned and renowned illustrious visionaries, our own 2014 WMO artists have also passionately embraced and encapsulated the power of dream.
Dreams in their nature are ephemeral, numinous and ethereal, they cannot be forced into reality; they must be nurtured, subliminally, through our unconscious mind.
In our increasingly chaotic, frenzied, hectic and technology driven lives, perhaps it is time we all took some time out to slow down, relax, spent some time to dream and gain some deeply desired inspiration.
So next time your manager catches you napping, just confidently and joyfully explain you are being creative! Oh, hold on boss, I think I feel some inspiration coming on… zzzzzzzz.
Contributing Artists Web Sites: