Fugue State in the Studio

It’s not always the case, but sometimes I find that I can lose track of time and self rather thoroughly when I’m deeply engrossed in making art. Writing even a simple email can take ages, if it’s about something or to someone I consider important; an essay or poem can take hours or days, if I get involved and forget where I am. It’s a bit like driving a familiar route; when I’ve been on the same track enough times, I am occasionally startled to realize that I don’t remember passing through the last number of miles, because my brain is so used to noting what is or isn’t as it’s expected and supposed to be that it operates nearly on autopilot, though thankfully if I examine my memory I can indeed recollect noticing real details along that ostensibly missing section of the trip. With making visual images, I can (and sometimes, I think, absolutelyΒ should) let go of and turn off my editorial mind for a good period of the work time. If I’ve practiced enough and prepared enough, inwardly, for a session of art-making, letting my attention take a back seat to my instincts and actions before returning to critical mode is at the very least going to produce some worthwhile, thought-provoking, challenging Stuff that will either lead directly to an artwork or, as a bit of not so fabulous yet earnestly glimmering potential, lead to something on the next try.

No matter how that part of the process goes, I’m quite sure that an easy 90% of what I do to make art, whether it’s textual or visual, happens internally and not externally, so it’s no wonder if I wander off at times.Digital illustrations from photos + text: Work Patterns

12 thoughts on “Fugue State in the Studio

  1. Truth. When the work is good I get lost in it β€” whether or not it is actually ‘good’ to anyone else but me. Sometimes it’s days and days and sometimes just a little while. But when I come out, I feel like I’ve somehow wandered far away from home. I guess that’s why I keep trying to get back there. πŸ™‚

    • Excellence is, to a certain extent, entirely relative. My preference is that anything be excellent enough to suit *me*. Critics can get on board or not, as they wish. πŸ™‚ Wander at will, darling. You always come back richer for the journeying.

  2. This strikes so true! The reason that I don’t post what I have done to images during post processing them is because I can’t really remember the steps I’ve taken. So much of the process is intuitive and by ‘feel’ as opposed to the analytical thinking of what should be done.

  3. “absent from myself” — love this.

    the reflection might be “exposing my truest self”

    total immersion is fleeting, and precious … creating art is always a compilation that requires some part of your own energy to help bring it to life, and yet, perhaps is only possible when you are truly “absent from myself”

    I accidentally had a tiny bit of total immersion today (or perhaps lack of mindfulness might be more appropriate). After having lunch with my brother today (he was unexpectedly in town for business), and as I drove home, I was completely lost in thought, performing on autopilot, my mind whirring and buzzing with all sorts of memories. When I got to my destination, and put the car in park, I realized I had accidentally driven to the wrong house; the one I had occupied two years ago. It took me a few seconds to awaken myself from my reverie, before sheepishly acknowledging that … uhmmm … this isn’t where I live anymore. With a shake of my head, and a shrug of my shoulders, I put the car back in motion, and this time, kept my brain in the game. The whole time, I had been writing (in my head); now it was time for driving.

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