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Sculpture TK 671322222512

This is the last piece of the year, and it has been a very fruitful one for me in a lot of ways, so I think I will start this last post of 2023 with a story. So here goes, and also, look at the new work while you read!)

I was having lunch with a collector friend of mine a few weeks ago. We were talking about art and music (naturally) and he commented on how he felt I was much better able to talk about creating art in a way that he never could when he plays music.

I was a little struck by what he said because, while I recognize that I am certainly able to talk about the topics and influences that surround my work, I am no better able to describe the free associative tasks that go into conjuring a design for a sculpture than a jazz musician is able to describe what is going on while they are riffing during a session. That is I can say "what" happened, but I cannot truly say I know the "how" or "why" when designing a piece.

And to be honest, I have never really met an artist that could.

Which is to say I think we all recognize that creativity is mysterious like that, which is why it seems so special. We can analyze and even plan some amount of constraints we want when we go into making something, and we can apply all sorts of logic, critique, and context to what results afterward, but the squishy creative part that I simply call “the middle” remains largely inaccessible to us.

We can catch glimpses of "the middle" and even get better at riding the indescribable wave like a surfer, but that free associative state in which connections are made between wildly disparate pieces of inspiration in order to make something new, by my estimation, seems to take place largely within the subconscious.

And thats that. I can't talk about it any more than anyone else. I can only talk about the circumstances leading up to it, and what happens during the act of building the thing that I thought of afterward.

I posited that maybe musicians, by the performative nature of their work, simply spend a lot more time “in the middle” than visual artists who might have more time on either end of a creative act to rub their chins, ponder, and process.

Anyway, thats my story, and with that all said, I want to introduce my newest major work, and share some of the inputs that led to this output.

Introducing the TK 671322222512.

Here is what I can say about the inputs for this particular piece. 

In the last year, I have been inspired by a very special tea pot made by an artist I follow, some ancient stone disks from the National Museum of Asian Art, a bunch of automotive design stuff, and of course my own recent adventures in wood turning. 

How all of those pieces fit together to produce this particular composition are not entirely clear, but all of those things have a "feel" that I think speaks directly to what this work is about. Especially details like the inner ring.

And of course, on the practical side, the real catalyst for this piece is simply that I had this beautiful blank of stabilized Box Elder Burl left over from another project, and was determined not to waste it. 

Perhaps that is not entirely satisfying, but it is something I have become quite comfortable with. 

So thats it, when I write about my work, I simply prefer to spend my time making note of the interesting inputs I've discovered. I like talking about leveraging different tools and techniques to help me express my ideas, and then attempting to place my output into the broader context of craft and the history of humans who make things. But in terms of how I truly come to make what I make, it just happens, it is automatic. 

It is, and kind of has to be, that simple.

But don't get the wrong idea, I am stoked that I also get to build and explore a lot of cool engineering, design, and materials science through my process along the way. I am just saying that is a different facet of my work from what we call creativity. 

Hopefully it can be freeing to realize nobody truly understands what they are doing. 

The end.

This piece stands 14.25" tall, the disk is 9" diameter, and the base is 6" tip to tip

Lastly, I hope everyone has had a productive year and I look forward to seeing what 2024 will bring. Happy New Year, and as always, comments and questions are welcome.

Lastly, lastly. Of course, I am obligated to mention for the foreseeable future that if you haven't already, check out my new book. The details of which are all at this link (where it just so happens you can also order it)