Becoming an artist starts with taking off your shoes.
I find that there is a certain significance to working barefoot. It helps me to disregard the traditional mindset of how work is done. I take the things that the conventional world overlooks and I give them new agency, using them as stepping stones to create the never-before-seen.
My studio is a place without convention or assumption.
To step– shoeless– into my studio is to step into a three dimensional canvas.
White-washed walls span the distance from ceiling to floor. The space begins immaculate– every surface holds possibility. Just as nature strives to fill a vacuum, the void created by the all-white interior compels me to fill it with colors pulled from my imagination. In this way the space is a tool and driving force for my creative process, as much a part of the finished work as the canvas or paint.
I think of my studio as being my dojo– my ‘place of the way’. It is a space to meditate and execute on my imagination. When I work in it, I wear a white uniform. Like a karate gi, this uniform is a symbol of allegiance to my practice.
Within my studio I am a small player in a larger process. My art is a living creature and my studio is its lungs– I draw inspiration from the outside world and the studio breathes out completed works. I am little more than a conduit to inspiration. I act as a lightning rod, gathering these sparks of inspiration and storing them. Later, in my dojo, I tap into their electricity.
At first the ideas that spring forward from inspiration are faint and primitive. Their development comes later when I can sit in the studio and focus. I catch these ideas on paper, reflect, and then nurture them using the tools and techniques that I’ve been trained in. They exit the left side of my brain and enter the more rational right, where they mature into a fully formed concept.
Then I give them dimension– they enter the tangible world, and my studio exhales.
When I pack everything up at the end of the day and leave the studio, there’s always a little paint stuck to my shoes. A little piece of my dojo– a reminder of possibility– to take into the outside world.