on the creative process, and an update // bark

Coming across a blog post from David Collier  today on artists’ daily routines reminded me just how much I love peeking into the mechanics of the creative process- both others’ and my own, so much so that I often find myself drawn to the behind the scenes more than the finished product itself.

While I wasn’t familiar with David’s suggested Daily Rituals book and blog, one of my favourite Irish websites is From the Studio Of , where visual artists are presented in their working environments.  In the literary domain, The Guardian used to do a feature in their Books supplement a few years ago, where a photo of a desk was published alongside the writer’s descriptions of any items of significance, practical or emotional, sitting on and around it.  You always felt a little guilty for looking at the picture, which invariably felt both revealing and utterly private. This was always the first item I’d jump to out of the whole bumper weekend edition of the paper (I had a Saturday as good as ruined when I realised the feature was gone.)  Closer to home, within the field of sound and field recording, I love the occasional Studio Visits on Alison Ballard’s AudioPigeon, of which I hope there will be more soon.

I guess I find myself on this subject as I am currently going through a creative challenge of my own, as mentioned in the previous post. As creative journeys are often solitary ones, I am always curious to see and hear what it is that others do, and how they feed their own habit.  I think it all boils down to the human need to feel the the presence and sense of community of others like you, even in individuals such as artists who tend to be proud to carve their own path.

I personally find the beginning always the most exciting part- the spark of the first idea that propels you forward into action, the first steps, the mandatory self-doubt, the first results.  And relief, I guess, to have made it past the ultimate anxiety-inducing hurdle, the blank page.  This is pretty much where I am at the moment with #bark:  I currently have two rough edits of two separate tracks, one which will probably be the opening, and a first ‘proper’ full length piece whose mood and tempo I have a feeling will guide me through the later stages of the project.  Because I am creating this while away from Ireland and in Residency, this project has the luxury of an open-ended, experimental feel, without any restrictions or deadlines except those of my own, which I am enjoying a lot.

This is also allowing me the extra time to share my journey through social media – in particular on Twitter and via my latest obsession, Vine.  This is both creative and restrictive: it includes audio (as you may have guessed, the element I am drawn to the most) and encourages ruthless selection and timing, seen as it allows for a maximum length of 6 seconds and lacks any editing features in post.  Quick and easy to use, I am finding this a wonderful tool for experimentation.  Specifically in relation to #bark, I am using Vine to post up regular written thoughts on what feelings I am going through as I compose and edit- an impulse-diary of sort.

In addition to the feeling of accountability, I find that the best part of sharing online is the fellow artists I get to connect with, who are there to offer support, feedback and laughs whenever I need them.  I sense their presence- like myself working away at their own projects, and I know they are also looking for my support, feedback and laughs.

Our separate deadlines, release dates, openings and launches bring us closer together.  I think I will keep peeking through the studio keyhole and leave my door ajar.

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