I believe that every work of art needs a spine—an underlying theme, a motive for coming into existence. It doesn’t have to be apparent to the audience. But you need it at the start of the creative process to guide you and keep you going.
Before I made the spine a habitual part of my creative preparation, I used to agonize through rehearsal periods. If rehearsals weren’t going well, I would be dimly aware of it, but I wouldn’t know why specifically. I would have a vague feeling of dissatisfaction during the rehearsal (this isn’t working) and more clearly etched feeling of emptiness and despair afterwards (I stink. I’ll never do anything good again) it was a horrible feeling, like walking through thick fog.
Twyla shares then further on in the chapter about the skater she worked with, John Curry.
John wants his skating to come as close to art as possible within the boundaries of the sport. He showed me that the three components in every athletic performance where the warm up, the action and the cool down. These three components became the spine of the piece I created for him. I put John’s daily three part routine into a dance.
The warm-up/action/cool down became the spine of the piece. It worked for me because it reflected a physical truth: This is how athletes function. I have no idea if the audience could see it as clearly as I orchestrated it; if they noticed the structural underpinnings, they were not watching John skate. In the end whether they see it is not part of the deal I’ve made with the audience. The spine is my little secret. It keeps me on message, but it’s not the message itself.
Everyone who presents his or her work to the public eventually realizes that there is a quasi-legal transaction between artist and audience. A writer, for example, establishes the genre he works win and you the reader agree to its terms. It’s a contract between the two of you. A humorist promises to make you laugh. A thriller writer promises to create evil and then conquer it. A mystery writer promises to build a murderous maze and then show you the way out. A romance novelist promises to make you cry. You feel gypped when the author breaks that contract.
So what is this all about…this morning? Good question it’s something I have been trying to get back to for sometime but works stepped in and not until now have I been able to get back to reading the book The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. ( oh there are so many books the slow reader want to get to)
I took the time this morning to do my extra reading..the morning is my time..the house is still sleeping and it's not all filled up with daily-ness yet.. I am working on bring in a new schedule for myself and I would like to keep it going...it seems that I am make this change it seem really accepting to me, the family and all that needs to be fit in... I know I've been doing my rants about juggling the family, art and career and just good living. The time as come to put words into action and stop all the belly wailing.. And I see that now that it's time..all the crabbing I might have done before was just warming up for the doing... not to say I wasn't doing... but I like the way this part in this one chapter is...The Spine..can it be like that in all forward motions of active and thinking I feel?
For example: in my works, an idea comes in and I seem to pick up a hint of it and then more things seem to keep coming in. The faceless people series the spine for the piece comes from the ugliness I feel for our future and what people are saying and how they feel doomed and how that negativeness catches on and carries on a life of it's own unless we stop the mess we keep creating and make some changes our self with out waiting for someone else to do it...be the pioneers of the change I guess. So the works come out with no color and shared ugliness and a way to make a point to the public about that... be it's what it is, I look at it as making it present to the view so that it makes a statement to help stir an emotional spot only to bring rise to a positive change for the better...make sense? So by having this idea take form it becomes the driving force in the series of works I'm doing...
Back to the Spine part...(see how my pit bull thinking starts going) I look at the need to express myself with what I know best and that is paper...not an expert but paper is part of me, the risk of trying something new for me in my work was to do some straight stitching on the papers with a sewing machine.. .now that's nothing new out there in the fiber, paper and mixed media arts but new for me in my arts...and the concept that hooked me in...kind of like I can't change the world but when you come in contact with these piece it will make an impact on you, hopefully enough to get you thinking..and the drive/ or the spine of the work starts that guiding force that I can't stop till it's done..When is this series done? when the need to express it has past...I have one more piece to finish in this series and it has been on the waiting list from the beginning of September because of all the other things going on..art fairs, exhibiting and workshops..not complaining but just getting the regrouping of the right energies where I need them...Line up Girls..
The idea... to express that makes a really strong impact on me, the warm up of making of the papers and the ideas that start to flood in..then the actions the creating of the piece, with conflicts rising from ideas not work working and the creative process stepping in to help solve the situation that arises and then the cool down seeing the works completed.
alittle piece of my mind shared.