Friday, April 27, 2012

Avoiding the Morgue

Most Artists are familiar with the concept of an artist morgue. This is a phrase used to reference that special file an artist creates to house all of the doodles and daydreams you have for future art projects. This is a great idea. Every artist should have a place to protect these special projects that could become more. Here is a great blog post on what a morgue is and why you want one. I sometimes use this site, called the Art Morgue, for visual references. The collection of textures at this site has also been a great help to me.

However, (note: this is where I get weird) though I love the concept of saving my inspiration, the thought of putting it a "morgue" bothers me. A morgue is where dead things go. I don't want any of my creativity to die.

This is why I avoid the traditional morgue concept. Here is my nutty system.

 The Art Nursery

The Art Nursery is like that room at the hospital where all the newborn babies go to be washed up, looked over and made into little balls of bliss to hand back to their mothers. My Art nursery is my inspiration station. It's a collection of images, textures, drawings, colors,quotes and articles that inspire me. It's living and breathing art in its infancy. Each of these sparks aren't abandoned. In good time they will grow into something very special.

The Unmorgue

Now, I do have a morgue but my morgue is not what most artists would expect. My morgue is for dead ideas. It contains drawings I started and stopped because I just hated what I'd made. It's full of the disappointments that made me feel like I'd failed some new technique. Nope, I don't throw these unsatisfactory attempts away. Instead I write notes all over them about my process, what I liked and what I didn't like about that particular image. I mention what I learned from the outcome and what  I will do differently the next time to achieve better results. Everything has value, something in it to learn from. For me, I can't regard my attempts as failures or I'll surely stop creating. Instead I use them as learning tools. The items in my morgue might seem dead however, like everything that passes through our lives and into the next, they impact me and make me different because I've experienced them. Their memory is a ghost that shapes my future and haunts my every stroke of paint or pencil.

If you are avoiding the morgue-- stop. Learn to see it differently if you must. Use alternate wording. Find the terms that work for you, but revere those sacred spots to stash fresh new inspiration and old efforts. Both will teach you about yourself and frame the concept of your unique identity as an artist.

1 comment: