In art, I've found artificial constraints create a sense of liberation. There's something to be said about creating boundaries to work inside of. Artists have an unlimited field of potential, availability, and dimensionality to work with in terms of materials, sizes, and methods of process. This openness can lead to being overwhelmed with options. For many, too many options create blocks and distractions, resulting in a lack of proliferation of work. And this can lead to disjointed workflows and consistency across the body of work.
This is why I chose to create an artificial constraint. A false boundary. This is why I made the conscious decision to work in a square format. Much of my work revolves around the notion of vintage. The images I create are intended to bring a sense of nostalgia and of being something found. I've always explained the physical pieces as being akin to something found in an attic. The work is a nod to being a part of some larger narrative or story, like a children's book, from long ago. However we only see one page from the book. This allows, I hope, the viewer to impart as much meaning into the work I have in it's creation.
The square format is also less common than other sizes. Sometimes this makes the pieces a bit awkward for placement wherever they may hang. Being almost completely made up of photographs I've taken myself, the format lends itself to the much used square frames from medium format cameras. All the same design principals apply, high and low horizons, thirds, and steelyard aid in symmetry and balance overall. The square dimensions of the pieces have a peculiar quality to them, they lack space and it can represent a boxing in. This artificial constraint of choosing the square format generates challenges of creating enough of a narrative without being cluttered. For all it's challenges, I feel I have found success in these balances, both narratively and compositionally. I admit, some are more successful than others, however, that is not really something for me to decide. That's up to the viewer.
Recently I've decided to attempt to expand beyond the square format. Now that I feel extremely comfortable working within the confines of a square, how will I do when I have more space to work with. Can I create narratives and images telling similar half-narratives while balancing freedom, success, liberation, with a hint of isolation and struggle? It's this dichotomy I strive to attain in each piece. A visual irony if you will. Some work becomes a little tongue-in-cheek and others a bit more pensive.
My next series of work will consist of more open space to work with. Varying size formats to hopefully allow me to wonder more freely. Opening up the dimensions creates new challenges and limitations. I need to find a level of efficacy and efficiency in the work. That balance between less is more and too little is not enough while still telling a story, but not too much of it. I've also made the decision to create multiple versions of each piece. Each will have a whole scene I have in my mind while others will be elements of those scenes. The aim is multiple pieces from one, with different sizes (and yes, price points).
The art I enjoy the most is the art where the viewer has as much a role in its meaning as I do. This allows others to find their own connection with the work. I feel this vehicle allows the work to have a deeper meaning to those whom connect with it. It's as much about them as it was when it's created.
I have completed two new pieces already and have about one thousand different ideas for more. Time to get busy!