The Connected Images 5.5 day intensive at Columbia College was one of the most stressful and exhausting experiences that I’ve had in a very long while. It was also one of the most creative and productive. It truly felt like an immersion into the deconstruction and reconstruction of my creative process. I came into the course with a set idea of what I wanted to accomplish, after having started a series of assemblages during my 1 ½ weeks stay at Ragdale a week before beginning this course. I really wanted to finish these pieces as they are a part of a larger body of work that I have been concentrating on for the past year.
During my first meeting with instructors, I was encouraged to let go of this idea and pursue something else in order to allow myself to be uncomfortable, to try something that was more difficult for me. This was particularly frustrating for me, because I felt like I was following my muse, which is the only way that I am able to work. I wasn’t willing to let go of my idea, but I allowed it to migrate…
As the week went on, I began to meditate on the writing that I had done inside some of the exercises and excursions presented in the course. This allowed my idea to mutate even further. After a while, I completely let go of my original idea, and turned to painting, which I had let go of for eight long months due to the fact that I was exploring other media, but also because I was feeling creatively stuck in that area. Through the process of moving through this course, I was able to pick up the paintbrush again and explore painting in a way that was completely new to me: more intuitive, less formulated. This felt like a wonderful break-through. Along with the paintings, I created a performance piece which included a poem composed from the writing that I had done during the week.
By the time I arrived at Crit Day, I had come full circle, deciding to also return to the assemblages as they had been a stepping off point for this entire process – realizing that there was something inside of them for me that warranted further exploration. Through this investigative week, I was also reminded of the power of pursuing and following my own my personal muse – something I had almost forgotten while in the depths of this expanding and contracting journey. My theme revolved around cycles, time, and phases, so it’s very interesting to me that my creative process also followed this circular theme with me returning to where I started, albeit with a new and fresh perspective.
The intensity and stress factor induced by the compact nature of this course definitely aided in stretching me outside of my own prescribed boundaries. It was difficult for me physically and mentally, but so worth it to tap into a creative space that could only have been reached through the confines of “running out of time.”