“Now many people think what artists do is sit about waiting for inspiration and when it strikes then they manufacture their art. Of all the artists I know the process is incredibly important. The process of art making becomes an adventure, a journey. It is a mixture of having priorities, having an intention, having a direction, having sensibilities and then out of all that fantastic mixture having the opportunity to be in the studio to push and pull and generate a work of art.
What I found is that I have become more open-ended, freer as I have got older. One doesn’t have to sit around waiting for an idea, they emerge automatically, one work generating another. If you think about all the choices that one has to make when confronted in the studio – the choice of material, the choice of methodology, ideas, things which move you, intellectual interests, your spiritual aspects, they all come together in the act of making a work of art. I have often said what artists do is self-portraiture. Now these are not self-portraits, not direct representations, they are self-portraits in that they are reflections of your psyche, personality, history, biology, what ever that feeds you, as well as all the external influences in your life – people you know, people you love, they all have an incredible impact on the work. It is a case of enfolding all those aspects together. This is why a definition of a work of art is impossible.
David Bohm, the theoretical physicist, in his book “Wholeness and the Implicate Order”, talks about the same issues in physics. David Bohm said, when scientists try to describe matter, however it is described, it is always more and always different. This is incredibly like a work of art. Works of art are non-describable in their totality. You cannot analyze or deconstruct them. This is like looking at the physical universe. You can par it back from atoms to subatomic particles back down to quantum physics, but somehow it has this miraculous way of bouncing back into form again. That is very much like art making and these realizations come out of the activity of making sculpture.
You often will hear that the creative process is about expressing yourself, but it is also about reflection. The act of reflecting upon your art is paramount, offering profound insights, moments of revelation and epiphany. That is what art making is for the artist. But it is also the same for the spectator, if they allow themselves the opportunity to interact with the piece of art. I use that word very strongly, because that is what it is about, interaction not interpretation. It is important to recognize that when looking at a work of art you are seeing someone’s world model, someone’s values. You might say ‘oh I like it’ or ‘I don’t like it’. What you are saying is that you respond or not to these values. These are only immediate responses. It is imperative to spend time with a work of art. I came across an interesting parallel to this again from the realm of theoretical science. When studying the properties of light, scientist discovered that you can measure the position or its velocity, you can’t measure both at the same time. The outcome was the recognition that those are not properties of light, but the properties of our interaction with it. Now I have always thought this was incredibly insightful and profound. It goes on to say that in fact all properties are always properties of interaction. What a fantastic idea! That means there are no singular properties of hardness, of night, of hate, of love, but that they are always properties of interaction. This is incredibly important, because what it means is that to our senses and to our reflections, we really do live in a completely seamless universe. There are no separations, if all properties are properties of interaction. There can be no separation between what we may think of as an object or other properties. They are all interactive.
That is an important factor to recognize, for myself, as the top of my value system. We live in a seamless universe.”
– Raymond A. Arnatt