Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Stephanie Johnson: The Creative Process

Kicking off our Women's History Month celebration with a bang! Yes, folks -- it's the fabulous Queen of Everything, the corvid monarch herself today. She's a fantastic artist, creator of the wonderful Raven & Wombat Tea Party merch (see our St Urho design!), co-conspirator of the Women's League of Ale Drinkers, a printmaker, logo artiste, designer and of course, proprietor of the Aloha Alcohula [best damn tiki bar in Connecticut!].

The lovely, talented and prolific Kate asked me to blog about the creative process -- specifically, my creative process. I don't believe I consciously have one.

The process has to start with inspiration: I am fortunate and blessed to know so many writers, musicians and artists, all of whom inspire me constantly. I also have a mental repository of visuals ranging from Looney Tunes to Art Chantry, Art Nouveau posters to Inuit prints, prehistoric art to Hatch Show prints; movies, photography, music, books - there is so much out there to inspire everyone. I just acquired a  coffee-table book on Circuses - and I don't doubt the awesome visual impact of the pages will figure in somewhere, sometime into a new project.  A mere Facebook conversation has produced some wonderful images in my mind. 

The creative process, as it works in me: an image pops in my head, it's usually a challenge, and I think it's cool. If it has humor, even better. If it's inspired by a friend, total bliss. 


Todd Mason said...

Someone close to me was essentially trying to will himself to be a deist (he returned to his usual state of agnosticism after ending his affair with a woman who was very invested in her religious identity, rather than seeming to be organically drawn to the faith) and one of the things he grasped was the feeling that his creativity seemed somehow to come from outside himself...I think he simply wasn't crediting the unconscious parts of his mind, as we all should (or so say I), for the interesting ways in which it can and if we're lucky does handle various input, and synthesizes the new or at least the personal in the wa;y you describe here.

Even forcing it can produce something interesting, though rarely first rate...which must tell us something.

C. Margery Kempe said...

I know that uncanny feeling -- looking back over something I've written and not recognizing a word of it. It is very easy to believe in divine inspiration then, but the unfathomable depths of our minds are equally unknown territory. I like Alan Moore's assertion that the one place we can be sure gods exist is in our minds -- but they're no less powerful for that.

The Queen said...

I have never found forcing even the best idea to be fruitful. I have spent hours reworking something, only to have a a last-minute flash of something else come to mind that is infinitely better.

And, Kate, you are too marvelous!

C. Margery Kempe said...

Back atcha, QoE. I think there's an important distinction between trying to force an idea that won't come and throwing yourself into tightly strictured situations where many forces press upon you and you have to find the little hidden avenues --

-- which is often how collaboration feels ;-)

-- or writing assignments.

Anonymous said...

Hm hm.. that's amazing but to be honest i have a hard time determining it... wonder what others have to say..