Blasts from the past.

Pencil drawing of old Cyclomotor circa 1981

The long weekend away turned into a longer period away from the drawing board thanks to another chunk of freelance work, a mad dash to the line in time for a client meeting abroad for my client and a hefty chunk of mechanism making. It worked out fine so here’s hoping more work from them soon.

 

Anyone who has a home workshop full of stuff, or a home studio full of the products of ones creativity will know that it is an oft occurring feature of life that whilst rummaging through things in order to find a particular item, one often uncovers another item long buried under a pile, or secreted at the bottom of a rarely opened box. It happens on our computers too. How many of us have hard drives stuffed with old files we barely know we still have? So it was a nice surprise to unearth some very old drawings from my first year as an art student. You’ll see that my interest in engines was already in plain view.

 

As some of you will know, and others perhaps not, ones journey toward a creative life in the UK often starts after you’ve spent eighteen or so years filling your head with maths, history, geography, languages and all manner of fact based academic luggage. Many of us don’t really know what creative career we would like to pursue and so a year on a Foundation course helps to point you in the right direction. It’s a fantastic period full of experimentation and exploration as you feel your way through a vast gamut of disciplines. After thirty years as a professional I really feel like doing another one it’s such an expansive experience.

 

So these two drawings are from that time, products of one of the many observational drawing assignments undertaken where the emphasis was on producing lots of images rather than how one made them. The one above is done in soft pencil on cartridge paper and is complete with smears, fingerprints and the lovely grubbiness one gets from the heel of your hand moving about the paper. I’m not sure, but I think the lower one is done in some kind of oil pastel, again on cartridge paper, and is vastly oversized. You can see from both that my interpretation and understanding of forms, and the ability to distinguish surfaces through light and dark areas is starting to assert itself but is very much a work in progress. I’m particularly amused by my rendering of various ellipses, a geometric shape that haunts many an interpretation of man made objects. I still struggle with them even now.

Cyclomotor carburettor.

What is this object? It is a small engine that one attaches to the rear seat stays of a bicycle and drives the rear wheel via a roller lowered onto the tyre. A Cyclomotor perhaps? In the larger image it is upside down, the cylinder would point downwards in normal use. My uncle appeared from his cavernous garage with it on the day I mentioned to him that I was looking for something unusual to draw. Sadly I can’t remember what happened to the motor or the drawings after I photographed them.

 

 

Inspirations part one.

Whatever it is that forms the output from your creative noodlings everyone gets asked at one point or another where their inspiration comes from. Those tiny little seeds of ideas, they must come from somewhere right? Whilst the answer to this question is often an easy one for most creative people, sometimes it’s difficult to be specific. I find that both cases apply to my own ideas. The former seem to be the direct result of consciously absorbing influences, looking at photographs, taking pictures myself, books, looking at blog sites etc. Others feel like they come from somewhere else, some far fetched corner of my subconscious that has been busy reviewing stuff without my really knowing about it.

What’s often interesting is that what I think will influence me actually doesn’t. For example, I can spend hours browsing images on-line across a whole raft of sites, collect a few, and then promptly forget all of them by the next day. If I take pictures myself and go through the whole process of loading them into i-photo and editing some of them, then they work their way into my memory bank more. It’s something to do with interacting with an image or other material that seems to be the key. I’m still working out why all this is so as I’d like to get to the point where I know inherently how to feed the engine of my imagination prior to a big ideas session. That sounds all too controlling but at present it’s worth thinking about.

The sketch at the top of the post was strongly influenced by this image above. For once I made a direct connection between seeing and idea creation. As I said, it’s not always this plain and simple. I came across this image on a blog site called Le Containeur, which is a fantastic site. You’ll find it here.

There is of course another step to all this which is when something you’ve created heavily influences another idea. This drawing of a dirt tracker is a direct result of making that first sketch. Ill try to expand on this over the next couple of days.