“Independence”: Abstract photography of abstract paintings with abstract digital collage

Independence, abstract photograph of abstract paintings with digital collage, 1024x768 pixels, March 2012

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Had an idea to do abstract photography of abstract paintings.  So “Independence” here thus started with photographin’ of a composition of  Andlega Landslagi and Movement had Burgeoned.  Intrigued by all the reflective surfaces sbmacinnis has been using in his daily studio photographs lately, I incorporated a small concave mirror for additional reflectitude.  Took a bunch of photos of this and other compositions of my other paintings.  Last I finished it with some digital collage, using clippings from another photo of Movement had Burgeoned.  I named it for the best word on page 42 of the 12th book on the 4th shelf, 12 and 4 being random numbers.

Quite the technicolor puke, eh?  🙂

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I spend a lot of idle moments pondering the nature of creativity.  I don’t think creativity is an ‘instinctive’ capacity, or maybe ‘innate’ would be a better word.  It’s not innate, like breathing is.  Breathing is something we’re born with the ability to do — it does not have to be learned.  Creativity is more like thinking, something we naturally start doing at some point in childhood, but that we can improve by learning.  We can learn to think “better” by learning reasoning, logic and critical thinking, for example.  Creativity is not just a “talent” in other words, I think it can be learned.  And if you do have creativity as a talent, you can learn to do it better.  Though of course what is “better” creativity has got to be one of the most subjective things ever.

What I also mean by saying creativity is not an instinctive or innate capacity is that creativity is not a ‘thing’ in itself, but is built from other, more basic things the brain does.  I’ve often said that creativity is knowledge, memory, and experience put in a blender, and spiced with inhibition.  You can hit “mix” or you can hit “puree”.  The above is closer to a “puree”.  🙂  Creativity is the arbitrary recombination of ideas.  Previously separate ideas that before may have had little to nothing to do with each other, like photography and painting perhaps.  Though both creative visual arts, the execution of each it seems could not be more different.  Composition is about the only thing they have in common — their processes and technical considerations are otherwise utterly foreign to each other.  And yet, they can be arbitrarily combined…  photographs of paintings, or paintings of photographs, or painting on photographs… or collage with paint and photographs, or sculpture using camera optics and paint, or painting cameras…

So thinking of creativity as the arbitrary recombination of ideas, seems to make it something you could improve at by practice.  If you’re looking for a theme for abstract art, maybe you could just pick two words at random from the dictionary and just run with them.   “Initial prow”, or “Djibouti madrigal” (ooh that’s a good one), or “loquacious Tam-O’-Shatner”.

Creativity is also usually directed at a purpose, which may seem antithetical to notions of ‘pure’ creativity (whatever that is), but if this were not the case creativity would never leave the mind to find manifestation in the physical world.  In visual arts creativity is most often directed at producing something that is in some way beautiful, or cool looking, or expresses an idea or a feeling, or is thought-provoking.  Innovation on the other hand, is creativity bounded much more by practicality and directed at producing something useful or better than what came before.  The proverbial ‘better mouse trap’ in other words.  Paintings don’t trap mice!  Paintings are mouse-friendly.  Paintings may even help mice sharpen their teeth or serve as luxuriant nesting material.

Well anyway, that’s what I’ve been trying to do at least since Horizons — improve at being creative, and ‘Independence’ and these thoughts about creativity are just where I am today.

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5 Comments

Filed under Art, Paintings, Photography

5 responses to ““Independence”: Abstract photography of abstract paintings with abstract digital collage

  1. sbmacinnis

    Great post! Very interesting, and I love the mirror experiment that you’ve shown. It looks fantastic. Are you going to print it somehow? I want to see more!

    • Thanks! I wasn’t planning on printing it… that would just be another thing laying around for lack of a place to hang it… It’s already on my blog and in my screen saver! 🙂

      I do plan on doing more of these. I took more photos, with other paintings, some also with a shiny chrome plumbing tail pipe.

    • Digital art is more ‘real’ to me in digital form I guess.

  2. What an interesting post. Very thought-provoking and deep. I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on creativity. Great work on this painting/photo! The first thing I thought of were bubbles with those round mirrors. I love it!

    • Well thank you! I really enjoyed pontificating my thoughts on creativity. 🙂 Seriously though, glad to hear it was thought provoking. It certainly has been for me.

      Yeah, they did come out looking bubbly. 🙂 Especially reflecting almost vertically the row of yellow circles from Andlega Landslagi…

I'd love to hear your thoughts and interpretations! Your comments and likes are what keep the paintings and posts coming. :)

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