GUEST POST: My Creative Process: Disorganized Organization (Part Two)

Jon Lundell's wall of metal panels for inspiration.

Jon Lundell's wall of metal panels for inspiration.

Leslie’s Note: This is the second post in a two-part series by a dear friend and highly admired artist, Jon C. Lundell. Read the first part here. Learn more about Jon and his work on his Web site and read his other writing on his personal blog, which I highly recommend following.

I have tried a variety of methods to keep my creative world organized. An obvious to do list: Chalkboard, dry erase, paper, calendar, computer, tablet, iPhone, brightly colored magnetic letters that spell out salient phrases, all of which resist my attention and are soon forgotten.

I have a wall of metal panels in my studio to post things on with nifty magnets: Images I find appealing, works I wish to steal from shamelessly (as Patti Smith said, and I live by this: “I am an American artist and I have no guilt”), and the aforementioned magnetic letters that occasionally fall over and make a mess.

All of this I promptly ignore.

Cleaning is a big problem. I often take a day to organize my studio: Similar tools in the same place, easy to find, pictures I’m working on prominently displayed, and open space for me to get to it all. Which I do, then do again, then think of something else, and since I’m working on that and have the paints out, why not add to that thing. My mind wanders and engages a new idea I must pursue immediately. Shortly, in a period I have clocked at roughly a week, everything is in total disarray. How did that happen?

I would also point out that an artist recently visiting my studio commented on the horribly rigid structure of it all. How could I possibly create with so much order imposed? Go figure.

Materials, Media, and Ambience

I build all painting supports myself; physical work I find satisfying.

I use archival materials: Acid-free paper, hardwood panels, lightfast pigments, real gold leaf. I have made financial sacrifice at times to ensure I am using quality materials. I mean, otherwise, what’s the point?

I need to be entertained when I work. Movies, music, stories, BBC, radio plays all appeal. I especially favor Shakespeare and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” My studio also has a jukebox. How cool is that?

Perhaps at this point you have ascertained I am easily distracted. No need to point that out. I’m hyperaware.

I do not work well under pressure or deadlines. I want to give the work time to sort itself out if it needs. At some point art takes on a life of its own, and is made to be viewed. I was prissy and precious about things when I was a youth, but that went away after I accumulated a body of work.

A Little Chaos is a Good Thing

The moment we step out the door, we are governed by rules and laws. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (there is a reason anarchy has never quite caught on), but I find it counterintuitive to the creative mind.

My paid employment has, for the most part, required me to impose order on chaos, be very organized, and direct people far too busy to focus. This is contrary to my nature but, for some reason beyond my comprehension, I am very good at it. I think perhaps this is one reason I covet a lack of structure in my studio.

I like the fact that I own the work, all the drudgery, glory and foibles. I am not a competitive person; games and sports don’t interest me because, outside of war and personal assault, winning and losing doesn’t strike me as important. So art suits me.

What’s your creative process?