How does an artist keep making art when the flow of life brings a series of not so fortunate events? That's what's been happening to me lately. From a fractured foot to a persistent virus, not to mention getting rear ended, was life conspiring to keep me from the studio?
With little time and less energy, it seemed that the obvious solution was to make smaller work. "But I don't want to make smaller work!" an inner voice whined. "O.K.,"-- I answered the voice, "but smaller work can add up." It occurred to me that I could use the same journal format that I'd been practicing in my recent work.
I approach my work in an additive way anyway, creating one print or collage and building on that with the next one, and so on; day after day. At the end of a run (determined by season or plant material), I curate them into a composition that adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
This time, although the size would be smaller, I could still use a sequential format. Then, the words "Tiny Desk Concerts" came to mind. I remembered that these were intimate musical events performed live at the desk of one of NPR's music hosts, Bob Boilen.
Great idea! I figured that I could work the same way. During a break at the hospital or lunch, I could stack the key board on my computer monitor and employ the resulting 13" wide open space for art making. Tiny desk art indeed. But my patch was large enough to fit a cutting board. And where would I keep my materials? I slid open my file drawer, revealing a box of jasmine tea, some almonds and chia seeds, and added a pencil box of collage materials and a folder of colorfully printed papers.
There is a sequence of 3 letters: prn, medical shorthand for the Latin phrase: pro re nata, or, "as the thing is needed."
I love that phrase "as the thing is needed," meaning not always, not every hour or even every day, but when you need it. And that, for the time being, is how I'm making art.