My Approach to Overcoming Artists Block

A few months back I began to ponder my creative practice, particularly my artwork. As I progress further and further in the world of design I have started asking myself whether I actually have the time or even the creative capacity to paint anymore.

I began to ask myself what exactly it is I want to create and then why, why do I need to create it?

That question can be the most crippling thing as well as the most constructive. I have to admit that I have been experiencing something of an artist block in recent times. Each new idea is almost immediately deemed not worthy of exploring. For me this is something that I struggle with as I have been creating art for most of my life and while I am still actively creating illustrations, web designs and concept sketches they don’t feel quite as expressive as a large scale oil painting.

I have become hung up on what my painting had to say to an audience, trying to wrap each piece within some kind of deeper contextual meaning that I felt needed to revolutionise the medium of paint and storytelling. I became so hung up on depicting a narrative that I forgot about one of the most exciting & key elements in a painting; that being the process of making, the journey of trial & error, failure & euphoria.

The Creative Process

The style in which I work tends to remove any traces of my process very much from the artwork such a brush strokes and pencil marks, with elements rendered in a smooth meticulous way, detaching the creator from the work itself.

Recently I have begun to feel more of a pull towards painting again and it is being led by the desire to create in a new style or at least approach new techniques. I owe some of this new found desire to exploring the works and practices of artists old and new.

I decided to compile some works that I have found inspiring recently, specifically because they are technically so different to the style of my own works.

Jason Brinkerhoff

jason brinkerhoff

Jason Brinkerhoff’s work focuses the attention of the viewer towards the suggestion of lines. With gestural lines flowing across the page. This approach carves out space creating a division between the subject and the negative space of the paper surrounding it.

Carla Busuttil

carla busuttil

This artist depicts quite sinister characters within her work rendering them with a gestural technique that gives the work quite a playful innocence. Carla’s work slightly reminds me of the works of Jean Michelle Basquiat in a way. There is an edginess to them that I do quite like.

Changing the Approach

Back in the day I used to carry a sketch book around with me, I did a lot of drawing, nothing amazing but it was the basis of all of my ideas, in recent times though as I have become more reliant upon computers with my design work I moved my methods and practices towards digital mediums so all my ideas and sketches were conceived with Photoshop. I have now decided to go back to sketching ideas out no matter how bad I think it is, each idea will now be noted down, I have come to realise that the thing that I have been missing is that even bad concepts can spark great ideas, simply creating nothing at all will drastically reduce you’re creative productivity. I am certainly not going to force the issue but if something interesting pops into my head I will now make a point of putting something down on paper.

So here I am with a nice shiny new sketch book filled with blank pages. Now I just need to think of what to put in it. Hopefully in the coming months I can show off the results of the new sketch book and start to exhibit some new artwork.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *