In my experience as an artist, I’ve come to understand that the art-making process can break down the art-making cycle into three main stages: find, transform, and gift. Each stage serves its purpose in the creative journey and is essential to the final outcome.
The first stage, find, is where the creative process begins. It’s the inception phase, which often starts with a gaze. As artists, we must look closely and slowly around and within ourselves. Observe, dive in, and wonder. Don’t forget to listen at the same time. We must collect input from nature, other visual artists, or within ourselves. Gather things that interest us, speak to us, and awaken our spirit. Then research the things we love and notice patterns. Make unusual associations between familiar objects, materials, textures, forms, structures, and colours.
The second stage, transform, is where we take the gathered input and experiment with it. We must choose and reinvent, but to choose and reinvent is not to make. To me, it means to transform an ordinary thing into something extraordinary, to take a thing out of its familiar context, to dissociate it from its initial function, and to change something about it. In other words, it means to give a thing another life.
The final stage, gift, is where we transfer our sketches onto canvas or paper. It’s a pivotal phase in the creative process, where we bring our ideas to life. It’s a moment of great excitement but also one of great responsibility. As artists, we must remember that every wasted breath of inspiration is a wasted chance to make art.
Each stage serves its purpose in the creative journey and is essential to the final outcome. By understanding and embracing the art-making process, we can successfully deal with so-called “bad art” and create meaningful and impactful pieces. As Pablo Picasso said, “I do not seek, I find. It is a risk, a holy adventure.” So let’s embrace the uncertainty and take risks to create something beautiful.