Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bricks in the foundation...searching for the creative nexus.

Searching for the creative nexus. Blue felt pen. 8-1/2" X 11" 2015

The unexamined life is not worth living.
Socrates, in Plato, Dialogues, Apology
Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC - 399 BC)

Finding the starting point for your chosen profession is not easy. We often miss the simple decisions that lend us to our place in this world. It may have been something buried deep in our subconscious or an event that was transformative. Trying to identify  this elusive nexus has helped me understand more about the meaning of self and consciousness. 

Very deeply imbedded in my mind is a warm memory of my Mom making small boats and hats out of paper scraps. We would sit on the floor, put on our hats and sail the boats on a sea of wooden flooring, around cliffs of furniture and landing on the edge of a carpet island.  The island was patterned with lush floral images and teeming wild imaginary animals.  We would travel the world and evade sinister pirates and terrible storms.  That small connection to the past is  imprinted on my mind. It is  the basis of my interested in manipulation of material and creative imagery. Throughout the years, I would amuse my students with this simple paper folding. I would create voyages for them using nothing more than simple materials and mental creativity. We would put on our creative hats and explore the world. When I fold scraps of paper to make boats for my grandchildren, I am transported back to those wonderful adventures with my mom and students. That early exposure may have been the cornerstone of my artistic foundation.  Many more creative bricks were added each year of my life.

Another brick was placed in the foundation when I was in seventh grade. My mom gave me a large scrap of brown wrapping paper and challenged me to make a picture. It was near Easter, and my mom suggested that I make a picture to celebrate Easter. I decided I would make a picture of an Easter bunny. Since I was attending Saint Mary’s Catholic  grade school, my mom suggested that this secular image would not be appropriate. Undeterred by political correctness, I proceeded with the pagan symbolism. However, a simple decision changed what could have been an embarrassment into an artistic triumph. I added a basket filled with eggs decorated with Christian symbols that the bunny was offering to the heavens. The manipulation of materials and creative story telling showed me the way and solved the problem. My mom kept that picture with her for many years.  She shared the picture with everyone and I remember how carefully she would unfold and spread the tattered image on the floor for all to see.

Rediscovering the bricks that support my creative mindset is an ongoing projects. Bits and pieces of images are revealed that contain codes the mind keeps under lock and key. Examining the symbols within my spontaneous drawings and paintings continue to reveal secrets from the recesses of my unconscious mind.

"Things hidden in my head" Copyright 2015 © Ronald D. Isom, Sr.

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