Fables de la Fontaine. Book in Progress (post 33)
Here’s a picture of the little corner where I created the 8 illustrations for the book. Instead of going up here I improvised a mini work station in our master bedroom. That way I was able to stay closer to the kids during that intense time and I could also work at night when my outside and inside world is a lot quieter.
While taking the picture above a whole series of ideas came to my mind about space, the material world, creativity etc. Today I would like to share them with you:
Several years ago I used to think that having a studio was the ultimate way to confirm that an artist was a real artist.
My whole life I dreamed about having a real studio, exactly like the one that I have now. When Bill and I moved to our new house almost 9 years ago I was thrilled to finally have a real studio, which is located in the back of our home. I adore my studio. But I discovered that the space where you create doesn’t really define you as an artist at all.
I go back to the time when I had nothing, no studio or even house. The most extreme place where I lived was a small tiny room, about the size of a queen bed. There was no kitchen or anything in there. I had a miniature bathroom where I could hardly fit. I didn’t even have a real bed. All I had was this set of 2 baby mattresses that I displayed next to each other at night. That’s where I slept.
But I remember that time as one of the most creative periods of my life. The only tools I had were a couple of regular writing pencils and a few blank sheets of paper. Regarding food I had very little as well. Basically crackers and guava jam. I had to carefully plan my daily portions of food so I could feed myself properly during the week. I had to do the same thing with the pencils and paper. But I managed to survive and even feel happy.
At night I had a ritual. I put a wooden board on my lap (that was my table) and then I got the pencils and papers and I drew tiny little fantastic worlds for hours. I made a whole series of those drawings, they were beautiful and very detailed. While drawing at night on my improvised table I felt pretty hungry, but I also felt lucky. I learned that imagination only needed the most basic conditions to get into action.
Now that my life is a lot more complex because I have a family, a house, a car, a studio…I have started to need simplicity more than ever.
Having all the basic material needs covered is super nice, I know that very well because I come from having nothing at all which is really hard. It’s wonderful to have water in your house 24 hours a day and a refrigerator and toilet paper and other luxuries that we take for granted sometimes. BUT, material things are tricky if you base your dreams on them.
If we blame the material world for what we’re not doing then we won’t be able to go anywhere. We need to make use of our secret super powers. The real key to progress and personal growth in my opinion has nothing to do with the objects that we own but with the dreams and ideas that we own and our desire to bring them to life.
Art and creativity are not a destination in my opinion, something that you will get at one day when the conditions are created. For the artist art should be like a vehicle, something that helps us stay alive and in motion so we can go to places, have experiences and learn new things.
Weather you have a super duper studio or a corner in the kitchen. What really matters is to have a spacious mind filled with dreams and ideas and positive energy so can feel powerful and energized to take real steps toward progress. Let’s not forget that some of the most amazing master pieces ever created by humans were made in caves, under the hardest conditions ever and using primitive materials found in nature:
Creating the illustrations for the book in a little corner of our bedroom made me remember the old times when I had to improvise a studio everyday. It made me remember that our desire to stay alive creatively, to move forward and make thinks happen is possible under whatever conditions we have. Creating the 8 illustrations for the book was wonderful. But it was also hard, because I have lots of other important things to take care of. I was in fact going to reject this project in the first place to be honest. But I realized that there isn’t an ideal time for making our dreams come true. Life will always be hard for one reason or another. But as long as we don’t abandon our capacity to adapt and dream and act, we will always keep moving forward.
Have a wonderful day!