Process As Product

"There's some mysterious process at work here, which I don't even want to understand."                                - Philip Guston

I am an archivist and a documenter by nature. I collect shells and stones and eggs and pods (and shot glasses). I have journals that date back to seventh grade and agenda's which range from little black Hermes books in high school through a full blown Filofax system (that grew to 5 books).  On entering the digital age, I constructed a database that tracks symbols used in my work based on my emotional state and "Process as Product" which is a collection of virtual projects documenting various aspects of my work.

Some of these projects (WIP Project, Starting With a Line) function as virtual flipbooks, allowing the viewer to follow the development of a painting.  Other projects document an interactive process (ArtPals, Left Hand/Right Hand) and deal with a communication between entities.  There are also the 5 journals (and Ocean View) that I paint in daily which comprise my visual diaries, the beach paintings which are about returning to something again and again because you love it so much, and a piece documenting a usually discarded aspect of studio life (Core Samples).  In bringing these pieces together, I hope to create a fuller understanding of process in general, to engage the viewer in the leaps and crashes of the creative journey, to bring focus to the voyage as opposed to the destination and to strengthen an awareness of the collective (as I am sure many will recognize pieces of themselves in the motivation behind projects).

Process and product are inextricably linked.  The human experience has always involved searching for answers, delving into the mysteries, asking why?  Along the way come startling discoveries, individual gems that represent a truth at that time.  When we study civilization this is what we examine: how the questions were asked, the pitfalls that were encountered along the way and the individual discoveries that continue to hold resonance for us.  Some of us do this through religion, others through science and others through the arts.

Immersing oneself in the process brings an understanding of the development of culture and how we got to where we are today.  Experiencing a single work allows us to contemplate beauty, genius, truth and their counterparts.  Reading a book, for example gives us a slice of life, creating a window into another world, into another thought structure.  Reading the complete works of an author allows one to experience the whole creative process, to see how ideas develop, it gives us an understanding of individual nuance and we feel the cycles of successful exploration and embarking on failed avenues.  Both experiences are valuable for the different answers they reveal.

In painting, we see this when we explore a body of work vs. focus on a individual image.  The single painting can launch any number of experiences: it can be a leaping off point for reverie, bring a moment or a lifetime of pleasure, provide a respite from the world,  it can reveal good or evil,  it can expose one to another way of seeing that can be brought into daily life.

Process can be experienced through a visit to an artist's studio, a retrospective exhibition or through periodic documentation as presented here.  Immersion in an artist's process allows one to swim in the sea of human development, to witness first-hand how ideas grow and change; the ebb and flow mimicking the cycles of nature.  By examining process we witness a microcosm of the birth and development of civilization, we can go down the false paths, we witness inevitable frustrations and experience the seemingly unsalvageable transformed into the transcendent.

Some are more tuned towards the singular, the one, the goal, the ultimate.  Others are spurred forward by the journey, the development, the evolution, the quest.  Neither is more important, nor do they exist without the other.  When one (person or culture) asks questions, answers are found.  Along this continual journey truths are discovered, but truths change the deeper one delves, hence the journey never ends nor does the making of images, the writing of books, or the technological breakthroughs.  Some search to find the answers; some to experience the journey, when the journey itself is viewed as a complete experience it can be called: process as product.