Last week I put this up on the mirror doors in my studio. It's a "mind map" to help me get a handle on where I'm going with my work. For the past 2 years I've had to be pretty disciplined in sticking to creating work that fed into my masters. Now all that has opened up and I find my mind bubbling over with directions and ideas that I previously had to ignore, and I'm feeling really torn.
On the one hand I have a real drive to experiment with different media: all types of printmaking really excite me, as does encaustics (wax-based painting). I've played with bits and pieces of these over the years, but never made more than a couple of works using each of the different media. Printmaking does tie in really nicely with artists books of course, and it can also be used in installation work. I also have some ideas for using it in paper object-making.
I've been thinking about going back to the photos I took last year when I was overseas and the ephemera that I collected while traveling, and making work using that. The trouble with that is that it doesn't really fit in conceptually with the direction of my masters work. When I started the masters, one goal for me was to carve out a conceptual-basis for my work that justified (to my mind) my devoting my time to art-making, when I have skills I could be using to help others (occupational therapy). It's not that I don't value the contribution art of art in a society, I do, I definitely do, but it just felt that for me, it was somewhat self-indulgent.
The masters really expanded my understanding of the role of art in a society, and now I see the work I do as research. I'm using a visual language to explore multi-layered issues and concepts, and extend what can be understood through verbal means. So it is important to exercise some discipline and to follow somewhat logical lines of inquiry. I have a natural inclination to be entranced by new ideas and I have to restrain myself from just jumping from one idea to another quite unrelated idea. I think in the long term, the work I do will be more worthwhile if I work at keeping a reasonable degree of focus. Of course that doesn't mean there can't be a number of different strands...
Anyway, here is a close-up of my mind map:
(Click on the map to see it at a readable size)
It looks at the concepts, processes and source imagery I've developed so far, and sees them all as potential "feeding stimuli" for books. I've also included the idea of the cocoon and the box, which were forms I looked at using but didn't get a chance to develop in time for the masters. Finally I've included some older imagery that I am really attached to, and would like to extend further. It's just a way to have my starting points mapped out in front of me, and allow me to see which directions I can take.