The majority of the projects we undertake in Artizan have a digital focus so we felt it was high time for the creative team to indulge in some handmade creativity and exercise our artistic talent offline.
Inspired by what we saw and heard at Offset 2019, we decided to undertake a personal project as a part of a team exercise. No digital input or output is allowed. Whatever we produce has to be handmade. At the start of each month, we will give ourselves a theme for inspiration and at the end of the month, we share what we have created.
For the month of April, our theme was "New Beginnings". Below we share our work and a personal account of the process.
Like any other project that comes up, "New Beginnings" was no different. At first I panicked. “Will I come up with a nice idea? Do I have the skills? Can I doodle? We have a deadline?! I'm never going to finish it!”
So I take a deep breath and stop thinking about it for a while.
When I start a project, especially if it's not on the computer, I try not to think about it until an idea comes up. I happened to be reading "The Pilgrimage" by Paulo Coelho and came across the "Seed Exercise" in which you imagine yourself being a seed rising from the ground towards the sun, growing from nothing to something. The seed doesn’t grow fast, it has to go through the pain, the patience, and the process, just like my creative process, so it felt like the perfect idea!
In the beginning, I thought about a hand rising from the ground intertwined with tree branches. As I started to draw it I decided that the tree and the hand would actually be intertwined as one which ended up giving it a zombie-like look.
I really enjoy pointillism as it requires a lot of patience, so I can put on my headphones and draw for hours. It's a great escape from the computer and it actually helps me to clear my mind.
I'm a procrastinator, so most of my drawings never get to the final stage. I really enjoyed having a deadline and being part of a team project because I knew this wasn't involving only me and I had to finish it. Was also really nice to see the different ideas and techniques that Zanya and Laura presented.
I’m not a natural illustrator like Laura and Lucas. I’m more comfortable with paint and love the smooth feeling of a paintbrush moving fluidly across a surface.
The idea for “New Beginnings” came to me pretty quickly. I thought about the path many people stay on even if they’re tired, burnt out, bored or disillusioned. Yet the idea of taking a risk and a leap of faith into a new career or out of a relationship or going against expectations often feels too daunting to undertake. Many consider it, but not many do it.
I wanted to make the path a winding one – very few journeys happen without twists and turns even if you have clear goals and strategies. I wanted the path to also feel narrow with no alternative routes, allowing limited room to move laterally. And also for it to be high – making it seem scary to deviate and jump off.
The people on the path are in silhouette, all going the same way, sharing the same colour as the cliff-like walls on which they’re walking, showing their attachment to the track they're on.
For the diving figurine, I wanted to paint her in a pose of complete surrender - fully committing to the unknown but trusting in her choice. No looking back, only forwards. Usually, when the decision to jump into something new is driven by a passion for something specific or simply something better, it’s rarely regretted and usually leads to more interesting opportunities and fulfillment. I wanted to portray this feeling of daring to pursue something outside the box as rewarding. The butterflies are symbols of lightness and liberation – I tried a few times to make the body dissolve into them but I didn’t really manage it.
Painting for this team project was really enjoyable for me as I hadn’t put brush to canvas for a number of months. Having a deadline and being part of a team project ensured it was prioritised in my spare time. I found myself really looking forward to seeing what Lucas and Laura had created.
I was thinking a lot about the promises we make to ourselves every day. A lot of the time, we don’t even remember what we committed to do by the following day. Some believe that for things to manifest into reality, one has to set a sincere intention so to start a powerful inner process, that will lead towards the desired outcome.
Often intentions are set at various ceremonies. Shamanic props, musical instruments, and other objects are used to help participants make a commitment to themselves. I am fascinated by rituals and their purpose. Some of the rituals we create unconsciously, such as our morning routines. We rely on rituals to make us feel better, to cultivate gratitude, and to nourish our own self-esteem.
So I created an ‘Intentions activator’, to act as a prop to set intentions. By standing on it, and making a commitment, the promise you make to yourself feels somehow special and is more likely to stick, because of the little ritual that is created around it.
As I was drawing this piece I was also setting my own intentions, singing songs and even pulled out a sacred mantra or two. I have no doubt, that once I’m finished with it, the ‘Intention activator’ is going to have a mind of its own.
I am drawn to mythology and have never grown out of love for fairy-tales, so I incorporated some ideas around the 4 elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Wind) and other symbols connected to these elements.
I love doodling freestyle - no rubbers, no pencils - just the finest ink pen, a piece of paper and my thoughts. 9 times out of 10, I have no idea what is going to show up on the page. Even though my doodles are very time-consuming and laborious, the element of surprise after pulling away from a covered sheet of paper never gets old.
So if you ever get a chance to visit our studio in Merrion square, and you intend to make a promise to yourself for the future - just place it on the floor, take a stand in the centre and make a wish. And remember, always be careful what you wish for.