“As we mature, all of us learn to ‘put away childish things.’ Often, though, we do such a good job of growing up that we lose contact with our spontaneity, teaching ourselves to follow rules and habits that inhibit us from acting on our hunches and intuition.”
— W. Clement Stone
One of my earliest entries at this site made mention of the intuitive response in our process of collage creation. I have continued to ponder this idea of making visual decisions without conscious thought, especially after a lengthy discussion at the Collage Critique group in the facebook realm. There is something to be said for intuitive spontaneity with no preconceived notions, in contrast to the methodical execution of a concept. Collage as a medium is diverse enough to embody both approaches and everything in between. In my opinion, there is ample “non-thought thinking” taking place, even when no “idea” is driving the process. On the other hand, most of us can tell when a piece is struggling to be more than a mere stew of ingredients and the temptation to declare it “finished” should be resisted.
Personally, it is no longer possible for me to imagine coming to this activity without the foundation of art education, a rigorous training in graphic design, and 40 years of practice as a creative professional. I suspect that I have internalized all this to become part of an inner resource, so that when, at the conscious level, I put all of it out of mind, it still informs each spontaneous visual choice and the sense of something appearing “right” to the eye. Deciding that “an ingredient in play” has the right color, the right value, the right shape, the right texture, or the right spatial role often happens without rational awareness. That is my goal, at any rate, to keep such “non-thinking thought” in motion for as long as possible before I find myself falling back into outer rumination. It is not only a matter of aesthetics. The same phenomenon applies to thematic or symbolic associations, and the overall process of ingredient acquisition and selection that initiates and sustains the whole affair. Not that there is anything undesirable or distasteful about planning, calculation, and a deliberate methodology. Far from it. Nearly every work of art will involve some of that. It just happens to be that what I am most hoping to take place is something else — that the flow of assembly leading to a stimulating but balanced effect is the result of an artistic intention deeper than conscious decision making.
collage miniature by J A Dixon
8 x 10 inches
available for purchase