“Wanting to know something you do not know is the creative process.”
I recently became familiar with the book ‘The Storm of Creativity,’ from which this quote is taken while preparing for a class taught by Sybylla Smith. The idea intrigued me, and as I ruminated over it an entirely new concept began to take shape. Just like a storm gathering momentum, I collected elements that would become the whole.
The fascinating thing about a storm is that you never really know where it will track. Will it head out to sea or slam directly on shore? Will it gather all it’s force and become something entirely unexpected or will it fizzle out and leave without an impact?
“Storms Inside Us” began very differently in my imagination. I experimented with light-colored paint washes over the print, pearlescent papers, and muted colors. But the work felt forced and not quite right. I thought I might have something with an entirely new process but it was not to be, at least not yet. I finally let go of all preconceived notions of what the work should look like and the series emerged effortlessly. Am I surprised? No, this has happened many times before, which is why I resonated so well with Kyna Leski’s book …
“Creativity requires an open mind. An open mind springs from unlearning, which rids us of preconceptions.”
“A creative process comes from displacing, disturbing, and destabilizing what you (think you) know.”
“This is a central principle: preconceptions hinder creativity.”
“Storms Inside Us” is about those complex feelings of instability, vulnerability, and fear or trepidation. Circumstance, upbringing, inherited neurological traits all contribute to the complex processes that affect our subconscious thought. Sometimes it feels like we have no control over what comes at us or goes on inside us. Like a storm, we cannot seem to track it. And sometimes, it feels like colliding storm systems, powerful yet exhilarating.
The work is a continuation of my broader ‘Emotion’ project. Several hand-painted overlays were used in each image, judiciously placed and blended. Digital collage and decollage processes were also incorporated. The obvious difference in this series from much of my previous work is color and style. Strength of character is depicted by the strong contrast and clarity in the subject, color connects us to a sense of alertness and sparks of brain activity, “beauty in the chaos.”
A special thanks to Sybylla Smith for sparking a stronger aesthetic in me.
To Stacey Schuler for the concept of “beauty in the chaos.”
To Corie Pritchette for being the always willing model.
To view the entire collection visit karenolsonphotography.com/portfolio/storms-inside-us/
To purchase a print visit this page.