ART MATERIALS, METAPHORS  & IMAGINATION

"Creative Alchemy and Mindful Art Practices" 2019 - A series of articles by Roseline de Thelin, Multi Media Artist, Creativity Coach & Mentor, Expressive Arts Teacher & Art Therapist.

Mix media as a form of art making combines, collages and assembles an array of art materials. That means the artist needs to start collecting his/her “attractors” to create with. Attractors can be images, photographs, words or any kind of objects that lay forgotten or unnoticed around us and yet seam to be calling us silently. These art materials become our well of inspiration. Learning to listen to them with all our senses and respond to their inner life provides a natural starting point for creation. We need to cultivate our awareness as we dialogue with them, feel them, and observe their inherent qualities to discover their full creative potentials.

“Art materials are full of suggestions if we approach them un-aggressively, receptively. It is a source of unending stimulation and advises in most unexpected manner.”  Anni Albers in “Materials as metaphors”

On a Meta level I believe this is one of the many ways artistic expression can help us become more conscious creators. As we learn to be attentive to the world that surrounds us we might shift from a human centered consumer perspective towards a world-centered /participatory and conscious/ relationship to our environment.

Mix Media offers direct opportunities to explore how we relate and dialogue with the world around us. When creating assemblages and collages, we combine images, textures, materials and found objects of all kind that talk to us. Materials become alive through metaphors, engaging our imagination to create artworks that "tell a story".

Art making becomes a natural way to process information melding brain and hand. This is how creation can shift into a profound “meaning making” experience. The imagination engages while our inner story shapes into visual symbolic language.

That may happen in a pure “surrealist” manner as we embrace the element of chance, use attractors or dreams’ memories to tap into the unexpected source of inspiration that lays dormant in our unconscious.
It may also happen in a more “conscious” way, providing a space where important aspects of our life can be visited symbolically, like a deep question, a change, a loss, or an illness.

“Imagination is the bridge between body and soul. Metaphor is the language of the soul. Through a physical image, metaphor reveals a spiritual truth or condition.” Marion Woodman

The symbols and meaning that arise from the unconscious are remarkably visible in collage, offering us an uncommon encounter with ourselves. As the symbolic language of the unconscious speaks to us in images and metaphors through our collages, we are able to process, understand and integrate what is being revealed. In fact any aspect of our inner and outer life can be processed, integrated and transformed in new ways while bridging mind and hands in the process of art making.

In my Mix Media workshop we explore Scrapbooking as a contemporary art form. We use our Scrapbook as a source of inspiration to grow into larger size artworks on canvas and hard surface. Scrapbooking began as a domestic pursuit, a means to hoard memories, to preserve recipes, letters, cards, verse, photos, and stories. This form of compilation began in England during the fifteenth century and kept thriving. Contemporary artists have been transforming this tradition into an art form collaging found materials, personal mementos, and an array of other odds, to tell and shape their experience of the world.

“Without playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.” Carl.G.Jung

In one of my creative inspirational exercises we make collages with tissue paper. This is a playful and engaging way to explore colors, forms and layers, as we tire papers and release control over the outcome. The accidental and the unexpected guide us through a shape shifting process. We bypass the linear mind letting the hands create while our unconscious recognizes its own images, stories and metaphors. We then use these collages as a base to create our scrapbook or as an inspiration to collage on canvas or other surface.

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Read more about my MIX MEDIA workshop and apply for the October program.