ACCIDENTS, INTENTION & EMERGENCE IN DIGITAL & HANDS-ON ART MAKING

"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.

Weaving the intentional and the accidental in my art making is a never ending source of inspiration. I experience a state of exhilaration when I am patient enough to let a dialogue unfold between generating beauty through accidents/chaos/irrational moves and intentionally accompanying the shaping of novel structures or harmonic patterns within the chaos. When this dialogue leads the art making “the third” emerges and the work starts shaping in renewed unexpected and uplifting ways. 

"Presencing and Essencing" (Heidegger) a fresh new work that is birthing through my hands is like tasting for a moment the effortlessness of the Zen master, the pure connection to the creative flow. This is a kind of bliss that cant be controlled or captured, it unconditionally asks for humble and complete presence free of the projections and judgments of the ego. Timelessness meets timeliness, as the artist/creator witnesses the past shaping into a new now, the future in making.

Leonardo da Vinci advised the budding artist to stare at the stains on walls: ‘If you look upon an old wall covered with dirt, or the odd appearance of some streaked stones, you may discover several things like landscapes, battles, clouds, uncommon attitudes, humorous faces, draperies, etc. Out of this confused mass of objects, the mind will be furnished with an abundance of designs and subjects perfectly new.’

Leonardo’s technique, which encouraged the viewer to search for meaningful shapes in chaos, referred back to myths about the origin of art in accidental shapes. This is what I call the awakening of the artist way of seeing, hunting beauty every where and mostly where it is unexpected.

I seam to be always attracted by the edges of the paper, the sides of the canvas or what accidently happened around the work. I see such beauty surfacing at times on the edges of the work.

To create these two Landscapes Scrapbooks, I torn, painted, collaged, cut and reconstructed a large piece of paper into a book. The result is a layering of accidental organic edges resembling a landscape of hills and clouds on the horizon.

Then I wrote a HAIKU poem …

Earth horizon dreams
Time nests in the bridge between
Fly my curious eye

A HAIKU is a Japanese poetic form, which essence is “cutting” and juxtaposing 2 images or ideas. It is composed of 17 syllables (5,7,5). This traditional poetic form is very close to surrealism …

Surrealism took over “chance art” and opened the gate to the creative potential of the unconscious mind through the free play of “irrational” and unexpected associations/juxtapositions of images. Later acts of deconstructing and reconstructing revealed a new generation of artistic possibilities and meanings, mirroring our fragmented contemporary culture.

If “imagination operates by making fresh links between previously separate entities” (Shaun McNiff) and emergence occurs when an entirely new entity arises out of chaos with properties that its parts do not have on their own; I feel “chance art” and imagination, the art of weaving the intentional and the accidental, could be a way to navigate the high levels of complexity of our cyber time, a way to actively participate to the making of our future.

Scientifically “Emergence is the spontaneous arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties within chaos during the process of self-organization in complex systems” (Jeffrey Goldstein)

I feel driven by on going emergence when creating with digital tools. There is such freedom, aliveness and spontaneity in playing with juxtapositions, layers, effects, and distorting tools of all kinds. The time acceleration of possibilities and discoveries is just so playful. Yet digital creation tends to disconnect me from my body and my being present to my surrounding. I dive into a virtual imaginal rabbit hole where I am an omnipotent creator. I realise how much I also need and long for the embodied timeless "poiesis" of pouring paint, brushing, dripping, spotting, scraping, cutting, gluing and slowing down to the organic earthy time of matter. 

This year more than ever I keep walking back and forth the bridge between hands-on and digital creation. I am searching for a new hybrid liminal artistic language emerging between real and virtual, between the timeless and the timely, between past and future, in the birthing “presencing and essencing” of an eternal “new now”.

I call these surrealist digital collages “Dreamscapes” and in this triptych I explore the theme of Ancestors combining photographs of African masks from a friend private collection, photographs of bodies covered with clay from one of my workshops, photographs of Ibiza and optical textures.

Let me know if this article inspired you. You can subscribe to my news letter and follow me on Instagram for weekly fresh art and inspiration ...

Read more about my art workshops and join my studio program.