Let’s get real.

So much of what it means to be a designer today is in and around the computer.

There is “edit, undo.”

Version history.

Multiplayer collaboration.

Design systems.

These things are not bad. They enable us to be faster, systematic, and more efficient designers.

While you can be extremely creative within those systems and tools, it’s a little different than the tools and frame of mind from our art education (remember that BFA that we spent 100k+ on?).

Mark making.

Figure-ground.

Expression.

Decisions.

Experimentation.

About 4 months ago I started going into the garage late at night, while my wife and baby daughter were asleep, to create artwork.

I want to be clear, I cringe a little inside when I say “artwork,” because I know how it sounds. But, that’s what it is.

These aren’t designs. These don’t have a problem they are solving. They don’t serve a function. These are expressions and feelings put on paper.

At first, they felt like large scale doodles.

I started there, for the most part, just putting down marks that reflect what I’d naturally doodle.

Then the fear came.

What do I make now?

How do I know where to make the first mark?

How will I know what looks good?

What if I mess up?

Why does it matter if I mess up? (oh, right, I’d be wasting material)

What if I just lean into it? (you mean, if I just don’t care?)

twoup twoup

So much of the beginning was struggle. I wasn’t really sure where I was going, or what I would make.

I would just begin, and that’s when magic happens.

With a piece of scrap wood on the table (yes, I started with using scrap wood laying around the garage) I begin a small mark-making exercise.

It was some of the most insignificant/useless pieces of wood that gave me permission to let my guard down. Most of which turned out to be the coolest pieces I made.

A large, store bought canvas carries an expectation of “don’t fuck it up, you just spent $30 on me, and this better be damn good.”

So I bought some cheap large format paper to do large-scale sketches.

And then peace came (even if just a little bit).

I don’t know what I’m about to make.

I’m just going to start.

This is about play.

I’m going to let myself make mistakes.

There is no brief, no plan, no edit > undo, no system; just your body, a tool, and a surface.

twoup twoup

Making art is about decision making.

I’m constantly in the struggle between the fear and peace of putting marks down on the page. Pushing forward some abstract intuition; creation with zero plan in mind.

Some of the time I do start with plan, but the best ones come naturally, like a gesture.

Our digitally designed world is that way it is so we can apply our craft very usefully to various enterprises and businesses.

It’s survival, and I love what I do.

But…

I was needing a space to just create.

In the garage.

Late at night.

Family asleep.

Just me, a tool, and a surface.

xs

Thanks for reading.

You can check out more work here.