Saturday, April 07, 2007

portable creativity

As artists, designers, photographers, sculptors, and “insert creative discipline here”, we are constantly looking for inspiration and a unique perspective…or at least we should be. We all struggle at times to find a reason for creating, a solid direction to follow for a particular project, or some other need that is preventing us from making progress on a current project(s). Sometimes it’s the act of “growing as an artist” that seems stifled. Whatever the reason, a journal can be the solution. One of my biggest reasons for starting an art journal was to engage in creative activities while outside of my work. Not that I wanted to photograph subjects 24/7, I just felt as if something was missing and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a journal was the answer. Not only could it serve as a source of inspiration but it could be an archive of notes, a list of objectives and goals for a given period of time, and most important an ongoing experiment.

Sitting in my workspace was a nice leather bound journal from Borders (very nice, two flaps of leather covering the pages, a small leather strap holds it closed) so I figured that was the best place to start. I’ll be honest, it was pretty daunting at first; so many pages and not the slightest idea as to what to fill them with. My first instinct was to start writing down everything from ideas for photography subjects to notes on my favorite artists and designers. Later, I added everything from blog article ideas to favorite websites and around six months ago, I began to add images. After filling quite a few pages, I felt as if my journal needed to be kicked up a notch. Images were the natural next step but I wanted to do it in a thoughtful way. I gathered all my design and photography magazines and cut out anything that grabbed my attention for more than a few moments; this included type, pictures, and illustrations...for all you graphic designers out there, you know how hard it was to get the courage to butcher up well designed magazines! That quickly led to cutting out whole paragraphs and eventually entire articles.

When gluing the images and forms to the journal pages, I pushed the limits of graphic design and created compositions that either supported the image/form or that made me curious as to how well they’d work from an editorial design standpoint. Sometimes I created spreads that were mundane and straightforward whereas other times, I’d use photos that needed to be folded over (sometimes for a reason and other times simply because I could). The more I engaged in this kind of activity, the more I got inspired and the more curious I became about type and its relation to concept and message. I began to break apart articles that interested me and adhere them to the journal pages in ways that where interesting to me or somehow supported the article’s content; other times, I had no idea why I did what I did, I just knew that’s the way I wanted to do it!

What I have now is a thick journal that is nothing short of an exciting work in progress. You might be asking what has come from all this. Simply put, I feel as if I have an outlet for exploration that also serves as a source for inspiration and information. At any given time, I can open my journal and flip through it perhaps finding something new or even adding to it. I can look at fascinating textures, interesting articles, or random thoughts that one day may serve as the spark for a great idea. The bottom line is that I now have a portable outlet that helps expose me to ideas and other creative disciplines while strengthening my own work and creativity.

Images from my journal:

inside front cover:

spread dedictated to typography:

another spread dedicated to typography:

random spread with one of my favorite
Jack Kerouac quotes:

random spread (left page focuses on expression,
right page tries to decide what "it" is):

intro to pages about what exactly "art" is:

spread showcasing an artists work:

a spread that deals with some interesting books:
a spread dealing with the conflict between elite
and "average" people (inspired by an article on
Henry Rollins):
a sample page from a section on quotes (I used
found typography to replace two of the words in
the quote):

a random spread:


ben huff said...

joe, good to see you back to your old bloggin' ways. i'm liking the journal- keep those photos coming. when do we get to see more of your recent photography?

kristen said...

don't you love art journaling? it just sometimes says more than words can...