by Nicholas Bivins
When I am planning what to make next, the revolving question of “what is the most important thing to make right now” is first question I start with. This question always deters me from chasing after every harebrained idea I come up with. I do know and strongly believe that work leads to work, and I have to start somewhere. But where to start? It can be a viscous cycle.
At this point of the analysis - paralysis cycle, I feel I can more clearly define the things I don’t want more than the things I do want. I start to make some guidelines to sharpen my focus. Now that I am academically employed and no longer dependent on my sales as income, I have decided I will not recreate work I have already made. There has to be some evolution or change, even if it’s minor. This stems from seeing shows that are titled “New Work : by So-and-So” and all of the work is the same as their last show five years ago, or even twenty years ago. If it’s too much a chore for me to make, it’s going to be a bore for you to look at.
This fall when I was trying to push the work forward, I took something from my teaching and put it into practice. One of my students asked for a Mishima demo, and I happily obliged. It brought back some nostalgic memories for me of when I was using Mishima in my work in graduate school and became just the spark I needed. The Mishima line drawings I was doing in grad school evolved into the decals I currently use, but doing the demo let me realize how much I liked doing it. It’s nice for me to be able to bounce back and forth between Mishima and decals. I have more freedom with the Mishima, and the lines show more handwork than the decals do. Its this aspect that captivates me currently. For some time now, I’ve been working with the balance of “how much evidence of handwork I put in, and how much I take out”, and the difference in line drawing with Mishima vs decals seems to pinpoint that dichotomy.