AIArt Inquisition

Art Inquisition: How do you work best?

I can’t stand to have people watching me work. Drawing, designing, building, coding, what have you… even an idly curious “whatcha doin’?” will have me hovering over whatever I’m doing muttering preciousssssss. Unless I know EXACTLY what I’m doing, how it’s going to turn out, and what to do if something goes Horribly Wrong, doing any sort of demonstration is my idea of a stress-laden nightmare. To be completely honest, I really prefer to work in a space with nobody else in it, and with no possibility of anyone else coming in. I am an artistic misanthrope.

I prefer to have lots of time to make things. (Ok, who doesn’t?) I don’t want to be interrupted, I don’t want to stop halfway through… art classes with ending bells were incredibly awkward for me, and I was rarely to the next class on time. If I don’t know that I have X number of hours to either finish a project or get to a stopping point, I often won’t even bother to start. Hooray for umpteen ideas rolling around my head with “no” way out! It’s a fine excuse for never starting everything, and I really need to stop using this as one. The ideal time to do things is now, right?

The things I make have to be finished, or as close to finished as I can get them, before I want to let anyone else see them. I want them to be GOOD, so nobody gets to see my half-finished sketches or my ideas. Worse, nobody gets to see my process. It’s very hard for me to show anyone the things I’m working on. Between this and my first point, I do very little creative work outside my apartment except for at work.

I also like quiet, perhaps a holdover from my bartending days where I wanted nothing more than to come home, wash the cigarette smoke out of my hair, and finally be away from people screaming, “HEY! TURN IT UP!” over a jukebox that was already turned up to eleven.

Really, I think I need a cave.

But when it comes down to it, I just like making things. I collect a pile of stuff on my bed and start sticking things together. I decide I need a better graph and try to write a snippet that will pull data from somewhere and display it better. I can’t find my good pencils/markers/paper and end up figuring out the hazards of ball-point on gloss paper, or discover just why origami paper is so thin.

I think there are a lot of y’all out there who would agree with one, all, a few, perhaps none of my above wishes for an ideal creative situation. But some folks can’t function without music. Others live on short deadlines or the constant input of others. So how about you? What’s your ideal working situation? Do you need external inspiration? Do you get out of doors or hide in your room? Can you scribble on bar napkins and receipts, or do you require only your favorite materials? Do you have a studio, a drafting table, a dedicated art-y space? A favorite tree to climb? A need for periodic vacations/conferences/strong drinks? What’s your ideal creative environment?

The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. It used to appear on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET… maybe we’ll just try for Wednesdays this go ’round. Make with the comments!

Beth Voigt

Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and sticky public transit and is only on her second smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don't like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around. If external links are your thing, here are links to Twitter and Instagram, and you can support her ongoing weirdness by buying her a coffee or six.

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