Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Phase 8 - not all time is the same - find focus

You know when I said last week that I wasn't going to focus on making more new things?...
cough-self-deception-cough, cough)) ;)
The theme for phase 8 - "Not all time is the same - find focus" grows out of my musings on things taking longer than I anticipate.  In shifting my focus from space to time management for the Tempus Fugit project, I decided to do some research to get started. (Funny pattern that emerged in phase 7 - All the books that have influenced me the most recently (by Thoreau, Gretchen Rubin, Charles Duhigg, and Daniel Kahneman) have been audio books that I listened to while walking and cleaning (plus, they were all free - from the library or librivox - so no fancy cups of coffee were sacrificed - double smiley face)).

I got the ball rolling by listening to The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. The book assumes a separation between income-producing activity and vocation that I'm still undecided on, but I found it interesting in terms of managing a business that adds abstract value (Ferriss focuses on nutritional supplements and IT, but I think art-making could also fall under this heading.) One idea I found interesting and decided to test - Ferriss asserts that attention is more valuable than time because meaningful action requires focus which, in turn, depends on minimizing distractions. (A favorite quote of mine from Thoreau puts it this way “It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?” - as a picture person, I "talk about" this by including ants in almost every art piece I make ;)). Ferriss recommends a few strategies to minimize "busy work" (distractions) and increase the amount of attention available self-selected priorities: automation, batching, and task elimination. I'm taking a step toward this by eliminating some things from my "life to do" list.

I'm super-excited about this week's work!

A break down of the parts:
The  overall technique developed out of Miniature #33 of March 2012. The portrait portion is a second pass at a drawing from September that I wasn't happy with (and has been  on the studio wall since then, waiting to become something more than "adequate.")  I finally included the city photo I was so excited about in January. The designs in the circles at the top are the tiny prints from the fall and winter. The column bases and Medieval cities and rocks are from photos I took at the Art Institute of Chicago over the weekend (more about that later - my heart be still!). The gold stamps are the same that appear in The Framed (black scroll work) and The Open-hearted, and the repeating birds take the place of the figures in The Refrain (all on view at: The landscape was inspired by Italy. I reused some of the plants from "Neo-Gothic" of two weeks ago and the map pieces were scraps from the recent Fortuna and some of the pattern fabric and columns are left over from Lacrimae Rerum (big collage).

That's a break down of where the stuff comes from (probably more than anyone ever wanted to know ;)) - but what is it?  The whole thing is adhered to a foam core poster display board (like the kind used for science fair displays!) The sides fold over the front (the pieces in the photo are a little wonky because I haven't permanently adhered them yet). It's self-protecting and super light-weight to move and ship. It can either stand on a table or be mounted to a wall. (Plus I get to decorate the back :)). The edges will be finished off with fabric tape like the edges of a board game.

To me, the whole thing feels like an idiosyncratic conglomeration of  school project + board game + Medieval Italian triptych/Cosmateque work.

On the one hand, occupying a space with enough continuity to bring the elements together (not just conceptually, but literally - having all the materials at hand and organized enough to find quickly and easily) has been critically important for me; but (but...) it seems like having distraction-free time is also essential. Hmmmmm- I'm rambling (I know I do) but to summarize:

I made something new this week that builds on past work, and I'm over-the-moon happy, because I feel like I'm starting to make the work I most want to make. (Thumbs up :D !!!)

I love to photograph "repetition with variations" 
and couldn't resist this - 
purring and dozing in harmony on "their" bed.

Kitty update - Mini had her first vet visit (she's healthy and was very brave.) (Warning:  proud-kitty-parent-gush ahead -) I'm amazed that 2 lbs of mass can contain all the tiny, perfect pieces that work together to propel this rambunctious, soft, little creature ( She's already a "helper," and she and Sunny are "adjusting" to one another.