Sunday, 18 February 2018

Where I Work

My most recent post on Instagram was about my office. Okay, that’s a bit risky. I’m more or less a private person (despite the blogs). And the pic kinda does go there a bit.

Why are there skeletons around your desk, Tristis?
It still looks messy.
How can you work here?

People can zoom in and see things like the word “Procrastination” on my wall. It’s not done. The full statement is “Procrastination is the fear of required perfection.” Ironic, I know, but sincerely done. Now it’s a reminder that even telling yourself that you don’t have to be perfect doesn’t free you from the anxiety.

And the skeletons. Oh, so many bony bits and bobs all over my world. I have had people refuse to work with me after seeing my office. I get the notion they maybe thought I worship Satan or something. Hard to say, when they don’t explain themselves, or speak directly to me any longer. 

Relax. They’re for reference. 

Okay, I also think bones are interesting on their own, but I was using them for reference on a novel…then just kept collecting. Even though they’re the thing most people associate with me, they’re far from the only thing I collect—and, hey, another thing is teapots, so…not so Satany now, am I?

Another thing is books. I have a serious addiction to books. I collect all kinds, although I prefer reference books like dictionaries and encyclopedias. I also have a wide range of art and design books. And a personal favourite is pop-up.

I wax poetic on books and the collection of them in my other blog—which focuses on writing—Domus Comm. I decided a while back that I needed to explain my library. I’ve been curating it for a while now and have some very interesting books (and assorted things among the books). But my family and friends see only the bulk and thinking of its value—or deadweight, as some describe it—instead of the books themselves. They’re not seeing the trees for the forest, so to speak. 

This blog is supposed to be about art, though, so back to that:

For the record, my studio also stays pretty messy. I clean it up frequently, and clean it out every so often, but it is a room full of stuff to make stuff, so it's never actually clean.

I don't have a lot of pictures of it. That's pretty much accidental. I would actually like to document my work when I make art, because I so often forget how I do things. Alas, however, it's pretty rare to have a shot of it.

I’m not sure how artistically pleasing anybody else finds the myriad of things I gather around myself, but I enjoy it all. I got a notion, though, a while back about how other people respond to it. Okay, this was actually years ago and it was a different office, but (and this shouldn’t be a surprise) kinda the same look and feel. 
A prior office

We held a party for a bunch of community radio folks. This was a creative bunch. Some were musicians, some writers, some artists. They had our entire, very tidy and uncluttered house to hang out in, but everybody ended up sitting around my tiny office on the floor (not nearly enough seating) talking over drinks. I marvelled a bit afterward, until I thought about how all my weird little collectables make me feel—the cacophony of colour, shape and texture; the cluster of story (formed, half-formed, hinted at); the overlapping symbols of moments; together they provide a cushion of distraction from what is otherwise a cold world of sameness and other peoples’ purpose.

During a tour of the Museum of American History a couple of years back I came across the “desk” of a famous author. I can’t remember whose, and damned if I can find the pic I took of it, but the point of the display was to show how this man worked, what he surrounded himself with and what level of construction he was comfortable with (his desk was partially plywood). I felt vindicated then, and I guess a bit more now. This is how I work. I could win a billion dollars, move to a mansion, have servants waiting on me hand and foot and I’d STILL have this sort of space to create in. 

The Virgos in my life will just have to learn to cope.

Cartoon of me as a Victorian at work by Lisa Pardy

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