I draw nearly every day using ballpoint pen. It is a meditative practice that I do on the train during my two hour commute. I start every small drawing the same way, with a mark and a rule for how to repeat it. A rule usually describes how different the next mark can be from the previous one. I try to rigorously adhere to the rules. Once this process is set in motion, I let go and see where it takes me. Each mark is a small yet conscious decision, but I work quickly enough that it does not feel that way. In fact I often feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. Surrendering to the process I have the sensation of being an observer watching myself work.
If a drawing seems to stall under the weight of too much homogeneity I will loosen the rule or introduce another system to allow for greater diversity. I think of my smaller drawings as mini physics calculations or simulations. Like trying to build my own universe from scratch, or as we say in physics from first principles. The development of each drawing mimics the process of growth with a built-in mechanism for mutation – the inability of my hand or my mind to remain free of error. In fact I’ve come to see errors as acts of creation.
The smaller drawings are done serially. Larger drawings inspired by the results of small drawings are made in parallel in the studio. The process is typically the same, though the results can be very different.
I experience two distinct sensations when I draw. One is the feeling that I’m busy at work making mark after mark. I enjoy having a strong sense of purpose. When I’m drawing on the train, I have a fantasy that my drawing helps the train run. The other sensation is that of an observer. I watch as if I have no idea what’s coming next. Every new move is a surprise. I even feel a sense of admiration for how the person drawing seems to create this universe out of his imagination.
Other ongoing explorations include paintings on paper, bottle cap wall hangings, paper folding, and wood carving. In the exhibit Accidental Degeneracies I am creating my first large scale oil pastel drawing.