My Creative Process

Posted on February 3, 2015

Interview for the New School.

How does your drawing practice inform your thinking?

Creating art comes from thought – which is directed by the intention or desire to create. I try to be thoughtless when I execute a work of art. When I do think – I meditate on paradigms of value, mark making and direction (perspective) as well as composition through intense observation – to help inform the work. This filters into my day-to-day life, even when I am not painting or drawing. I feel the balance and organization of creating a drawing has become infused with my very existence. The search for beauty, excitement, or a certain recognition that all the elements relate in what we see – has become my life’s pursuit.

What do you see as the value of drawing in a larger sense?

Drawing and painting is an invaluable tool for navigating through the world. I feel I am privy to communication with everyone, at all levels of life, not just a few – through my art. My very being is rooted in the fundamental virtues of being an artist, which helps clarify my plight as a creative person. For me it is knowing that the unknown exists, debunking the myth of light and creation, which never ends!

What is the greatest struggle that you see your students work through in your drawing classes and how do you facilitate their learning to grapple with things that come up for them?

The greatest struggle is with being human. The inherent distrust that they have in being the age they are, being away from home, peers, drugs, diet, attitude, etc. I try to inform the students how important it is to purge yourself of these base desires before coming to the easel, to master your thoughts and come prepared –as a fighter or a chef would. I encourage everyone to keep a journal and write out all thoughts before creating, so as not to put your self in the way of being a clear channel.

More technically, tonality (value) and composition are the first two things that rear its ugly head. I tell the students to adopt a prolific master painter, and keep a scrapbook on them. My approach is to pull from what they are doing already, and enhance that through either cropping the image, approaching the marks/graphics differently and/or seeing value mass and relating it to another easier to read value mass. They also have to keep a sketchbook and to use it daily for sketching.

My students have no problem with expression, most can pull an exciting array of line and mark from their brains, once directed to do so. I demonstrate the gamut of creative approaches in demonstration, so as to reveal a multi prong attack on executing something unique and original. I also bring up the aspect of intention and love/passion in my teaching. To have the intention to create something out of inspired energy is tantamount to creative expression and masterful outcome.

It is important for students to be reminded of this, that creativity and life is rooted in love and inspiration.

How does the teaching aspect of your practice affect your professional practice and your own projects?

Teaching for me builds compassion. I am eternally grateful to my students for giving me this lesson. I find the creative means of describing situations or goals/outcomes are far easier when compassion is applied. Teaching is about building inspiration, trust and hope. These are all virtues I try to put back into my work, and in dealings with my business people and partners.

For me painting and drawing are intrinsically connected to my Self and center of being. Through this journey of seeing things by breaking down tone, mass, weight, line, composition, perspective, color, value and expression – I in turn live my life this way – with passion.

I see how detachment from outcome (of art) is most important. To see that the creation has its own life, that we just guide and make it better – is key. I enjoy acknowledging this and giving it meaning through teaching. It is rooted in the journey being the most important aspect to the trip, the outcome will reveal itself in time – we just have to be prepared on our way.

-Gavin Spielman April 25, 2012

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