Rise! Sadness is an energy!

  Paraphrasing Johnny Rotten I believe this is the propelling force beyond my art. Rising beyond any personal circumstances and psychological traits which might be at play and might have given the initial impulse, I see it as tapping into some vital resources from which the inspiration is being born.


Let me continue with the quote from a book by Eric G Wilson “Against Happiness. In Praise of Melancholy” Preaching/apocalyptic undertones apart, I think it brilliantly captures the tendency emerging in the contemporary mindset which putting all the dark superstitions behind, bundled and tossed away melancholy together with them, as if it it belonged to the same category.

“Even as I write, the polar ice caps are melting. (…) We are also close to annihilating hundreds of exquisite animals. (…)  I can now add another threat, perhaps as dangers as the most apocalyptic of concerns. )

We are possibly not far away from eradicating a major cultural force, a serious inspiration to invention, the muse behind much art and poetry and music. We are wantonly hunkering to rid of numerous ideas and visions, multitudinous innovations  and meditations. We are right at this moment annihilating melancholia.” 

“My basic instinct is towards melancholia-a state I must nourish. In fostering my essential nature, I am trying to live according to what I see as my deep calling. Granted, it is difficult at times to hold hard to this vocation, this labour in the fields of sadness.” Eric G Wilson

Most of my artwork portrays the shadowy sphere of the past which never existed and which still exists. By its ephemeral nature and nostalgia, past connects us to this driving melancholy force which fuels my creative process.

The featured triptych was created during the session in a nearby greenery where I found a quiet spot sheltered by trees and bushes. Just 5, 10 minutes from my house, a heavy bag with the equipment, setting up lights, connecting cables, quickly changing from jeans and DMs into lace and velvet. I model or co-model for most of my artwork because it gives me the sense of truly owning the creative process. I know my vision behind the project and as a model I can follow it by acting out the character exactly in a way I envisage it. Obviously there are also practical considerations like immediate availability or cutting the production costs.

I usually shot tethered which means I can see the frame and myself on my iPad, put a focus and press the shutter with my finger on the screen. It is done on a timer so I have some few seconds or more to put away the iPad before the picture is taken.

It can be a bit difficult, sometimes frustrating to be at “both sides of the camera” at once. With all the technicality of it, synchronising lights, connecting cables etc I usually feel relived when it is over and I am back home, in my chair, with my two cats, in front of my MacBook (they like watching me work possibly because things keep moving through the screen and they try to touch the cursor with the paw)

Post production is my favourite part of the creative process, the one which makes me feel more like a painter then photographer. With all the care taken with lighting, camera settings and composition, with all previous mental sketches and visions, the picture out of a camera is just a product of a machine. It is only the further process of editing which truly fulfils my creativity and puts my individual stamp on it. I want the picture to came to life as if under painter’s brushstrokes which carefully and lovingly work around each detail: the texture of the soil and the tree bark, the gleam of porcelain, the nuances of light and expression on a human face.

It can take hours, days, weeks or months to finish the work. Sometimes I would sit in front of it with my cup of coffee and just look, concentrating more on a coffee then on the picture but this apparent passivity lets me see how to take it further, in which direction.

So this is some brief insight into how my artwork is being created, although I guess there is much more to it and the theme will be somehow coming back in my future posts.

In my next post I would like to tell you about working on my Alice in Wonderland series.

You can see my artwork at https://www.annaandertonart.com

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