Each artwork starts as an intangible impulse of thought. Sometimes these thoughts are clear and concise, while others are a mixture of composite ideas that emerge from the diverse experiences I encounter when interacting with the environment that surrounds me.
Most of the time, thoughts are transformed (in part) as they are expressed into a different medium as I intend to materialize them into a finished work. More often than not, the first medium takes the form of notes and sketches as I put pen to paper, connecting mind with hand. This process accentuates in me the importance of having a physical, tactile experience while working on an idea that ultimately ends up as digital artwork, exposing myself to a state of activated awareness. The concept of connecting hand to eye was previously emphasized by the artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy during the years 1920s, in which he explored the notion of activated-space consciousness, by which a sense of touch was considered part of the composition itself.
The connection of hand to mind not always serves the sole purpose of creating an artwork to be shared with the public. Sometimes I will sketch for the sole reason of releasing the stress accumulated throughout the day, without thinking much into a finished artwork. Occasionally, the sketch get transformed into a finished work 'as is' or in a modified form. Usually, the sketch will remain in my notebook or get lost with the pass of time. When the sketch gets me in the mood for a more elaborate drawing, it becomes part of a finished work later on and thus, removes barriers to full creative engagement.
Although some of the sketches presented in this essay were subsequently translated into a computer algorithm, the primordial creative force is still represented by simple materials such as pen and paper. This reveals the creative process transmutes itself from intangibility (idea), to texture (sketch), to algorithm (intangible), and to the digital domain where the artwork lives as it is displayed on a computer screen.
Interestingly, sketching and notes could have the sole purpose of defining a particular style to come, by creating a series of works to be realized as finished pieces later, and as such, the sketch contains the seed of a distinct visual pattern waiting to be realized into a final work of art. Quick prototyping of still born ideas help me to keep the flow between mind and hand, creating a visual record or registry of my thinking at a given point in time.
In selecting which sketches were appropriate to share in this essay, I unintentionally went through a process of self-reflection, connecting dots backwards and understanding even more the value of each sketch in the context in which it was created. In this manner, documenting the process by which I create became a sort of retrospective study as important as the finished artwork itself.
When sharing and communicating my work with the audience, it remains paradoxical that all the sketches that were part of the composition were intended first for an audience of one, the artist who created them (me).
The sketches presented here have an inherent beauty per seand also provide you, the reader, with a glimpse about my process of production. In a sense, these sketches allow you to view the work that is creating art. Because this material remained unpublished, you have an opportunity to understand the process by which I create, and the state of mind at the moment of creation.
For some of the sketches and notes presented here, you can have an awareness of science concepts behind my recent work, early attempts to integrate my academic education in life sciences with my current artistic practice.
They also reveal the methodology used to establish the foundational concepts for possible work in the near future by integrating several disciplines.
Documenting an artwork as well as its artistic process is something that I recognize as necessary but I not always do in a systematic manner. The act of creation is messy, disorganized and, non-linear. There is no certainty that a particular sketch or note will eventually lead or be included in the finished work.
Proper and systematic documentation of sketched and notes allows for the analysis of the artist's mind over a period of time and with it, the contextualization in which artistic exploration was taking place.
This process of self-reflection and retrospective study of my sketches and notes served me as point of origin to grasp the way forward into creation of new artworks that will explicitly incorporate them (totally or in part) into finished artworks in the near future.
In this way, these sketches and notes (as well as all the others not shown here) won't remain obscure and unpublished and they not longer will have an audience of one, bringing past and present together.
Ivan Vartanian (2011). Art work: seeing inside the creative process. Chronicle Books (San Francisco)
Future Moholy-Nagy Present: Edited by M.S. Witkovsky, C.S. Eliel, K.P.B Vail (2016). The Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (Yale University Press).
Keywords: Martin Calvino; creativity; drawing; sketching; visual thinking; abstract art