Creative Bursts

The Games We Play (detail), ©Candace Sanderson, Basswood, Driftwood, Birch and Cherry

Everyone says ‘create a body of work, similar forms with similar context.’ As good fortune would have it, that’s what I enjoy. Creating a community, of sorts, with a relationship between each sculpture and where together they tell a full narrative. But occasionally I feel compelled to explore something different. Think of it like going for a long drive, that’s the body of work, and then you step out of the vehicle to fill your lungs with the fresh air of someplace new, that’s the something different. It’s exciting and invigorating!

Now when I say different, that can mean a little different or a lot different. There are some images and ideas that are so strong I get swept away in the current and end up in a very different place than where I began. But to deny this part of the creative process is to deny myself. It is to disrespect the very nature of my personality and ultimately to disregard my creative soul. After all, how can I ask myself to create over and over again without being prepared to give something back? In this case, that means allowing an idea to run its course.

History has shown me that once the project is completed then, and only then, can I step to the forefront and determine how to move forward. Does the work just completed influence how future work develops? Occasionally, but not always. Does it send me down a new branch along the journey? Sometimes, but again not always.

Or is it simply payment rendered for being creative? It is an exchange of sorts, where in return for getting to pick and choose my projects I must occasionally give myself over and allow myself to be used as the means to a creative end. I believe this to be an answer and that in the process of ‘running-with-it’, I become more deeply rooted in my commitment to being an artist.

The Games We Play, ©Candace Sanderson, 37″H x 30″W x 9″D

The creative process for me will always be one of exploration. With that exploration comes the uncertainty of where a creative burst will take me.  As it turns out with my latest work, The Games We Play, it meant digging into more than just the beautiful and comfortable parts to life. What began as a search to understand why I was so drawn to the basic image of a stick man, lead to the memory of a much-loved childhood game, Hangman. From there it evolved into how an innocent game served as preparation for the future; winning, losing, desensitizing us to the ugly parts of life. All of this from an obsession with a simple stick man form!

Months later, when I finally began the physical work of sculpting, it lead me to recognize how creating and ultimately showing the work I make is similar to the game my sister and I played.  Sometimes I’d win and sometimes I’d lose, but I always wanted to play again.

The Games We Play (detail), ©Candace Sanderson

The Games We Play
(artist statement)

Masked by laughter and hidden in the guise of a game, we unconsciously draw an interpretation of our reality. Mark by mark and choice by choice. We are a willing partner giving ourselves over to analysis, interpretation and judgement.

We crave pleasure as the impetus for our actions. Desire excitement found in the act of doing. Desperate for joy, we take risks and so we play. With every choice, a fresh mark is made and a visual representation of ourselves begins to take form.

Choose wisely, because to be wrong is to lose and to lose is to die.

We volunteer for this competition labelled game. We play it again and again, over and over. Because to be right is to win the ultimate achievement and to not play is to have already lost.

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