In the midst of beginning and completing many commissions in the past few months, I have also been contemplating my process of making and what it is that keeps me making books. It is an eternal theme that I need to clarify to myself every once in a while. Then, somewhere between a bonefolder and a steel rule, in the vicinity of a scalpel and a roll of leather, I distilled it all into one sentence – for me, art is alchemy of emotion.
I explore, define, interpret, make sense of the world around me with my tools and materials. They take me further than thinking, they release me from linear, logically binding stream of reasoning, and in the process I discover deeper, vaster truths than my logical brain would be capable of.
Art as ‘alchemy of emotion’ is completely different from art as ‘therapy’. The former is concerned with product, the latter is concerned with process. I am concerned with the product, the end result, what is born out of the process. For me, if the process is successful, the end result – the product – shows it.
The process itself is in fact most often far from therapeutic for me. Very often it is the exact opposite, which sometimes makes me wonder why I put myself through such agonising process. But I’ve began and completed the alchemical journey of creating a piece so many times by now that I know the exact landscape I need to traverse.
There always comes a point in the journey, where it would be safest to stop, announce that particular point as the destination and pretend there is no unknown, nothing beyond the horizon to explore, no need to push myself further. And that is the crucial point, the reason why I embark on this process time and again: making a leap into the unknown means entering into a dynamic dialogue with the work at hand, questioning, balancing, being willing to try out directions that the work itself suggests to me.
The treasures beyond that horizon, the unknown that even my imagination doesn’t reach by itself is where the excitement is for me, because I have learned to trust that the work eventually comes together if I just listen to it and follow. I get to discover creative solutions with my tools and materials that are beyond my own imagination. For me, that’s magical.