I can site down with nothing particular in mind and let the words flow - in the form of a poem, a short story or a short essay, such as this, to reveal what they will. Leapfrogging from thought to thought at times. Sometimes more like sitting on the bank of a gently running stream and observing leaves float past, recording each ones peculiarity as they pass.
I do much of my writing when I land at the cafe, after an hour at the beach where I stretch, walk and swim. So I am invigorated, at ease. The cafe is right nearby and outdoorsy. I have come to get to know most of the staff, who are a particularly good spirited bunch. This adds to my feeling of comfort and belonging - which in turn invites free flowing writing.
My other form of self expression, the most recent addition, is music. I have been attending a creative college called SAE studying music production for the last few years now. The campus is delightfully low key and has wonderful facilities. Each day I have access to any of six studios, in two hour slots, in which I can hide away and focus on my song creation. I use a Berlin based software called Ableton Live, considered to be the best in the world, to craft my tunes. Ableton has a steep learning curve and although I was making sounds pretty quickly, it wasn’t until after two and a half years of study and practice that I felt confident enough with my creations to begin releasing songs. I spend six hours, six days a week in the studios experimenting with new sound combinations and structures; basically, playing around having the time of my life. I say that, but at times it is challenging and takes dedication and commitment to see a project through - especially because sometimes they go awry - like a pack of wild horses - and have to be corralled into some level of obedience.
The third way that I express myself is through my artwork. I first attended art school in Sydney a full forty years ago and I have no stopped making images, in some form or other since then. I have had studios, on my own and shared, over the years working on big canvases and have had twenty five solo exhibitions of my work over the decades. These days, almost all my work is digital. I use an incredibly versatile app called Autodesk Sketchbook on my Samsung Note 8, using a tiny stylus on the screen to create, using collage, an array of textures and brushes as well as Photoshop style adjustable layers (average around fifteen per image lately) to create new images. I spend one to two hours every day on these pictures; usually three new ones per day.
It is fun and relaxing; an exploration of colour, shape and image manipulation. I earnestly seek out fresh thrills - exciting juxtapositions and dynamics. It’s an exercise in free experimentation and thoughtful positioning and ordering of levels. I explore mood and atmosphere. I strive to innovate and create visual excitement. Again; it’s play.
Spending time every day involved in all of these forms - usually eight to ten hours - gives me purpose and fulfilment. Although I have at times made money in each of these areas, I would not call any of it lucrative. My motivation is pure. I just love the act of creation. Writing this now, I realise how lucky I am to be able to exist in this manner.
You could say that I am expressing myself, and in a sense I am, but mostly I just feel like a conduit, allowing the creativity to pass through me - onto the page, into the picture or into sonic wave formations. One can detect ‘my style’ in each of the forms but it is not something that I am consciously aware of.
When I review my work, I can learn a little about my internal workings, but it is not really something I do or am that interested in. I am just happy to be able to get busy with the next project. Like now. I will finish this and immediately embark on some fresh image making. Then I will head into SAE and into the studios to work on some new songs (I usually have two or three going concurrently). What a life, eh!
Simple, serene, expressive.