When given an empty canvas, I stare intently at my toes as I wiggle them, plan which wall to remove and couch to shift were the place mine, examine my palms as I ponder my life as written in wrinkles and wonder which wrinkle is Wednesday’s. One might say I do nothing. I certainly do not make a thing. The plain sheet of paper with its limitless possibilities stares back at me blankly. If it had a tongue it would be sticking it out tauntingly.
And so then, when all hope of a masterpiece has vanished, and the page remains empty, I do one of two things: I scrawl or I scrap.
Scrawl: I write most imprecisely. I scribble down what someone mumbled on the muni, or what a sculpture whispered to me, an inspiring line or word in a book or an uninspiring one or a feeling I am having, or an urgent question. In fact, lots of questions. And then questions about all my questions.
Scrap: I consider all the scraps, dig through my bins for the right ones. Scraps are all the objects we overlook, throw away, abandon, forget, use and discard, they are the remainders. They often need a scrub. Each hold their own story, trigger a memory and a feeling. And sometimes they are just colors and shapes and supporting roles for other scraps.
A scrawl always leads me to a scrap. Or a scrap to a scrawl. I’m never sure which will inspire the other. But the concept and object meet. Then they get acquainted.
When the mind gets in the way—as it does sometimes—I scribble. Not words just marks. Short lines, long lines, dots and spots and intentioned squiggles.
So you see, with some words on a paper or objects in my hand I am no longer wiggling my toes or staring at a blank page, I am making. I share this with you because I find few better remedies for a rough day than artmaking and perhaps you too would like to start from scraps.
If so, please join me at CounterPulse on Friday, December 1st, 3-5 pm where we will be making art from a wide assortment of objects, markmaking tools and adornments and taking them home for the holidays (wrapped if you please). We will also be collecting people’s stories and finished creations for all interested in being included in a free printed publication coming out spring 2018.
A huge thanks to Counterpulse for making this free event possible and available to everyone.
Kat Geng is a Block Fest Artist Activator and conceptual artist. Catch her Block Fest activity Friday, December 1st, 3-5pm in front of CounterPulse. To learn more about Kat Geng, visit www.katgeng.com. All photos courtesy of the artist.