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How do you draw inspiration and execute your goals?

Martin Venezky’s Form Studio class asked us to explore an uninhibited and process-based approach to image making. My goal was to build a connection between how I create, what I make, and how myself and the world see the output of my efforts.

We were each given 2 humble objects to jumpstart our creative process, mine was a silicon disk and bundles of toothpicks. Each week I created new work, received feedback and then took those lessons to transform my work for the following week. For me, this kind of work is essential to being a good designer. The ability to have a laser focus on both process and develop strategies to bust through roadblocks help me deliver beautiful and interesting work. Below is a summary of my process and work. I also designed and printed a book. The digital version can be read here.

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Here are the two objects I inherited: bundles of toothpicks (three total) and a gridded silicone disc. The assignment was as simple as it was frustrating: what is interesting about these objects? What makes them worth exploring? What gives them their “thingness?” In one week’s time, I was expected to return with photographs and drawings that highlight, reimagine, and explore my objects.

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I began with two initial lines of investigation: grid and point. Experimenting with drawing, photography and spray paint (above) I wanted to create atmospheres and moods.

Photography is a powerful medium. By removing the qualities of “toothpick” from the viewer’s mind, the objects reveal their true nature: sinister and threatening. These photographs place us inside a world where there is no safe ground.

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I became interested in the idea of one object’s effect on another. In this series, I created simple arrangements of black lines. Using vellum paper to deform and affect what would otherwise be a very simple path, the black lines struggle to make their way across the page.

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By this period in my exploration, I had minimized almost everything from the compositions, leaving the viewer to simply exist within the work. This piece simply attempts to create an environment. The dark stroke provides an entry point and central area of focus, giving structure to the subtle gradations of the world in which it lives.

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I then looked at how small “mistakes” could tell a new story within the frame of the image. What was important to me was to let these “uninvited guests” occur in a way that made a logical sense in the image. How they might flow along established pathways – or interrupt them – needed to feel like it would be something that might occur naturally.

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During early weeks, I had spent a significant amount of time planning and executing digital shots in the studio. In the last few weeks, I decided to let go of that control and use my film cameras, playing with with a few simple shapes. I took my investigation to its final conclusion. All I could do was set up my experiments and let the camera do the work. It was exciting to not know what I would get back out until I developed the negatives. Below, is the final example of my exploration.

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