Contain Yourself


Probably hard to hear coming from an artist that works in allll the mediums, scales, and formats but setting boundaries has been one of the best “tricks” to get me to just MAKE THE THING. The endless possibilities our creativity affords us can make it hard to focus. For me-limiting the scale and supplies used has been a really fun and effective way for me to create entire bodies of work that tend to launch years long, ongoing series. 

So what are some other limitations that have worked for me?

Time Blocking: this is harrrrd for me as I tend toward fiddly, time consuming work but truthfully some of my most successful works have been the simplest constructions and limiting time I can work on any one piece helps me from getting too precious and overworking things. I try to keep Fridays for making new work and experimenting which has helped me just get in there and get ‘er done! 

Limited Color Palette: I’m often reaching for the blues and sometimes forcing myself to work with only specific colors only is necessary + inspiring (and helps ensure my work doesn’t just become a wall-o-blues)
Real talk-monochromatic art tends to sell really well for interior design + consulting clients AND is easier to create color edited variations of which is important for the licensing line so this is kinda of great thing to keep in mind.

Format: Slightly different than substrate-here I am thinking of just how the works will be displayed and working within those parameters. For instance I am always getting requests for modular art. Think many elements that mount individually to the wall to create customizable, installation-like work. So I have been looking back over my sketches, saves, and samples to figure out what types of things I can adapt to a more modular format. That led to a couple of new options including these wood “bursts” made from scrap wood that could be done in large quantities, mounted to threaded rod for easy installation. We also tested out circular versions of the cut books pieces that are usually mega scale. So fun! We’ve already had these placed on a couple of projects based on sample concepts alone. I prob wouldn’t have arrived at these without limiting myself with format, materials, and designated time to create new work. 

Some other fun “limited” editions: 

With my #100daysofinkandindigo project I prepped 100+ 5×5″ indigo pigment flows on watercolor paper and limited the overlaid designs to metallic gold paint pen. Each piece had to be embellished and shared in a day and through that project I created a signature body of work and made friends and gained collectors all over the world.

 I started another similar project with #100daysofinkandindigosculpturalminis with a thought that I would stick to a mini panel (I believe those are 4×4) and use ONLY materials I had in my supply bins. From these tiny babies many variations of work and totally new and fresh styles were conceptualized! I have now been commissioned to create large scale versions of many of these and the ideas just keep growing from there. 

My newer emerald green Venture Vesica series was born out of limiting myself only to materials I’d already made and had on hand, formatting inspired by my previous grey/black/gold Venture Vesica works, and paper size that I had in stock that allowed for large enough original to be captured and reproduced well. This helped me to jump right in and make the process feel really effortless.

How do you start new work? Are you a planner or can you just get in the studio and go for it? Do set parameters and challenges motivate your creative work or just annoy you? I’d love to hear what works (or doesn’t work!) for you. Any questions about my process? Lemme know!