Retro-Blog part 6: The Censor

The Retro-Blog: Looking back at the development of a successful creative project in 2006 and the lessons learned along the way.

GuitarIn my journal of 01/02/06, I want to start working with the tree photos I took whilst back in the UK but find myself facing resistance at the prospect of returning to work:

‘I must print out some of the tree photos and pin them up in my studio…as first act in nursing my creativity back to health after its pre-xmas bruising. I will NOT U TURN! I’ve hit this spot so many times before and I won’t allow myself to fall at the same hurdle again. I must – I will – keep picking myself up and dusting myself down and resuming once again.

I think one of the problems with my artwork is that when I get stuck I try to intellectualize an answer but that really doesn’t work because my left brain does not have the answers to these sorts of questions, only the right brain – and therefore the act of creating – can resolve the dilemmas.

I was re-reading yesterday in the Artist’s Way about The Censor. It occurs to me that The Censor might just as well be my left brain in this case. The Censor only likes art it has seen before and therefore perceives as safe…hence perhaps why I get really excited when I produce a piece like the Guitar pastel or the idea for the lamp-post painting rather than my collages – because they contain echoes of other people’s work and so they make my Left Brain/Censor happy because it can say “That must be real art because I’ve seen someone else do it!” The collages are really me – hence why my Censor/Left Brain doesn’t like them…No wonder I’m confused and seem to be swinging from pillar to post with no real direction. My Censor has been at work without me even realising it…my Censor has been censoring in the very moments I thought I was working completely without censoring!

If I were to go back over my journals and identify every time I find myself thinking “This is it, I am now really finding a direction for my work”, I think I would also find that very shortly after, I hit a brick wall and don’t know which direction to go in. Each of those instances represents my Left Brain seizing on something and saying “Ah, now this looks familiar so it must be acceptable. Why not make more work like that?”

Add to this, the lurking need to produce finished pieces that can be hung and eventually sold and my Left Brain goes into overdrive looking for definitive solutions as to how my work should look – a proven, recognizable formula, in fact.

My Left Brain can visualise my guitar picture hanging on a gallery wall because it has seen that kind of work before whereas when it comes to something it doesn’t recognise, it finds it much harder because it isn’t able to validate it.’



  1. Idetrorce said

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  2. Agreement not required! Life would be very boring if we all saw things the same way 😉 And every artist’s journey is different.

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