The next stage in my artistic evolution came when I started to arrange objects in advance of a shot, and then rearrange them for each separate shot. I used various arrangements, sometimes groups of objects such as shells or leaves, sometimes even people to give my work a theme or location.
This brought even greater control of my pictures. I suppose this was when they became “designs” in the true sense of the word, rather than myself “capturing” random images and working on them without altering them in situ. That said, I still use random selection as the possibilities are infinite.
Whilst we are on the subject of natural selection… I now felt that I was armed with a new-found power of expression, and I started to return to my punk roots. I blended punk sloganeering (which had so inspired me in my adolescence), collage, and Darwin’s theory of natural selection into the mix. This seemably at first unlikely brew was based on the idea that punks (I use the term in the English sense of the word) were some sort of cultural (and visual) mutants that nature and society needed to inflict upon itself in order to grow and evolve. This notion also involved a “back to the future” type approach (call it a “throw back”) portraying an inescapable need to connect to our primal anthropological urges for decoration and tribalism, and our (and natures) need for constant adaptations to a changing environment.
I cannot deny that part of my motivation for unleashing this conceptual mix into the world was the irritating rise of the great enemy of the intellect “Creationism”, which in my opinion has as much relevance in the modern world as the Flat Earth Society. How ironic is it that my love of collage started in an erratically attended Baptist Sunday School for the under 8s.
Presently I feel that the artistic world is my oyster. That’s why I am currently engaged in a part time mixed-media course at Gorseinon College, Swansea south Wales. This has allowed me to stretch myself even further and offer me yet more new food (no not that type, Natasha) for artistic thought. I now use photographs/collage/wall filler/glue/paint/saw dust in my art and it is always new and exciting. Whether I am learning huge amounts on the way I am not so sure, but I am just happy to be experiencing, expressing and experimenting. I find this infinitely more satisfying and much more fun than the learning of lessons, anyway.
I doubt whether my need to create will ever leave me, as there are so many rivers to swim through and way too many inspirations for just this one life… so here’s hoping I come around again and again and again……..
Thank you, Greg, for sharing your sources of inspiration and your story with us! May this world of art and nature contunue to inspire you for years and years to come.