Notes From a Friend

After a couple weeks away from blogging, I’m returning with this concise and incisive post by my friend Karen Hyams on creativity, control, and loss. I look forward to continued sharing and dialogue on Sudbury, Zen, the creative process, and how to make a living pursuing passion. Happy New Year, everybody!

Notes From I Don’t Know Where

by Karen Hyams

I’ve watched my work progress and change, watched it morph from one theme to another and eventually loop back again. Little of that has been in my control. I continue to learn technically, but the nature of what I’m working on doesn’t end up being as intentional as I’d like. For example, my pictures are dark right now but I don’t know how to make myself stop doing dark photos.

However I feel about something ‘else’ – something unknown – hijacking my work, I’ve learned to trust the oddities of the creative process. There are benefits to the quirks. And the partial inability to control my work has given me some surprising insights into my life and how I’m living it, starting with how I’ve dealt with loss.

Through a banal tragedy, I lost almost all of my work about 10 years ago. Student drawings, sketchbooks, a host of drawings and paintings, and all of my etchings and monoprints are gone forever. This was only a few years after a rooftop sculpture caused the roof above my studio ceiling to leak. The water poured down a wall that was holding all of the major pieces for an upcoming show.

So how do I seem to be dealing with it? By making things that will literally blow away in the next breeze and then capturing them digitally. It feels so direct; it has a nice justice to it.

To sum up, I make things just for the way they will photograph, I shoot them, and I throw away the original work. It’s as if I want to beat everybody else to it.



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