Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Expectation vs Perception vs Actuality

Elisa and I will be moving into a suite of artist studios at the end of January and the process of designing my space has got me thinking about the difference between actual 'work', the perception of 'work' and any visitors expectation of what work 'should' look like.

An example of this might commonly be referred to as an inspiration board/wall and their prevalence in artist studios. Often these are quite chaotic and could illustrate some type of mindset but I do wonder if, for some, are they functional or just perception/expectation devices?

It's difficult to gauge as our visits to artist studios in Perth and Fremantle have often been in the context of some formal event. That is to say that the space has highly likely been transformed/tidied/polished to accommodate large numbers of visitors over a short time-frame.

Are brushes, pencils and oily rags scattered for effect? Is work product hidden away for fear that any imperfections might colour perception? Are shopping lists, birthday cards and other normal day-to-day stuff swapped out for creative product?

I had to think of an old television commercial where the cook warms this or that up in the microwave then proceeds to mess both the kitchen and him/herself up so that the guests get the impression some mammoth effort is behind that which appears in front of them.

In designing my space I am trying to port my current space into a new room. This is typically very minimalist will only small minatures of series I'm working on pinned to the wall. Any visual clutter is avoided so I can concentrate on just those images and nothing else when I turn from the noise of the digital aspects of my work to the quiet, dry analogue world of a simple, white wall.

I'm almost concerned the design doesn't look enough like what others might expect of a working artists space.

A good analogy to all this would be the shuffle function on an iPod. We once read (saw?) an interesting piece about how people complained that the shuffle wasn't random enough in that the music from some artists and/or genres sometimes appeared in clusters of songs. The software engineers then had to actually program out some of the randomness to give the perception that it was truly random.

This is not to say that I think some people are cluttering their work spaces to fit perception. There is every chance that others thrive in visual noise.

Nonetheless the 'shopping list' of what should go where has got me thinking about such things. I'm hesitant to create a space that might be perceived as an artist studio but ultimately works against my creative process.

No comments: