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Where Do The Ideas Come From?
(The Smoke and Mirrors of Creating Abstract Sculpture)

It is often assumed that sculptures like these come out of the void, and I suppose some of them do. More commonly, though, they have antecedents from which they were derived. The original inspiration can be something as prosaic as a detail from the dented grill of an old air conditioner, or as predictable as something seen from nature, but it can be also be something already in the gallery: another sculpture. Secret #1 (such as it is): the easiest way to derive a new sculpture like these is to put a suitable old one next to a mirror - Presto! A new sculpture consisting of the old one together with its mirror image.

Secret #2 is that somewhat faulty vision can also help . Looking at a suitably blurred object (whether man-made or natural) gives the mind freedom to invent. A bit like seeing faces in clouds, one can then proceed to make real whatever it was that was imagined. The same effect can be created by looking at things in low lighting, or watching the fire in a wood stove (thereís the smoke).

When making sculptures from many multiples of single unit shapes, simply incorporating more unit pieces, or making them bigger (or smaller), or choosing another unit shape are all good ways of transforming one sculpture into the next.

If an interesting idea still hasnít manifested, I play with the units, experiment, do irrelevant things (like bouncing or throwing them), make observations, or ask questions about what Iím doing. But because these sculptures typically take quite a while to make, there is usually ample time for new ideas to percolate up into consciousness without seeking them out.

All Is Number
All Is Number
© copyright 2006 Elias Wakan
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