Bloodlines – 2009 digital photograph
“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do begin it.
Action has magic, grace and power in it”
This quote from Goethe is for me the most poetic expression of that potent and driving force that sometimes takes hold of you when you begin something—when you find the rhythm.
Inspiration is by its very nature an elusive energy, impossible to anticipate or waylay, and you certainly can’t afford to wait for it. The surest way of achieving your objective and drawing it towards you is, as Goethe says, simply to begin. Momentum has its own irresistible force.
As an artist perhaps the greatest gift one can be given is the encouragement and opportunity to produce one’s art—to explore the world in whatever way one chooses as an artist as you are drawn forward by your passion. And it is a passion.
To begin with it requires enormous discipline to make art. There is no time card to punch in, no one to tell you when to begin your work or when to end it, no job description telling you what you must do and how you must do it, and no cheque at the end of the week. No one demands or even needs you to do what you are doing and for the most part it is a solitary process. This means you must be incredibly motivated, even driven, and passion is a wonderful driving force.
Often what you are attempting to do is new and challenging, requiring that you develop new skills and so quite likely to fail at the first attempt. Consequently it takes a certain kind of stubbornness ( perhaps even blindness) to meet the task. You must first of all believe you will succeed in what you are attempting to do and in the face of repeated failure acquire enormous resilience. Making art is not for the faint hearted. Flexibility, perseverence and sheer hard work are essential requirements.
The fundamental wellspring for most of my images lies in the natural world, and nature remains for me the most abiding source of inspiration.
Although I do not always make a direct reference to nature in my work, the references are usually never too far from the surface. The industrial and man made materials with which I sometimes work consistently hark back to their origins in nature as if it remained encoded in their inanimate structure. It is this unlikely liaison between the man made and the natural that fascinates me. Intentionally and unintentionally I arrange their assignations with the fervour of a matchmaker.
Most of my ideas come to me intuitively, not intellectually. Sometimes they arrive as fully formed images, as surprising to me as if they had just been pulled out of a magician’s hat, and with as few clues as to how they got there, but I believe many of my ideas come about through a series of playful visual associations that take me jump by unlikely jump (as if I were following a trail of bread crumbs) down an obscure and disused path. This makes completing a work something like an act of faith.
For me, bringing a work to completion requires a process of contemplation, observation and trust, patiently allowing an idea to come to life. Ideas are gentle creatures and do not respond well to being brought to a concrete form. Sometimes they are lost or destroyed in the process. Sometimes they are so changed by the journey that they are no longer recognisable. But occasionally a work retains some of the magic that inspired the journey, and that is what makes it all worth the effort.
Jenny Pollak 2008
Daydreaming through Primary School Maths – 2008 Cuisenaire rods