“Always remember to leave room for coincidence.”
-- Win Pollard in “Pattern Recognition” by William Gibson
“The nexus of rational non-linear thought, creativity and emotional pathology is the unsettled existential condition of 21st-Century human beings.”
~ Lloyd, member on a William Gibson message board writing about apophenia.
It could be said that apophenia is the crazier flip side of creativity. Which is to say that seeing connections where others see none can be an act of brilliance or illness. But most of the time it is likely just an act of wishful thinking. Creating order and meaning in the face of randomness, chaos, or void is a powerful human drive. Perhaps my art speaks to this concept. After all, I have consistently used blank areas to contrast with more unruly, textured, or image-filled spaces in many of my pieces. And I like to place disparate imagery and objects side-by-side. Plus I have always been intrigued with psychology and human motivation. But perhaps it is “apophenic” to see patterns and force order and meaning at all. Perhaps it merely reinforces stereotypes and just plain overstates things to give us an illusion of control.
So goes my favorite conceptual loop. I often explore opposites and then fill in the space between. As a “Jan” I have often identified with Janus, the Roman god. Not the god part but the two faces simultaneously looking in opposite directions. But in the end, I see art as allowing me a break from my wordy and heavily analytical inclinations and it feeds a deep need for ambiguity. I still believe in the power of the visual, non-verbal aesthetic experience. The process of creating art is largely a silent one for me. I may bring to my work my own subjective baggage, as does each viewer, but I would prefer not to prejudice an audience too much. As a sort of Rorschach test, I hope my art can reveal interesting stories from my viewers. In this way, I hope for continued creative life for my work, my viewers, and myself.
Despite the fact that there is sometimes a great deal of pressure for artists to have a single identifiable look or concept, I find it essential to creative exploration to have the freedom to go in a variety of artistic directions. I enjoy creating work in a number of different styles and media -- sometimes within a single piece -- with some pieces more frivolous than others. I often abandon a given path for a time then revisit it later. Jumping tracks seems to serve as a mental palate cleanser. What is most interesting to me is not knowing where I will end up. Discovery, rather than illustration of a pre-conceived notion is my goal.