On a different note, I’m realizing that the way I work is rare (at least in art school). I didn’t realize that my visual imagination was such a rare thing. When someone describes something they are thinking of doing to me, my brain can picture it, suggest tweaks or materials, really see it and poke at it like a working model. That’s how I make my own work.
Mind you, you absolutely do need to play around with the actual materials and test things in material, but I can go through so many ideas in my brain before I even get there and have a pretty good idea of how they will look and feel and work. Sometimes I need a blank space the size of what I’m working on to picture things in (or better, a specific space that generates the piece). You never know how people will interact with a piece until they begin though, which is perhaps part of the attraction of interactive and participatory work for me. I like things which challenge and surprise me.
The thing that I found strange is that when I ask for help poking at ideas for a new piece that is still mostly in my mind within a critique context I get radio silence. I’ll bring in a material and describe what I want to do with it. No one else can picture what I’m describing. Other visual artists. This was a surprise, but it’s been pretty consistent. I’ve learned that other people who can picture in that kind of detail are the exception, not the rule. I had never thought of it as any special skill or talent, but I’m starting to think it must be.