The United States of An Artist
Demystifying the creative process by looking at the different states, stages and spaces an artist embodies...
Hello, my name is Natasha Tsakos. People describe me as an artist. I find the word is too small…the position static. It’s true, I sometimes enjoy it, for the permission it gives me and the mystery of it. Because people don’t really know what we do. It’s like we are possessed by a magical force and make things. And no one talks about the people behind the scenes. There is a process. And everyone has theirs. Mine is a bit schizophrenic, I’d like to take you through it.
The first part is great, because you are not really there. You may appear as though you’re there, but everything important is happening in the background. While you are showering, making salad dressing, bicycling, reading the same paragraph for the 4th time. Your Subconscious is assembling sounds, symbols, patterns, making associations you could never conceive of. And you’re trusting it to filter millions of bits of information for the purpose of delayed creative reaction.
Alongside lives Madam Secretary. She sleeps with one side of her brain only, types with two fingers, takes record of anything interesting and has strategically placed: markers in the shower, light-up pens by the bedside, post its in the kitchen, notepads by the couch, in the purse, in the car, and has mastered the art of emailing self. The Secretary lives in a quantum state. Because the moment she captures the idea, the less she knows what it is. It’s moved on. An idea is an arrested thought, the goal is to make it dynamic again, and the Twins will do that- we’ll get there- So Madam Secretary will use substances like music, motion, meditation, Malbec, in a desperate attempt to channel any stream of subconsciousness left.
Once in a while, The Fool comes knocking, reminding you this is all play. Teasing you to do this one thing radically differently. Try it, stretch it, twist it, bend it, flip it! Do the opposite. The fool encourages you to make mistakes, and mistakes are-
Once enough material has been filtered by the Subconscious, compiled by the Secretary, stirred by the Fool, the Twins step in: one thinks in sounds, the other in form. Together, they take notes and doodles, shape them, stage them, contextualize them. They give ideas rhythm, choreograph metaphors and string concepts together to form new concepts altogether, and pass it to the Editor.
Who cuts, trims, times, corrects, refines, sacrifices good for great, great for excellence, the editor is never done -
So the Director takes over, with a built-in simulation of an Audience. Don't get me wrong, the director has a very clear point of view, a strong aesthetic, good instincts, a sense for the dramatic. It's super power however, is the ability to tap into other points of views, spatially and emotionally. They seem interconnected.
Finally in walks The Artist, at the very end of the process, playing one role only. The title is small, the position static, but mysterious. They’ll take it. That and the praise, the commentary, the questions, but the Artist doesn't really know, because the Artist wasn’t really there. The “artist” is the Subconscious, the Secretary, the Fool, the Twins, the Editor, the Director, the Simulated Audience, the summation of all the roles it embodies. The steps it takes methodically to get into a state of flow. The triggers it has collected, the skills it has acquired, the sensors it has sharpened, the real time systems it has engineered for a very particular goal. All the softwares it runs in parallel.
We are never just one thing. At any given point in time. And you know this! We are dynamic, as is the process. There is a method to madness. As many ways as there are artists.
In a time where technology is disrupting almost every industry, calculating at speeds beyond human comprehension, operating on cookie cutter templates for the purpose of scalability. Standing on the toupet of morally questionable value systems, where existential crises are unacknowledged and mismanaged. What do we do?
The answer may not be with the Artist, or in the Art work, but in the very steps that individual has perfected through decades and decades of experimentation and validation that allows you to going beyond what you know.
And chances that place will be extraordinary.
Talk Transcript for UN TECH and withstella, June 22, 2021
"An idea is an arrested thought, the goal is to make it dynamic again"
"We are never just one thing. At any given point in time. And you know this! We are dynamic, as is the process. "
"Your Subconscious is assembling sounds, symbols, patterns, making associations you could never conceive of. And you’re trusting it to filter millions of bits of information for the purpose of delayed creative reaction."