March 13, 2011
Every once in a while, a really obvious thing might display a rather non-obvious side, and even cause you to ask some questions. This is how I ended up asking myself – what does personal space mean to me, and how much of it is necessary?
It turned out that my relationship with space is really quite complicated. I need it often, but not always. Having personal space is not a matter of a particular location, but of a particular inner need.
Let’s discuss the latter. I have found that if, say, I’m in the middle of a great and interesting discussion, and I have a creative idea that I could realistically bring to life in the near future, I can just about feel the gates of the Medieval castle of my mind shutting, because I need to consider that thought from every angle. I have to do it immediately, otherwise certain aspects of the idea might evaporate. It might not even grow into a real idea. It’s not the most convenient situation, to have a person you were speaking to suddenly retreat into a world of her own. Although I think that, when it comes to people with creative professions, it’s more like a side-effect of the job than a serious lack of manners.
For me, it is important to have my paintings paint themselves in my mind before they are transferred onto a real-life canvas. Naturally, I don’t like to be interrupted in the process of painting. I have an answering machine and a long-standing agreement with my family. Even the cat has agreed to cut down on the number of times he needs to approach me to tell me about all the exciting things that have happened to him on the balcony.
Now, I’d like to elaborate on my first point. I can’t stay in my personal space for too long. When I spend too much time on my own, just like if I look at the same picture too many times, my ability to appreciate the moment and form new impressions decreases, and the images that should stay alive in my consciousness turn duller. Being on my own can also draw me into a routine that is too comfortable to be invigorating. Most people will find it necessary to leave their comfort zone from time to time in order to achieve or create something new.
I absolutely cannot paint or work on my sculptures and talk, think, or listen to music at the same time. This is why I’m so puzzled by the people who can do several things at the same time, or who can do with very little personal space.
People can certainly have very different creative processes. For example, I knew a writer who could only work in a cafe, where he was motivated by the rhythms and movements of the people, the sounds coming form the kitchen, and the noises that would infiltrate the place form the street. I also know an artist who attends just about every social gathering. I have a feeling that he hangs out with people every day and every night. I can’t imagine when he finds the time to actually produce some paintings – and I know that he does come up with new work. Another example I have is of a philosophy professor. He wasn’t the most pleasant guy, and he knew it, but he always needed the company of others, even though he considered most of them quite boring. He wrote every article in a public library. At home, he couldn’t create anything.
Through this blog, I know so many creative and talented people. I would like to ask you a question. What type of personal space do you require? What kinds of circumstances do you need in order to do your creative work?