A few years ago, while playing with my daughter at the park I stumbled upon some chalk drawings on the sidewalk. They were a kid’s rendition of some characters that appeared in Ultraman. Ultraman was a Japanese TV show very much in the line of Godzilla. It was black and white (or perhaps it was in color, but our family TV was black and white back when I watched it). I still do not understand why it was shown in Argentina in the seventies when I was a kid. Anyway, the thing is, like a “Proust madeleine,” those drawings took me back to my childhood, to the time when I would draw all day, for no reason, with no purpose. Kids' drawings are an amazing display of freedom, genius, and pure joy.
Whenever I start overthinking things, or experiencing any kind of ego trip while working on an art piece, I remember the joy I had as a kid when in my mind there was no concept of success or failure. And I can go back to the pure pleasure of doing things just because.
During lockdown, I found sanity in teaching children how to draw. I started an online zoom art class. Not only did it allow me to have structure during the pandemic, but I learned as much from the kids as they learned from me.
I used to collect every record I could find from a British label called 4AD, not because of the music, at least not in every case. I would collect them because I was fascinated by the work of their late graphic designer, Vaughan Oliver. Oliver had an amazingly sophisticated eye and he would portray pictures by Nigel Grierson, Simon Larbalestier, Tom Baril, Russell Mills, and many others. But my favorites were the covers that contained collages and paintings by a Japanese artist, Shinro Ohtake.
Ohtake’s work is so amazingly contemporary, like a "wabi-sabi Rauschenberg”, his travel books and installations transmit the same sensation of freedom as I mentioned before when talking about children’s art. Like an old friend, every once in a while I turn to the Internet and Google him, to see what old Shinro is doing these days.
Since I like art that strikes me without the mediation of a theory or explanation, Instagram is a platform that allows me to discover many artists. No matter their provenance, style, fame, or fashion. The work of people like Sanya Kantarovsky, Simon Adjiashvili, Aggeliki Dimitriadou, Tom Sachs, Tom Hammick, and many, many others, appear in my feed every day as wonderful gifts.
Creativity works this way: you feed your eyes with the most beautiful and fascinating artists, designers, filmmakers you can find. You let it all settle for a while and in time, your brain will come up with something new, something that contains a tiny little atom of everything you have put in it. It is like magic.