I’m often asked about my process for creating images and it really is a tough one for me to talk about because I’m a) very private and b) super critical about all of the things that I do, nothing will ever be good enough for my brain. However I am going to attempt here for the first time ever to try explain what goes on up inside my head…. if I can, without sounding too much like am absolute fucking nutcase.
I don’t ever sit down and say to myself “ok Dan, time to do some art”. I don’t really get to choose, it kind of just chooses me when it’s ready to. Which can be quite frustrating, because there are times when I’m bored or thinking to myself that I it could use it to kill a little time. Any picture attempted during these moments are always deleted.
Art for me happens when the combination of 3 elements meet at the right moment they are mood, music and opportunity.
Setting up for a fall
Music has always played a massive part in how things come out for me. Often a song, an album or group of albums by an artist plays on loop, which matches and assists my mood at that moment. You have no idea how just how much of a major piece of the puzzle music is for me.
The other thing is, as my ever suffering family knows, I intensely dislike being interrupted or observed, the moment either of these happens it’s all over and I often just switch it off and that ‘moment’ is lost. I don’t know why this is, but it’s like the interruption becomes such an obstacle that my brain sees it and says “not today sir”. When the ‘switch off’ happens it leaves me angry, moody and cheated, like I’m being offered something special only to have it snatched away by a thief at the last moment. “Temper, temper Dan”.
And the melee begins
All things aligned virtually every image starts with an A3 black blank page in photoshop, and from there things happen at a rapid pace. Most of the time an image will have a central ‘character’ or ‘feature’ whom the rest of the image revolves around. Central figure in place, it’s duplicated and cast into black and white, then overlay filtering is applied.
Now… it kind of all goes a little blurry for me right here and my invisible friend takes over and starts throwing layers of texture and colour in, these layers move up and down, fade in blend out etc until brain is happy, other elements are cut out and added as it builds, all ruled by the music playing and combined with either a thought from the day or from a past event. Oddly at no stage does it feel like I’m thinking about the actual image itself. Everything sweeps along until there is nothing left to tip into the image and brain says no more. This is also when ‘thinking brain’ kicks back in and tells ‘invisible helper’ to click ‘Save’. I’d hate to think of just how many wonderful images have perished because thinking brain didn’t kick in in time.
At the end of this odd little trance, an image sits in front of me, done. To explain this ‘little trance’ is also difficult for me, but there is often only 1 or two hours of time that I ‘lose’ and it passes so fast that I don’t quite know what just happened. But this is why when I’m asked I always refer to my images as ‘moments’ because to me that’s all they really are, brief fleeting moments, one small thought.
The big come down
After completing the image and I’ve done my online sharing with you all, I’m left with an fleeting, euphoric sense of completion and satisfaction, but here’s weird part… I dislike the image I’ve just created almost immediately and I ignore, almost deny to myself that I’ve just created it. The euphoria disappears and I feel quite bleak and empty. I guess the old brain battery just goes a bit flat.
You know… just typing this makes it sound a little like taking a hit… never thought of it that way before, perhaps it is my drug of choice.
So that’s it really… I did warn you I’d sound a bit like a nutcase.