I remember feeling some pressure. "What happens if I have no ideas." I wasn't worried about how I stood with the other artists from all over the world. I had not met them yet, and new little about their work. But, I knew I was going to Morocco with no preconceived creative notions. In fact, anytime I had an idea, I mentally threw it out. I would remain a blank canvas for as long as possible.
Buddhist and meditation books will state that thoughts and emotions will pop up while you meditate. You have to then let those thoughts go, rather than focus on them. Then, return to a blank canvas. I suppose it is like that for me.
For two weeks, I felt the impact of being dropped into a foreign land. It was an assault on the senses. Eating breakfast, meeting the artists, running around the city without getting lost, seemed enough for one day... for way too many days.
I was excited to visit the studio for the first time. Review my space, look out the window at the vendors below. Frankly, I was more excited about the sun on my face from balcony outside my window. I sat there like a cat for quite some time. The sun from the roof was even better. Though two of the artists were always up there smoking. A day later, the sun left for days on end. It was wet, chilled to the bone cold. I had already experienced a very cold, reluctant winter in Colorado. I was done with that feeling. I had wished the desert was closer.
By now, the artists had been shown the city and its resources. Some of the artists were already setting up their space and were quick to work. All my fellow artists saw in my studio was an empty desk with no artist present. Personally, I saw no point in sitting there. To work on what exactly? My blank canvas continued to be just that. Had I gone too far with this meditative blank canvas thing? Shouldn't I be working on something by now? I've been in Morocco for two weeks already.
I had reviewed Matisse's Moroccan work, when I was in New York and online. But this was the equivalent of a child hanging onto the edge of a swimming pool when learning to swim. Let go!
Back to the studio. Still no interest in spending time. Perhaps it was the lack of privacy, or an inability to blast my music, or the disinterest in searching for materials in the city to get started, or the bizarre tight reign on blue tape in the studio. It's tape! "I am out of here, see you tomorrow. Maybe."
I went back to my Riad, Hotel Reducto for lunch and a nap. When I awoke, I decided to walk the streets and learn my way around. Explore, get into something, an adventure. I walked through the Medina toward the old Jewish Quarter. I walked through some very narrow streets which led to neighborhoods of homes. I began to notice these buildings and walls. They seemed like hundreds of years old. How are they still standing?
On the walls, which people pass daily without ever noticing, I began to notice abstract fields of color. I am not talking about graffiti from artists, but rather decades worth of layers of color, markings from children, scuffs, chips.
"Unofficial and non-commissioned signs and images on the walls have always existed.
They bear significance not only for their makers but also set strong signals
for the viewers - bones of contention and impulse for
discussion since the Stone Age." - Johannes Stahl, Street Art 2013
When I decided to spend one month in Morocco, i did not know what would spark inspiration. I knew that the chaos would be a big factor. I had no idea that i would spend my time roaming the streets of Tetouan, Chefchaouen, and Marrakech photographing the walls of Morocco. i think i photographed over 200 images of exterior walls.
Now that i am back in my studio, images of walls are pouring out. I am not editing my work just yet, first i have get it all out of my system. Then I will see what i have to work with... like big canvases.. maybe even wall-size.
You can go to the shopping page to see the collection so far. More to come...