Artist, educator and creator Ian Stewart spoke to an intimate group about the thought process behind creating art Saturday as part of the closing reception for his exhibit “Drawn to Form: Doodles, Drawings and Dimensions.”
“Drawn to Form” was on display in Shippensburg University’s Kauffman Gallery this month. The exhibit featured 20 sketches from Stewart’s much larger life-long compilation and four sculptures that stemmed from the initial idea of a correlating sketch. By dual exhibiting sketches and three-dimensional art, Stewart undertook the relationship of an initial doodle to the creation of a tangible object.
The reception began with a brief social and refreshments in the lobby of the Huber Art Center and then relocated to the Kauffman Gallery for Stewart’s presentation.
Commencing his talk, Stewart tackled what he referred to as “a real dilemma” in art — the process of channeling ideas. Much like waking up in the middle of the night to jot down a random thought, the ideas behind Stewart’s art creations are sometimes subconscious and not beginning with an explicit sense of direction.
In searching for the answer of where ideas come from, Stewart said he removed the word “do” from the question “Where do ideas come from?” and was left with the statement “Where ideas come from.”
Ideas can be born from nearly anything. And when Stewart lets his mind wander aimlessly with a new drawing utensil, paper and TV playing in the background, the most random and aimless strokes can become art.
“It’s a bit of a process,” Stewart said. “It’s often a call and response between pen and paper.”
When creating art, Stewart said he often ditches pencils and gravitates towards pens, markers, colored pencils, or anything else permanent. “Erasing is a fine art approach,” Stewart said.
To Stewart, a mistake is hardly a thing when it comes to art. If an idea goes astray it can lead the piece of art down a different path that may generate a series of new ideas.
Considering again what inspires him to create art, Stewart showed a brief video of what he referred to as a few of his favorite things, which included New York City; crab apple trees; Dutch painter Piet Mondrain; Savannah, Georgia, sunsets; and mentors or friends.
Through his pursuit of creative self-discovery, Stewart uncovered a critical piece of the art dilemma. When an individual is surrounded by their favorite things, such as a song, place or person, they can become inspired, Stewart said.
Stewart concluded his presentation by thanking those who attended for being a part of his first public art exhibition and making it such a positive experience for him.
Before individuals exited the gallery, Stewart handed out original coloring books that he created titled “Delightful Doodles.” The concept of “Delightful Doodles” and the sketches that the book consists of, is intended to compliment the “Drawn to Form” exhibit and to give an interactive opportunity to individuals so that they may begin to explore life and self through art.