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A change of perspective

How does one get inspiration for new work? What drives the creative process and how are these thoughts developed. How is one’s perspective on a subject formed and how does this change?

Growing up in New Zealand, I ended up doing a Humanities Degree majoring in Education. I was being encouraged at the time by my family to train to be a teacher. Although I did not go down this route I did acquire some interesting knowledge, particularly about some of the principles of how we learn, in particular assimilation and accommodation. When we come across something new in our lives, our brain automatically tries to find a familiarity (a schema) with other things we have learnt – whether this be an experience, a memory, a pattern, whatever. This is the quickest way of learning as the new info just moulds right in. However, if the information we receive is entirely new, then our brains have to create new connections and new schemas in order to accommodate it. This process takes longer.  This is a very simplistic summary but hopefully one gets the gist. Our schemas as children are very simple and over time they develop in complexity and sophistication.

For example, ever since as a child I have always had a particular penchant for Scotland due to the fact my paternal grandparents were from there. Not that I ever met them, they died before I was born. It didn’t stop my childhood imagination taking over. I knew my grandfather was a lowlander and my grandmother a highlander. In my child’s mind I took this to mean that my grandmother lived up the hill and my grandad somewhere at the bottom and one day they happened to meet in the middle. A mixture of growing up, knowledge and experience have adjusted what I know to be the truth but I still remember fondly my childish explanation.

I wonder how my sons see the world, and how this is changing over time. They were born in London and have only lived here so far so experience-wise they don’t know any different. But they are obviously exposed to the media and the news which has considerable influence. I wonder how they perceive their New Zealand heritage, whether they think about it at all? They never mention it. Will this change as they grow older and seek wider pastures and more knowledge about their heritage?

My recent art work developed from a trip to Derbyshire did not just include the local landscape or my reaction to that landscape. I was studying my oldest son as he sat on the ground surveying the scene during one of our trips out and was wondering how he was currently viewing the world in front of him and how this might change as his thought processes matured. I’m in the middle of creating an art piece on this, combining aspects of the landscape, environment and this idea of an individual’s changing perspective.

The attach image is work in progress and I call it ‘Alex’s changing perspective’.