Thoughts about creativity

30000Feet_Jan_2016Creativity requires commitment. The continual renewing of perspectives and the ability to consider a multitude of possibilities are essential fundamentals for the individual who seeks to express a personal vision that strives to be enduring and vital. Creativity breaks the cycle of the mundane and sets the heart and mind free.

Some artists work in series with repetitive forms and ideas and yet continue to imbue their work with an originality and liveliness similar to the first unfettered pieces they created. Others certainly do not. What is the basis of the difference? How long can an idea can be teased out or replicated and still be considered creative? Can the thing that was once thought to exemplify creativity eventually cease to be creative over time? Does creativity have an expiration date?   Creativity is about the present–the now–rather than the past or future, yet it is constantly evolving.

Artists who are flexible and inquisitive in their thinking and processes will  make works of art that have an electric quality to them.  The work doesn’t necessarily need to be bold, loud or dramatic.  It simply needs to encourage the viewer to feel and think; it will quicken the pulse. Truly creative work is authentic.  Emotion and thought are generated in its presence.

It’s understood that cultivating the capacity to live with ambiguity and unpredictability helps to foster creativity, but the brain often defaults to recognized and comfortable patterns in a desire to maintain the status quo. “When we feel like we don’t have command of our own fate, our brains often invent patterns that offer a sense of self-control.”(1)

For both artists and non-artists alike it’s important to recognize the challenge that creativity poses to conventional thinking. How tolerant and flexible are you willing to be in order to ignite and flame your creativity?

  1. Hinterthuer, Adam. “Brain Seeks Patterns Where None Exist.” Scientific American, October 3, 2008. January 18, 2016. http://tinyurl.com/omcpmfh
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Eyes and Reflections

TWOZEROTWO_Nove_2015I recently opened an exhibition of new work at Studio TWOZEROTWO in downtown Walla Walla. It was a packed house at the opening reception – a testament to the vitality of the art community here in Walla Walla.

Over the past few years while I was working to complete and install large-scale commissioned sculptures, I made an intentional decision to hold off on publicly exhibiting my personal studio work. During that time however, I continued to explore the ideas and aesthetics that I’d been engaged with over the past two decades. As life is constantly changing, I recognized the necessity to embrace new realities that were now part of my life. I continued to question the validity of ideas that suggested a creative career had to have a linear and specific trajectory. I think we all realize that creativity–much like life–is chaotic, mysterious and often misunderstood. It is also spontaneous, exhilarating and ever-changing. That line of thinking has formed much of the motivation behind the curated selection of works that I decided to exhibit at this time.

Here’s a link to more information and images that relate to the exhibition. http://union-bulletin.com/news/2015/nov/05/squire-broel-portrait-artist/

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Eyes in The Wilderness

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The photo above shows a resin prototype of a piece that is part of my new “Eyes of Nature” series. The discs mount to trees within the natural landscape and act as symbolic reminders of nature’s perception of humanity’s actions.

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Sesquicentennial. What?

Sesquicentennial – Adjective: of or relating to the one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of a significant event. Noun: A one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary.

Now, give it a try. Just let that word roll off your tongue.

In April of this year, artists and artist teams were invited to submit qualifications and proposals to design and produce a public art piece that would commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the incorporation of the town of Walla Walla, WA. Walla Walla was incorporated as a community in 1862, which was the same year that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

This unique and commemorative project is meant to serve as a visual monument for the City of Walla Walla; a sculpture that celebrates Walla Walla’s heritage, local identities and authentic traditions. The project is being funded through a generous grant from the Sherwood Trust and is being managed by ArtWalla. Upon completion, the sculpture will be gifted to the city and will become an integral part of its public art program. ArtWalla initiated Walla Walla’s Public Art program in 1997 and has donated $624,000 works of public art directly to the City; this includes the commissioning of thirteen public art pieces now sited downtown. The public art owned by the City is valued at $1,092,450.

The Selected Project

Conceptual sketches of the front and back views of "Looking Back, Looking Forward" - winning sculpture of the ArtWalla Sesquicentennial project. The actual sculpture will be cast bronze and will stand 12 1/2 feet tall.

Conceptual sketches of the front and back views of “Looking Back, Looking Forward” – winning sculpture of the ArtWalla Sesquicentennial project. The actual sculpture will be cast bronze and will stand 12 1/2 feet tall.

On June 2nd the ArtWalla Sesquicentennial committee made their final decision as to which project would be chosen from the three finalist’s designs. It was announced that my proposed sculpture, “Looking Back, Looking Forward” was chosen as the project winner. I was honored by the committee’s selection and look forward to creating and installing the commemorative sculpture. This piece will be an interpretive representation and reflection of the themes that have been foundational to the formation of the Walla Walla community during the past 150 years. I accepted the selection with a deep understanding of the value of the piece both as a significant visual monument within the community as well as being an important part of my artistic development and visual legacy.

“Looking Back, Looking Forward”: Click here for more images of the maquette and to learn more about thematic concepts of the piece. I’ll be posting intermittent progress images and reports on my Facebook page, so be sure to check in there every so often.

The artist's Photoshop rendering of the proposed installation site for “Looking Back, Looking Forward.” The site is located at the heart of historic downtown Walla Walla in Heritage Park.

The artist’s Photoshop rendering of the proposed installation site for “Looking Back, Looking Forward.” The site is located at the heart of historic downtown Walla Walla in Heritage Park.

As I anticipate the process of creating this piece I am excited about the prospect of immersing myself in the concepts and materials that will bring the sculpture to life. My interaction with this important symbolic work of art will be fully considered throughout the production process and I anticipate learning as much about Walla Walla’s layered history as I do about my own place within it. We each have the capacity to make an impact on the society in which we live. It’s my hope that as I strive to do so through my creativity, that I’ll continue to think more about those within the community than I do myself. I’ve identified this to be an underlying theme that has helped to make Walla Walla a strong and robust community.

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