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The Muse's Storage Box

The Muse's Storage Box
Copyright Diane Lou.

Alchemical Dreams and Disparate Realities

Rust and bones, broken toys and old text, game boards, gears and nests. Even as a child such odd, unwanted items evoked a pit-of-the-stomach response that bordered on exhilaration.
While I make no attempt to conjure up specific feelings in the viewer, the ambiguous juxtapositioning of familiar materials creates art that evokes half-forgotten, dream-like visions that beg to be interpreted by the viewer. There is a sense of deja vu (the already seen) tempered by a sense of jamais vu ( the never seen, or the illusion that the familiar does not seem familiar), and this contradiction asks the viewer to dig deeply, to look inside her own repository of wisdom, intuition and experience to find her own meaning in the familiar objects she sees.
The once-private discards of people's material lives that I collect for my art seem to carry universal memories with them, memories that can engage and mystify the viewer. Their beauty lies within the rust, the erosion, the wear, and the mere fact that they were once possessions.
I play with abandon and with no forethought. Each piece of detritus seems to suggest to me a relationship with some other piece, and I begin to put them together and wait for the mental "buzz" that lets me know I am proceeding as I should. Even at this point, I continue to remain in the play state and will not allow myself to direct the outcome of the piece, a process that requires complete trust. The outcome often mystifies me as much as it might any viewer.
Remember when, as a child, whatever was in reach became the instrument of your creative exploration? That is my life. A rusty, flattened piece of metal on the street, a gnawed bone by the roadside, a unique twisted branch from a tree, a fallen nest, a broken egg, a snake's skin, a dead butterfly...all will be added to my collection and eventually have their beauty honored in one of my pieces. The resulting art creates a new story with its own imagined history, one that invites the viewers to lay some claim on it by allowing themselves to be enveloped by the sight, the history, and the ambiguity of the realities before them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Play Book is here...

The Play Book is finally here.  Nils's description of the book follows:

The Play Book, by Nils Lou,

ISBN 978-1-4269-1067-8, 120 pages, $20


"This a manual for connecting to the creative impulse by learning to play again.By re-learning to play an authentic connection is made and the mystery of creativity is exposed.

While play can be fun, it is serious business, and isn’t just for children. Play requires the same mindset for an adult as it did when you were a child. It is a state of opportunity with infinite possibilities. Real play has no rules. It allows all possibilities.

The play imperative is about jumpstarting our consciousness—by breaking the habit of ordinary, repetitive routines and introducing play as an essential nutrient for creative living. It is not goofing off. Play has the potential to shift our gears and engage the creative engine of life—to surprise us with unexpected answers to daily problems.

By learning how to play again and making playfulness a part of our conscious experience, life can change dramatically and creatively. Play is a fundamental state of being, crucial to creative awareness. Play power is a modulus for creativity, a gift that can be nurtured as a wonderful tool for opening the world of imagination.

The Play Book exposes common misconceptions about creativity—can we get it? Is it only for certain people? And, how can we let go of conventional, imitative ideas, and connect with fields of possibilities, where expectations are merely a point of departure? The play imperative is the latent child inhabiting our desire to make things. It’s about conjuring the unexpected—in business, in art, in the kitchen, or in life. Play is the prime lubricant.

This is for players. You were once a player, but now as an adult, play-time is perhaps only a memory. Play is a powerful tool for experiencing creative consciousness. It is a tool that can be accessed by anyone desiring an authentic experience—an opportunity to be connected to the energies that give us vitality, imagination, passion.

            The Play Book is set up to help by starting with some simple exercises designed to tune your body and mind to the idea of play. What exactly do you expect to happen? It’s not going to be an ordinary experience, so expect that it will be different." 

Available from or from us where the price is, as Nils puts it, "$18 signed, or $20 undamaged".

I share Nils's philosophy of playful creativity and it guides both of us in our art and our lives.

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