January 2016:

I recently spent the weekend in NYC and came back inspired by the Picasso sculpture exhibit and by a few simple concepts that struck me hard.  

1 | Picasso just made stuff. A lot of it.  

2 | He didn’t seem to care what it all meant, later on it came to mean something, but that was not his job to figure out while he was making it.  

3 | A lot of it was really messy…  

4 | …and quickly made. My favorite piece was a torn napkin with cigarette burns strategically placed so that it became a ghost. 2 seconds to make, so perfect and smart. 

5 | He used whatever was around him. Trash. Leftovers. Napkins. The materials of his personal space.

So…I have taken these concepts to heart. For a while now I have been overly concerned with making meaning in my life—with leading a meaningful life. The meaning of which has escaped me. The idea of intentionally making things about which I do not have an intention appeals to me. So I have set out to do just that.  

What are my materials? I am a graphic designer. I love type. I love the texture of letters on a page. I love color. I read a lot—newspapers, novels, People Magazine, The New Yorker. I am a Mom. I love cooking and the act of putting flavors and textures together to make food. Which then leads to meals and conversations. And more words. Visual flavor, language, color, texture, layers of conversation, scale of space and big and small ideas.  

My assignment (because I thrive on goals) is to make a meaningless collage, every day, quickly, and out of things that are a physical part of my daily life (confessional update:  each piece is now taking much longer, some a day, some a week, some a few weeks, revise to simply “make art every day”! And I have quickly moved away from pure collage to mixed media). They may end up meaning something. Or maybe not. Who cares? And who knows how they will evolve? It is so much fun…

Oh yeah, one more rule for myself. No editing. I have to show everything I make, no matter how terrible (confession #2: each time I encounter a new learning curve with new materials I have broken this vow).

—Cynthia Flaxman Frank | maker of art + stuff
January 2016