Take a look at whatever you have with you. Your bag, your pockets, the floor below you.
Find an object that in some way “speaks to you.” Don’t concern yourself just now about why the object speaks to you (or about what); just simply take what appeals to you.
Spend a little time with the object you have carefully selected. Look at it, touch it, know it in your mind’s eye.
Put your object away.
For a moment, allow the experience of looking at this object swirl around in your head.
In another moment, you will create a series of images demonstrating your reaction to the encounter with this object.
You will have 60 seconds to create a drawing in response to your encounter. After one minute has passed, you will create a second drawing in response to the first drawing. You will only have 60 seconds.
You will repeat this process for sixty minutes. 60 drawings in 60 minutes.
Every drawing is in reaction to the one that came before. The drawings do not have to relate to each other on the whole. Drawings do not need to be perfect. “To require perfection is to invite paralysis.”
One of the main goals of this unit is to mimic the process of developing an idea and then carry it out physically. We began starting with a concrete form, the object, and gradually make more abstract connections between drawings. Students generally begin working using surface level connections, but as time passes, whether through hard work or exhaustion, the jumps between drawings become greater. Patterns of working emerge, a series develops, then boredom sets in and a new thought begins to emerge.
This activity is designed to push you to a creative limit. Even when I do it, I always hit a wall, and spend a few drawings writing about the experience. But what is so fantastic about this process, is that it teaches you how to overcome that block. The time limit exists, and after 60 seconds you can begin anew. This becomes a safe space to create. You become so wrapped up in what you are doing, you are not concerned with perfection, and the drawings exist in a stream of consciousness. Connections develop based on your surroundings, and the things you glimpse on your neighbor’s pages.
After completing all of the drawings, students lay all 60 of them out chronologically. We take a look at them, evaluate our process, and discuss what occurred. Then students choose one drawing that holds the most possibility. From there they make 5 more drawings, each one lasting 5 minutes.
Again we lay them out and discuss what happened. It’s an amazing switch to go from one minute to five. You think you have all of this time, but again it becomes relative, and you must maintain speed and energy. Students then select one of the five-minute drawings and must develop a piece inspired by this response. Generally, at this point I allow the students to choose materials that feel most appropriate to the work.