The Changes and Constants of Creativity
Four artists on how their work has evolved & also remained consistent over time
Featuring the artwork and words of Madeleine Boga, Madison Perrins, Amanda Sandlin, and Kat Carney
Like much in life, creative work can change shape over time. There are new mediums, new experiments, new life experiences to incorporate. As much as we ourselves are ever-influenced by the world around us, creative work can be a mirror for interior and exterior evolution.
So, we were curious what it would look like to reconnect with previously-featured artists. We wondered: how has their work changed over the years? And how has it stayed the same?
Four artists answered our call, and the collective response is more than we’d hoped for. On the changes and constants of their creative lives, learn more in their own words:
Mixed media painting and collage — Original Artistry feature
Though my artwork has transformed over the years, the practice itself has remained a constant through the ebbs and flows of life: two cross-country moves, many day jobs, and a variety of studios. I started out working on plywood, but now mostly work on canvas since it weighs less and is easier to transport.
Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the seemingly fine line between intentionality and accident in my work. Sometimes I’m an architect, meticulously layering scraps of paper and paint, plotting my next ten moves. Other times I’m a child, untethered and reckless, letting my subconscious guide me moment to moment.
The natural world continues to be my greatest muse, despite the urban setting of my current studio. I’ve found myself gravitating toward more neutral tones in recent work, perhaps as an asylum of stillness amidst life’s undulations. That said, my workspace is still a tornado of paper and paint—mayhem to outside eyes. But I find solace in its controlled chaos.
Mixed media, drawing, and painting — Original artistry feature from 2016
From the outside much has changed in my art, but the spirit has remained the same.
Over the last four years I have primarily depicted women, and I am now more interested in abstract, contemporary landscapes.
No matter what the subject, all of my work is primarily emotional and intensely personal. The final piece may look very different, but it is just another way to capture the inner experience of the wild places I spend so much time in and love dearly.
Note: Amanda’s recent work incorporates writing in addition to visual art, harking back to her background in journalism. We love her shifts between mediums, but appreciate the consistency in spirit and emotional intention.
Mixed media digital, photography, and drawing — Original Feature Madison Perrins On Creating
My work has changed in medium but hardly at all in its themes. Mark-making and collaging over top of my photos started because I wasn’t satisfied with the ability of a static photograph to portray how I felt in Nature. My experiences outdoors felt supernatural, mysterious, and beyond myself. They also fell into a perfect fit with what I identify as my femininity. I’m still exploring all of this—those are my constants. But I’m exploring them in a different, more imaginative way, and the shift towards drawing feels natural.
Over the past year I’ve been particularly held and supported in my artistic community by a small group of talented women who paint and draw, so it was probably inevitable that I would want to try one of those things out. Beginning to draw has changed my relationship with photography a lot: I think it’s important when working in one medium to look far outside of its influence for inspiration. When I was primarily photographing, I was looking at a lot of painting, design, folk stories, and mythology. Now that I’m drawing, I’m looking at photographs again with new reverence.
Every maker I know is creative in multiple directions—putting myself in a box with just one medium is limiting, and for me misses the point of being creative altogether. True, it’s humbling to be “bad” at a new medium once a certain level of expertise is reached in another, but crucial for that discovery feeling that’s beyond words and connects me the something deeper.
Photography — Original artistry feature
In 2016 I started working for myself as a photographer full time. In that transition I really had to develop a consistent style and a process for culling, editing, and storytelling. I’ve loved that process and I feel like it continues to evolve, but I do see a new kind of consistency in my work that wasn’t there when I wasn’t it doing it full time.
In terms of story telling I’m more sure of what I’m shooting and how to go about shooting it. I don’t spend all my time getting the one “hero” shot and then neglect the details. Instead I end up with a full story framed in interesting ways, and I still get the hero shot, but that’s not all I get. I also have honed in on my editing style. It’s bright and somewhat commercial, which is the way I’ve always leaned towards, but now I just roll with it.
I don’t wonder about edits for hours anymore and I don’t ask 400 people if they prefer one frame over another. In that decisiveness I’ve found freedom and progress and I can’t see where it takes me in another five years.
I now also spend way more time shooting client work than personal work—which I like in a lot of ways, because it forces me to flex my creative muscles and work within time constraints and a set of rules in some cases. Believe it or not, that helps me be creative in ways I hadn’t considered before.