Wild Patience and Catapult Art
Before you start reading this, go ahead and click HERE to open a new tab to peruse when you’re done. You won’t regret it. Promise!
Patience is something I hold close to my heart. It’s the steeling of oneself amidst a raging argument, the self-restraint in a fight, and the creatives most powerful ally through the wind and rain and every other unfortunate element that wages war on all things particular. It’s powerful.
Further, when that patience is combined with focus the result serves as a startling reminder to endure. The end work becomes a statement of what is possible encouraging us to not give up so as to create those products of our own. But believing is hard.
And so, for me at least, it’s refreshing to get catapulted naked from the warm sleeping bag of i’m-not-practicing-because-i’m-not-good-enough–yet into the frigid air of wake-up-and-pay-attention just in time to catch a glimpse of Mufasa reciting ‘remember who you are’ as he fades away into the clouds (and I land in a tree). To go “holy cow, THAT’S what gumption and patience and focus can do!” Cause I forget.
So yay for ‘catapult’ art.
Today’s catapult operator is James Brunt. His outdoor arrangements are breathtaking, mesmerizing, and, for me, catapulting – despite the transience of often lasting less than a few hours. This application of patience never ceases to amaze me, and I was positively honored when James agreed to answer a few questions about his unconventional, but wildly cool, medium.
A: What was the first spark of inspiration that sent you into this wonderful world of natural art?
J: It was a number of things, firstly I studied fine art in the nineties so art has always been a huge part of my life without me actually finding my place within it. Then after working for 18+ years in the creative industries I left to set up a small arts organisation with a friend and fellow creative. Based on our own experiences of spending much more time outdoors as kids than our own children do now, we wanted to develop creative projects for children to play, experience and discover the outdoors. That was the spark to begin my own exploration and learning in responding to the environment developing a creative process.
A: I’m not sure how technical you’re inclined to be, and forgive me if this is offensive, but do you have a preference on how your art is classified? Do you consider it sculpture, textiles, mosaic, or something else entirely? Is accuracy there important to you?
J: Not at all, I don’t really think about it too much, every now and then I see someone classifying my work and think yes that about sums it up; I currently like arrangements and use that myself sometimes.
A: What does practice look like for you? How do you differentiate between “I totally nailed that” and “ugh…that needed this, and this, and this, and this…”?
J: Everything I do is its own entity and will be a result of individual circumstances and factors that determine the outcome, such as the weather, which can be totally different at the end of a piece than when I started. So it’s normal for work to look more or less accomplished. If everything comes together (weather, location, materials, my focus) then we all nailed it! I see it as a partnership. But equally I’m also happy to share works that were a challenge due to any of the partners and don’t look so ‘nailed’, as it’s part of my understanding and process.
A: What do you hope people feel when they come upon your work in the wild?
J: I don’t think about it at all, I’m to wrapped up in the experience, but it’s equally very humbling that so many people take something positive from it.
A: What part of your process do you enjoy the most?
J: The holistic experience of having time to immerse myself in nature, it is a very personal journey that requires the involvement of all my senses. I can’t work if any of the sense are impeded so no gloves or hoods etc. I enjoy simple processes, in which the creative decision are made and stuck to from the start, ensuring the making process in undisturbed allowing my connection to the time and place to be as immersive as possible. I guess the process of making work has become intrinsically linked to my well-being and wellness.
A: Which other creative mediums do you think share the most commonality with yours?
J: I would say the simple nature urge to ‘make a mark’ so drawing is deeply connected.