On space, constraints and the creative dilemma

Space to make has always been the happy partner of creative inspiration. Mental space starts with the growing inspiration to act, do, make, paint, write. There is a sensation of optimism, of possibility and freedom. Then the practical considerations emerge. In what physical space can this creative inspiration, happen, in what space can it be made?

As I feel a mental space opening to make artworks, I am faced with the reality of that lack of affordable physical space, and find myself wanting.

My creative drive is met with a new version of constraint in the form of London’s housing crisis, the realities for Generation Rent which makes bedroom produced art a necessity for many. The strain on creative people to find physical space at best compromises and at worst eliminates creative works to emerge. I have wrangled with that lack of space for a long time as someone with a drive to create. And though this feels a charged contemporary issue, history tells me that many others before me had the same creative space questions to grapple with.

This context for artists both reasssures and challenges me. The act of creativity seems bound entirely with questions of social and political forces which can enable or restrict and constrain the society and individual. Virginia Woolf, after all, was certainly not alone in her search for a room of one’s own. And today’s creative communities in cities are the inhabitants of new pressures, and constraints to make and produce in over-priced spaces.

Artists have always found new ways to respond with imagination to these limitations, but I wonder what the results of this will be longer term? As ever, the personal experience is a useful barometer for social crisis and as I engage with the idea of finding space and making I consider that my questions are part of the fundamental creative question and that only time will tell how artistic communities will innovate to challenge these imposed constraints.

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