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Art from Upset
Post-Moving Creativity
Jan. 22, 2023

by Alejandro Anaya, text and art

The days after a move are like being in limbo. You are neither here nor there. The space is unfamiliar. You feel like you are on a journey, only you brought with you absolutely everything you own in the world!

One at a time, little by little, I set about opening countless boxes; like a child opening his birthday presents, hoping to find the best of all, which in my case it was my paints and brushes.

I settled on the terrace of the new apartment to work all morning. I started with some sketches and then jumped to paper sheets of ink and watercolor. The great advantage of a new place is that the "new vibe" helps get you out of the ordinary. It gives you a new tenant permission, inviting you to explore undiscovered ideas.

Another factor contributing to the experimentation was the order in which I found my materials. At the bottom of a box I rediscovered a set of charcoals that had been forgotten there for more than six months. Now they were crying for me to take them out for a spin. As a couple of sheets of amate paper also made their triumphant appearance, I decided to use them together.

There is something exciting about starting a work on a blank piece of paper. I never know how it will end. With each stroke, the character's personality and the world around him are defined. I know that the faces I like to draw are already there, on the paper. I just have to bring them out. A lot depends on my first strokes. Each watercolor mark, each line of paint or charcoal will tell me who the person that is appearing in front of me is.

After all, my post-moving process helped me to let go and let myself be carried away, more by curiosity than by the process itself. I found an old book that was losing its binding and decided to incorporate some of its pages into one of the works. I discovered that sometimes, to create something new you have to dust off old things and let yourself be carried away by what is emerging at the moment. It's a bit like reconnecting with the child that we always carry inside, but that we rarely let out, because we don't give ourselves permission to do something imperfect or unpredictable.

I remember the comics I made when I was little, with the typewriter paper from my father's office, the pens I found at home, and my desire to tell a story. There, some monster appeared when, by accident, ink dripped or a crayon melted. (It was very hot in my hometown.) In my post-move creative process, the boy who had his face glued to the paper woke up again, and he didn't care if the result was "pretty", he was only interested in expressing himself, continuing with his story, while, at the same time, discovering it.

I remembered Picasso's words: "All children are born artists. The problem is how to continue being an artist when they grow up." Sometimes we need a bit of disruption to get our creativity going. The trick is to use the upset to our advantage.

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Alejandro Anaya is a visual artist and writer, originally from Torreon who, for almost four years, has lived and actively participated in the San Miguel community. His collaboration with Lokkal is part of his philosophy as a storyteller, and his commitment to share his discoveries and reflections on this beautiful part of Mexico, with all who seek to live a unique experience in our magical town. Alejandro exhibits at Galería Kerlegand in the Fábrica la Aurora.

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