My Current Work and Nostalgia

Moving really disrupts the creative practice. Each new place requires a new routine that fits in that space and timeframe. Here, it is shifting, morphing into something slightly different. I am not sure yet what the outcome will be.

My work deals a lot with nostalgia, what references and images and feelings the viewer brings up in their mind when looking at my work, which is wide open to interpretation. My relationship with my past and nostalgia before were always as a stepping stool. A reference, an acknowledgment that they exist, a reverie not to dwell on too much. I know quite clearly that they are malleable. They are not true to reality and I have a great fear of losing them to the abyss. Every so often I find a moment where I ask myself how long it will be before I forget this moment, this day? A week, a month, a year? Sometimes it’s immediate. What we end up remembering is exaggerated, and in fact, made memorable. The flower that encompasses the entire feel of living on the Irish coast. The childhood toy that holds within it an entire lifetime ago. The smell of blood that is a trauma, the paralyzing primal reaction. None are specific, but all have an emotional connection.

Back near my hometown, I am trying to navigate through my past experiences, assumptions, habits, mixing with what is happening now and in the future. I am struggling to differentiate what I project onto the place and what is new. Such an odd mix between comfort and discomfort. Like my past and present, self-have been separated, and are now brought together to fight over who belongs here. They are confused and I am floating. They say living in the present is the best thing for your mind, but this is a forced awakenment, dragged into a skewed reality, where nothing is balanced. 

Eventually, it will adjust. Become a new normal that appears to be right side up. The pathways will be formed in the brain and it will once again be able to make sense of this place. Morphing back into another place to learn and create. 

In a new space, I have a window that lets in the afternoon light from behind a canopy of leaves. Its shadows play and create a woven pattern of moving shapes of different transparencies. A shadow basket where my creativity lives. It’s silent lately. There’s usually music playing when I am in the thick of things, trying to drag inspiration out into the open, but when it gets down to the wire, that’s when it normally gets quite. Now it’s quite all the time. Silent eyes are always watching me from my unintentionally blue and orange inspiration wall. My work surrounds me, watching me figure out others while they wait their turn. Some are soft peeps of discontent, some scream at me, filling the room with its own noise. So loud sometimes that there is no room to think, but only to act. 

The nature of my work is a dance. Prepping the white textured surface as a place to jump off of. Then the color, the only part I can take time to think about while the piece is completely silent, waiting. But then I have to be fast. It’s a race against the air, fighting with me to dry what I have already put down when I need to pick it back up again later. It’s random, chaos, but simple. When the first layer is on, then I pause. The piece already starts to wine with the slight narrowing in possibilities. 

The back and forth begins. I make a move then listen, sometimes they speak clearly and immediately, other times they scream, but I can’t tell what they are saying, other times they are quiet for the moment, and then start to wine again once they have had time to adjust. Now, the surfaces are bigger, and rougher with the canvas. It has become a physical dance as well as a psychological one. Using my whole body to create what I need to. Moving around and around and around, with no concept of up or down. I am molding them into something that I am not even sure how to describe. When the piece is quite again that is when it’s done. That’s all I know. It’s not when the tree looks real, or the shapes are symmetrical, or the point comes across, it’s when everything is intertwined in a way that is balanced. 

Sometimes they are vast in their space. Opening up to an environment that made of soft transparent clouds, shapes and lines, a place where the mind wanders back to a memory. Now, they are dense. Their space is shallow, with less room to move. Fewer possibilities, less of a mystical reverie. More of an abrupt jump to the past. A battle between then and now. A slight breakthrough to a future point, somewhere off the edge of the canvas. A mind struggling to create balance and completion in a world that isn’t. 

And yet, my memories and experiences inform what I see. I see beauty in the unknown and in the struggle and in the growth. I see everything I have ever seen, I see nothing but a light shadowbasket for me to safely stay for a while. I see possibilities and a density that is on the edge of expansion. 

What do you see?

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Kelsey Fons

Owner and CEO, kfons