Most creative processes involve some type of mess and a lot creative minds happen to be a lot messier than their counterparts. I'm definitely one of them. I've lost count at the amount of articles I've shared or quizzes taken about the connection between creativity and mess in an attempt to validate it.
My living space at uni was pretty messy and it was full of discarded outfits I had immediately took of as well as magazines, exhibition postcards and sketchbooks. I had such an extensive wardrobe and amount of belongings, I had two rooms: one to live and one to place the items I didn't wear enough. One of my best friends, Felix, who is loved for her brutal honesty and sharp wit, still to this day describes the 'art piece' she witnessed during first year: "Blank walls, without a single piece of art work on; a bed with two very large empty wardrobes either side and the entire floor space covered in a mountain of clothes. You couldn't see the carpet. It was a like a living art piece."
I still laugh every time she describes it, with the same amount of shock and amazement in her voice. Felix was born into a family of top British artists and managed to cut her teeth with various formidable institutions, including a curatorial internship at the Tate Modern. I can easily see how my messy room probably evoked the image of Ni Haifeng's Para-Pardon (above) or Tracy Emin's My Bed in her. The reality is, I wasn't an avant-garde student breathing art 24/7 but rather an anxious 18 year old struggling to navigate the perils of fashion university. It was the age old story: wardrobes full - or rather emptied out and ransacked all over the floor - of clothing and not a single item to wear or feel comfortable in.
I can safely say my room has since matured and no longer belongs in the Saatchi gallery. It is a haven of grey, taupe and white without a bit of clutter or mess in sight! Although I may have cleaned up my act with my room, the desktop on my mac still takes a battering. Like a butterfly, I flutter from one idea to the next and I have a constant stream of new thought processes. My desktop is a mood board full of random inspiring images that I've dragged from god only knows where. Once in awhile, conscious of the landfill of lost and found images that have taken over my desktop, I'll do a 'clean', which basically involves me dragging everything into a new folder. Out of sight, out of mind.
If I was desperate to find something I would search for the filename using the search bar, the hide and seek method worked for me fine. That is, until I started building my website and I had the crisis every creative dreads: I had lost most of my portfolio. My technique of sweeping random files and folders into more untitled folders lead to a chaotic rabbit hole of hidden pathways. Digital highways that I desperately searched trying to locate my missing files. As dramatic as it may sound, I went through the stages of grief: denial and anger at my own stupidity; pleading with myself that I would change if I miraculously found them and finally, depression and acceptance at the loss of my work. After several stressed phone calls and fine-combing my folders and trash can several times, I luckily found everything in hidden in a folder in my trash can. I had cleared the folder before deleting it but hadn't scrolled down to see if anything else was in there. When I opened 'Untitled 6' and scrolled to the bottom, I found a treasure trove of more folders that contained my missing portfolio. My desktop is now carefully organised into colour-coded folders.
The acceptance stage was very important. Although it would have been a very stupid and very costly mistake, it would have been salvageable. The majority of my portfolio, as it stands, has been shot on polaroid or film and I had accidentally deleted the digitalised versions of them. The physical pieces of my work are more like artefacts and I love the fragile state of them: they can fade, be misplaced or damaged. I treat film and polaroid more preciously as I know they can deteriorate, whereas there is a pseudo security with digital files as they are easily saved and transferred. It is easy to accidentally delete files that aren't backed or wipe a memory card, so the moral of my blog post: organise and back up you bleeding work!