The Origin of Ideas – Innate Authenticity

Innate Authenticity – Lee Gascoyne 2013 – Click on the image to view more of this sculpture.

In Feb 2013, I wrote a blog post that focused on the qualities I’ve found to be essential in establishing and maintaining what I like to call the ‘authentic artist’ (click here to read that post). The qualities that I uncovered were Motivation, Purpose and Meaning. I related these qualities to the fire triangle, which is an illustration showing how fire needs the three elements of oxygen, heat and fuel in order to maintain itself. Take one of these away and the fire will go out. In a similar way, I feel that when the qualities of right motivation, purpose and meaning are present in my work, my art practice burns with authenticity in the same way as in the fire triangle. If one or more element weakens, then my authenticity wanes in direct relation and I begin to notice something is ‘not quite right’. Since establishing this concept within my practice, one or two things fell into place recently that resulted in the creation of this sculpture. I’ve owned a Zippo lighter for a long time, which I use to light incense. I love the tactile nature of the Zippo and it’s simple, elegant design. Within the Zippo you have two of the three elements needed to make fire, heat and fuel. Oxygen of course is omnipresent in the air and almost constantly available. The Zippo can remove oxygen from the fire triangle by the user simply closing it. I decided to use the Zippo as a surrogate, to carry my concept of the authentic artist in this piece that I’ve titled Innate Authenticity. In the same way the flame from the Zippo needs the innervation of the human hand to allow it to manifest, the flame of authenticity requires a certain amount of effort to uncover its origins within the individual.

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