We all have parts of ourselves that are separate from our normal work or daily life - let's call them side projects.
It's fascinating when you discover things you don't expect from people - like a weird hobby or interest that clashes with everything you think you know about them. Suddenly we have to totally reevaluate our mental classification of that person.
I feel disappointed that many of my side projects are quite predictable. They go with the general aesthetic territory. For example I love chairs and Bauhaus furniture; traditional textiles from different cultures than my own; fonts and lettering.
If I have to think of non visual stuff this is what I come up with:
- I don't mind creative cooking, especially Asian flavours
- I used to sing and write songs and play guitar in front of crowds
- I was once a pretty good golf and tennis player but was way too competitive
- Yoga classes are my substitute
- I like walking in natural environments as long as they're not below zero degrees (but doesn't almost everybody)
- I love gardens but am an expert at killing indoor plants. I talk nicely to them when they are sick in the hope that they will get better.
Anyway, my main hobby is that I have a little camera I carry around in my handbag.
It gets pulled out wherever I happen to be, usually while walking in the city or country, in familiar or unfamiliar places. In the absence of having time to draw, it's a way for me to look harder, to focus on segments of our surroundings and capture little rectangles of colour, shape, energy or stillness.
These end up clogging my computer, however a small selection get posted to my Instagram account or on Facebook.
Many people's Instagram 'feeds' are meticulously curated. All the pictures on the screen match like tiles in a big puzzle, together creating a beautiful whole.
No matter how much I try, my Instagram ends up looking like a dog's dinner.
It's 'stream of consciousness' rather than planned strategy. I went through and edited it at one stage, removing all the odd un-matching pictures, but now it's pretty much back to a dog's dinner again, so I am resigned to my patchwork look.
Anyway, my snapshot habits are a side project for me. They usually have nothing to do with my art practice, and are just about looking. So here are some examples from the 7,217 photos on my ipad Camera Roll.
Maybe you are a bit secretive, and don't go sharing your side projects too publicly.
I am starting to think that these small carefree pursuits are pain-free ways of opening ourselves to new experiences; experiments with possible new life projects. When we don't have so much invested and don't try so hard the results are much better.
If you have a side project you are game to share I would love to hear...