Tuesday, 15 December 2009
...but white has never been my colour.
I never understood why in the Spanish IT consultancy where I used to work, we called those drafts with new ideas “white papers”. As if a fresh start wasn’t hard enough; facing a blank page (or canvas) called “white” emphasises that terrifying moment before anything takes place. The moment of nothing, the empty space, what is yet not there.
The whole idea of whiteness, in relation to creation, is just off putting.
Instead, I would like to focus on what is about to happen. And call them simply “ideas papers”, or “butterfly papers”, to encourage those ideas to fly. Or maybe, “dream papers” to bring in the lightness of what doesn’t necessarily have the pretension to become real. Or, better still, I’d call them “recycled papers” not because of their ecological value, but to stress the idea that pure originality doesn’t exist; that any new creation is actually re-creation and re-elaboration, drawing inspiration from the past.
So, while the “white paper” seems to be detached from the world, like an orphan, a beginning and an end in itself; bullying the shaking author with the written version of “if what you are about to say is not more beautiful than the silence, do not say it”; the recycled paper is warmly received into the world. It assumes its tiny place into the Universe, it puts the writer in their place and lightens up the burden of having to take that small but huge step of …CREATION.
And while the “white paper” gives you only the one chance, and demands a line at a time to make a perfect final piece; the recycled paper invites you to stain it, cross it out and, often, go back to the beginning and start anew. It is part of its circular charm, as mastered by outstanding creators like Picasso, who used to do dozens of drafts before arriving at a masterpiece.
So, like an artist friend who uses only second hand canvasses, I now try to use anything but white paper. I use the back of old shopping lists and bills. Outdated post-its and “to-do” lists: “lived paper” that is already part of the cycle. Borrowed paper or adopted paper, humble, unpretentious paper…even forgotten paper.
But no, never white paper.
So, when time comes, let me wish you a colourful Christmas instead!
The new exhibition at Joseph Pearce's Bar presented the warm, Mediterranean palette of artist Fee Dickson.