“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. – Mark Twain”
Without any doubt one of the questions I get asked the most is “where do you get your ideas from?” or “how do you stay inspired” or some combination of the two. And I wish I had a solid answer. I wish I had a formula to give or a strategy to follow or a map that would lead you right to the land of ideas. My ideas, just like any artist’s ideas, come from imagination. That invisible space that lies between your eyes and your mind, blending what you see with what you think and creating magic in that harmony.
Imagination for me is both tangible and not. It’s very real because, over the last 10 years, I’ve been able to create literally thousands of images that are physical representations of my imagination. Physical photographs that paint a picture of my ideas, my fears, my dreams, my emotions. They’re colourful and playful and deep and they’re woven from all those parts inside me with the imagination I try to spend time with every day and presented as my voice.
Imagination is sort of this thing that we need to feed, even though we don’t see it, we can’t bottle it and we can’t hold on to it. We feed it by believing in it. Sort of like Santa Claus, we feed our imagination and our creativity by unlocking the barriers that say “it doesn’t make sense” and “it can’t be real”. When we can do this, we allow ourselves to translate our daily lives, our thoughts, and our emotions into creative and imaginative expressions. We feed that by bending into it, by seizing it when it floats above us and allowing it to take us on the ride even if it’s just for a daydream or a brief moment in time.
While walking to take this photograph I started to think about the importance of imagination in my life. As a kid, I was always in a daydream of one form or another and it largely influenced how I interacted with others and the world around me. As an adult now, as an artist, imagination is my full time job. My bills are paid by my imagination, my stories are told from it, my voice is made from it. Imagination is truly my most valuable possession, and I’m so grateful for it.
My image came to my mind while mid-air across North America on a flight home. I wanted to base it on that idea that imagination is fleeting sometimes, that it can whisk us away into something unknown and the only thing we can do it is grab on and go for a ride. I wanted the balloon to resemble a lightbulb and in the foggy beginnings of a daydream I envisioned a goldfish, this solitary being maybe the real brains of the imagination station.
The location, of course, had to be one of my favourite places to shoot. A field that has been the canvas of so many of my creative moments, a place that brings me peace and grounds me to the mountains. A land of pure imagination.