Monday, September 26, 2011

Circular File


            Katherine ( my sister-in-law) says I’m dotty.  No, not as in “She’s a bit of a nutter,” although that is also undeniably true.  What she means is that I seem to have an endless fascination with circles.  To clarify, I am referring to circles, not dots or polka dots.  I find polka dots and dots to be both perky and falsely cheerful (they aren’t fooling me), and I think that many people have a tendency to over-use them in their lives in an attempt to project that they are A) mod or B) open-minded, and most of the time it just doesn’t work.  They seem somehow subversively circumspect (pardon the pun) in their uniformity - it arouses my suspicion. 
            Having made that extremely important distinction, I still find that I am drawn to themes of curves and circles in my life and in my work.  For some reason, they are a source of endless inspiration for me.  But not, as I said before, in any set pattern – as soon as they are in a non-random pattern they lose my interest.  It’s not just circles, either – anything with curves is attractive to me.
            This inexplicable lure (I find myself liking a particular rug, or piece of furniture, for example and Katherine will laughingly point out the curves or circles on it) has me wondering if there is a deeper, cosmic reason for my circular proclivity.  So I looked up the meaning of the circle as a symbol.  According to the website “What’s Your Sign.com (Catchy title, huh?  But the website is written by a symbologist - kind of like the reknowned symbologist in the Dan Brown books – so it must be legit!) the circle represents any and all of the following: inclusion, wholeness, unity, nurturing, cycles, focus, initiation, perfection, womb, centering, revolution, mobility, inclusion, completion.   According to this website, the circle symbol meaning is universal, sacred and divine.  Furthermore, Dr. Carl Jung (just to lend my research an air of respectability) viewed the circle as the archetypal symbol of the psyche (the body’s symbol is the square). (Why the psyche needs a symbol I cannot conclude, but there you have it.)
         Circles (apparently) represent the universal nature of energy and the inclusivity of the universe.   They are symbols of eternal love (as in a wedding ring), and let’s not forget the circle of life.  So in short, a circle represents, well - just about everything!   So that’s why I like it – because I like everything?  Not particularly elucidating, but still – kinda interesting.  At least it is a positive symbol and doesn’t somehow represent negativity  or something bad…the way an evil, pointy triangle might.  (Just kidding all you triangle-loving people – I have no idea what a triangle symbolizes!)
             The larger question is really one of inspiration, and from where it comes. What causes us to pull over to the side of the road so we can jot down an idea, or get up in the middle of the night to create?  And why does it seem that we are attracted to certain shapes, colors and styles? 
            It seems many of us creative types go through phases in our art – which puts us in great company.  Picasso, for example, had his famous “ Blue” period, Toulouse Lautrec had his “Can-Can” period,  Frank Lloyd Wright had his organic “living architecture” period. (There are more, of course, but these are the easy ones to list!).  On the other hand some artists, no less talented or famous -Titian for example - produced everything they did with an unmistakable and unchanging style. 
            It doesn’t really matter of course, but it does make me ponder a couple of things - why would my inspiration be so shape-specific?  And will it last forever, or is it just a phase?   I wonder if any of you out there can look at your creations and find a universal theme?  And if you can, does it say anything about you as a person, or is it absolutely meaningless?  Please share with the rest of us.   One could of course make the argument that it is all meaningless, of course, but still – it’s fun to explore and quite interesting.  You might learn realize something about yourself reflected in your creative urges!
            The only thing I can conclude for certain, which brings me full circle (pun intended) is that I like circles.  It might be just a phase or it may last the rest of my circle of life.  Guess I’ll just have to keep going and find out.