Ready For Something New In Your Life? I Sure Am! (New Blog Post)

Prayer Machine 251. In My Dreams All The Places Are Bigger - Wire Sculpture by James Paterson, Ontario, Canada

My emotions have been swirling since returning from the Art San Diego show 3 weeks ago, with my wife Lynn, and daughter, Sorche. “What am I doing as an artist?” I’ve been asking myself. My spirit says I’ve come to the end of a season with the Prayer Machine creations and am about to start into a new one. Am I ready?

So far I see the journey with the Prayer Machines in three phases; the first part being our move to Germany from 2008 – 2011 where the Prayer Machines were conceived.

The second phase has taken place over the past 6 years, from the time we arrived back in Canada in July 2011 to the first showing at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in July 2012, through this past Art San Diego show at the end of September, 2017. This phase allowed us to introduce the Prayer Machines to the public, establish prices and value, and form relationships with a number of different galleries now carrying the work.

That means the third phase is beginning now, anticipating a return to the Spectrum Miami show in December for the fourth time, during Art Week Miami, arguably the largest collective art fair in the world.

The Prayer Machines have evolved. Initially, they came out of an experience I had in Germany when I couldn’t find words to use in prayer. In my distress I wondered what my prayers would look visually, rather than sound like with words. Intuitively I started playing with wire, twisting it into ambiguous machine-like looking objects. My prayer life returned and I ended up calling these little creations “Prayer Machines”.

Since my first experimental constructions, the Prayer Machines have changed as I’ve added colour, kinetic movement and more complexity.   Now I find I want to take them beyond being reminders of that experience back in Germany and have them talk about things going forward as well. They’ve made me curious. I’m curious about what machines are, where they’ve come from and where they are going. I’m curious about the intermingling and identification we have with machines. I’m curious about how that relationship will develop and further define us. In culture we are often seen to be pitted against “the machine” but I wonder why the relationship continues to be so dependant and why it’s so often  personalized?

I’m not sure anymore if what I’m doing is art, or if I’m even an artist. What I know is that I make things, objects, hopefully beautiful objects, and I deal in imagination. Entering this third phase with the Prayer Machines I’d like to look further into our entanglements with machines and the impact of technoculture on how we live, think, make decisions and view who we are. My imagination will be the road, the Prayer Machines the vehicles my curiosity uses to travel, as I explore our growing relationship with the machines we are creating.

My Prayer Machine Journey So Far

The Prayer Machines are growing and expanding. Not only in size, weight and dimension but in my imagination and spirit as well.

People have told me it typically takes five years for an idea to become a venture that is viable. Since arriving back in Canada in July 2011, concluding our three year sojourn in Europe, with my little twisted bits of wire stuck in wooden blocks they have grown into expressive, complex, moving creations that are gaining traction in the public sphere. We are now entering our fifth year and I am full of anticipation with how this coming year will shape up. Good things have been happening up till now. Since 2012 I’ve have shown the Prayer Machines in Toronto, Buffalo, Miami, New York City, and Vienna, Austria. Won the Best of Sculpture award at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and have been listed as one of “40 artists to watch” in this summer’s issue of the American magazine Art Business News. This fall I will be showing at Art San Diego in November and then again at Spectrum Miami during the international art fair Art Week Miami in December. I am grateful for the success we’ve had so far and look forward to what lies ahead.

Entering this pivotal fifth year Lynn and I are concentrating on better streamlining our business practise and focusing on innovate creation with the art. Lynn is now working full-time as studio manager looking after the logistics of getting to shows, working through the myriad of paperwork especially for the international shows, coordinating our social media presence and dealing with gallery requests, commissions, correspondence and sales. I am continuing to delve into the creative process as I generate new pieces each day and explore the roots of these Prayer Machines in my past and present life. I am finding so much of who I am emerging through these pieces and each day seems like I’m uncovering some new fragment from my formative past. I believe the mature phase of my art is finally emerging. It seems everything I’ve ever done in art, up till now, whether as a child, a student or since I began pursuing art full-time twenty-eight years ago has finally blended into an expression that is uniquely my own true voice.

I hope this blog that we are initiating will keep you abreast of developments in my work, give you insights into my creative process and introduce you to the newest work I am creating. I may even post pictures of past work that I think has bearing on what I am doing now. I hope you will join Lynn and I on this journey as we take the Prayer Machines to the world.

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