Flow at the Glass Tank: Deborah Pill Discusses Flow State and Inspiration

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Flow at the Glass Tank, a collaboration between Modern Art Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, will present an exploration of idea generation, creativity and the notion of ‘flow’ state. The project will culminate in an exhibition featuring artworks created by people from across Oxfordshire.

Overseen by Creative Associate (Participation) Laura Purseglove, the exhibition will be co-curated by members of the volunteer team at Modern Art Oxford, demonstrating the creative collaboration underpinning the project. With the project underway, Oxford Brookes students who are members of the volunteer team have been sharing their involvement in Flow, what flow state means to them and how they find inspiration.

Here, Deborah Pill, recent BA Fine Art graduate tells us how she finds flow in her daily life and how this inspires her creative practice.

Latex is used to imply a corporeal barrier and limitation of movement.

I am a mature student and I have just completed my BA Hons in Fine Art at Oxford Brookes University. My approach to art is haptic. My work is autobiographical reflecting on my life experience. Recent work has seen an investigation into mobility, barriers, memory and identity using the domestic site as an environment.

I became involved with the FLOW project as a result of being a volunteer at Modern Art Oxford. I began volunteering during my time on an Art Foundation course and continued throughout my Fine Art degree course at Oxford Brookes University.

The meaning of FLOW for me is being absorbed in the moment. This can manifest itself as: conversations with an artistic cohort, bouncing ideas between each other, listening to an enthusiastic tutor, listening to music or the radio, and playing with materials. The most important element is actually to start, and the rest will follow.

I found my FLOW writing my dissertation, which was surprising and satisfying. I was organised and researched my subject fully, alongside making condensed notes and mind maps. The preparation allowed my thoughts to FLOW as I typed. My FLOW appears in bursts that might not last long but when they do, I am totally immersed.

I also find FLOW through repetition and daily mundane tasks where thoughts are able to wander, and ideas begin. I always write these thoughts down as they may provide a launch pad for projects, or for points that I might add to an essay. The FLOW of my thoughts become realised both visually and textually.

During the lockdown I found that my creative FLOW moved from the environment of a studio space at university to that of my home, which proved to be fruitful. The change of environment enabled different ideas to manifest and FLOW occurred as I played with the same themes within my project and materials but from a different perspective.

A picture of a door
Deborah Pill Corporeal Door 2020 Latex sculpture 200mm x 81mm. Doors is a satin dry finished mounted photograph of two doors: one wooden and one made from latex. The photograph is sealed onto Foamex board, measuring 420mm x 594mm.

Banner image: Deborah Pill Clotho 2020 Latex and Bicycle Chain 3750cm in length. 

Clotho can be read as an impediment to mobility the chain made useless by the bodily and corporeal latex.