The painter talks about the meditative aspects of sweeping his studio floor.
Question: Do you follow a creative process when you work?
Bleckner: My personal process is one of maintaining a very, I would say, monastic discipline. I mean, I essentially do the same thing everyday, 7 days a week. And I’ve done that for years besides from the things I have to do, besides from socializing, which I like to do occasionally, aside from traveling, which I like to do less now that I’m older, and that you have to take off your shoes. I basically go to my studio and… You know, as trivial as it might seem to somebody else, it is always something… It’s always a little problem that needs to be figured out. So I feel like my studio is a laboratory, you know. And, you know, there is a sense of alchemy, there is a sense of chemistry, there is a sense of joy, there is a sense of the pleasure that I have in playing with these stuff, paint the stuff, you know, that I basically understand, on some level, you could garnish it with all kinds of theoretical constructs. But it’s a person alone in a room, making things with their hands. And I like to keep it that simple, a lot of days. And when you’re making things and when you have your little cottage industry, there’s always something to do. When I go to my studio, I start up by sweeping the floor. I start out by making sure everything’s in order. I start out by trying to make sure my mind is clear. And then, I think about the problem that didn’t get solved yesterday. And that opens it up for me. So I think that’s the process. What’s the problem today is the question I ask myself. There always seems to be something.
Question: What gives you happiness in your work?
Bleckner: I’m most happy when I… I’m not distracted when I’m working, when I could go to my studio, when I, somehow, could live in that presence, that presence in the [present]. And I could do it repetitively so that you kind of build up a steam. You know, it’s like an engine, it’s like a percolator. And sometimes, it just becomes, you know… It really becomes a kind of a concentration that’s so pure that I think is both playful and imaginative and opens up all kinds of new possibilities for me.