A Lesson in Perspective
Every time I look at this design, I smile not only because I love the design, more so it is a poignant reminder of a very personal lesson on perspective. Perspective is an interesting concept. Your every whim, your every doubt, your every random thought can completely change your perspective from day to day, in my case, minute to minute.
There is a -behind the scene- story about this design. I first have to go all the way back to the very first trip to Barcelona, a trip that was an epic – spread my wings – life experience. I spent six weeks falling in love with an incredible city. The time flew by so quickly, I felt like I was just beginning my discoveries. I returned home, sad to leave, energized to do more and I diligently began looking for a way to return. I found my way. I applied to a one year International Workshop Art programme at Metàfora in Barcelona. The day I received the acceptance letter was pure joy. I kept looking at it, over and over again, as my mind raced to all the future scenarios. My dreams were becoming a reality. It was a big deal. It was a huge step to be embracing my life as an artist and venturing into the unknown.
The months leading up to the departure was crazy with home renovations, recuperation from knee surgery, stressful moments of preparation and countless emotions. At last, the day arrived the 17th of January, I was getting on the plane, heading again to Barcelona, living my dream. I arrived to the school, Metàfora, two weeks after the start date, thanks to an anxious delay of the visa process. I showed up completely overwhelmed with new people, a new city, new languages, a new way of life. All of my senses were in hyper-mode.
It was a little awkward, starting a few steps behind. I gave myself a pep talk, raised the imaginary poms poms in the air and jumped right into it. I decided the best thing to do is to start with what I know. Textiles. I stretched out a white fabric, pulled out my fabric paints and started painting without a thought in mind, letting it flow whichever way. As I was painting, I felt this great joy. It was happening. As my colleagues were walking by, they -oohed- and -ahhhed-, intrigued with the process of painting on fabric. I moved with confidence and excitement, embracing the idea that I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing exactly what I wanted to do. I made the leap. I had arrived.
I was deep into my creative zone – mesmerized, engaged, enjoying every moment. And then…. I stepped back. I stepped back and looked at the piece. I cringed. I absolutely hated it! All I could think was “what am I doing, why am I here, how could I think this was good?” Endless self doubt. I promptly rolled up the piece, put it in a corner, never to be looked at again until I was packing up my space a year later. Years went by when I would look at the piece, seeing its parts with new eyes, new perspective, each time having a different reaction to it. I kept that piece with me for many years, knowing that there was something there. It was special, I just wasn’t sure in what way.
I carried it with me from Barcelona to St. Croix last summer when I decided it was time for another big leap, to launch the textile design business, Debbie Sun Design Studio. I unrolled the piece, looked at it nostalgically…and with surprise, I felt proud. Perspective. I was seeing the piece in a new light.
I converted the fabric to a digital image, started working with it on my computer, dissecting the parts, adding complexity, playing with layers and before I knew it, I had created a new design. A new design that I truly loved!
As I look at it now, I have to chuckle at my initial reaction of sheer delight to absolute horror. Knowing that all these emotions have lead to creating one of my favorite designs puts everything into perspective. It’s a reminder to step back and look at the whole picture, hold on to what feels special, don’t be afraid to reinvent and more than anything, follow your instincts. Remember, perspective is ever changing. If you don’t like it today, look at it again tomorrow!