Ideas are a strange thing. I don't understand why science fiction writers get so bent out of shape with the question; I personally find it fascinating. (Though I confesse I haven't been faced with answering it five times a weekend, eight weeks out of the year -- I should be so lucky!) Fortunately, I don't need no steenkink' skiffy-authors to answer the question; I can experiement my little ownself whenever I please.
This is of those cases of serendipitous idea generation. I was at lunch one Saturday afternoon with my friend Cathy Modrall, and we (as usual) were discussing the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. I had my cup of Lipton's tea before me, and since I'd already mangled all the empty sugar packets laying around, I started in on the vacant tea envelop. After a half an hour of absent-minded origami, I found myself holding something in the nature of a tiny paper airplane, though somewhat more complex (and with a poor mass-to-airfoil ratio, unfortunately). And I had somehow contrived the folds to produce a sort of a lumpy fusilage shape, and I found myself staring at this thing in fascination. I took it home, painted it, fiddled with it, but finally was unsatisfied with it. (The paper was pretty well-worn by then and wouldn't hold much of an edge.) So I pulled out some cardboard, glue, straight-edge....
At lenght I had a shape that I found pleasing, but it was still missing something, so I decided I had to do an "artist's conception:"
original: 4"x5", acrylic, 1992
Lately I've been finding myself fascinated with the interactions of paint and texture, and so to start this thing, I began with a random splash or two of paint, and then started layering the planet in on top. This produced some rough but pleasing textures, which I still find myself studying at length.
Guess it's the latent deconstructionist in me. I've never had much use for abstract art, especially that stuff that looks like the artist ran out of paint and decided to use last week's grain sack instead, but I begin to see the appeal, from the production side, at least, of playing simply and immediately with the way the matierials interact with each other, and with the mind to create certain effects.
--25 August 1997