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Title: The artist's creative process : a Winnicottian view
Author: Townsend, Patricia Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 9339
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The existing body of psychoanalytic literature relating to the process of making visual art does not include formal studies of first-hand reports from contemporary artists. This thesis addresses that gap through the creation of a new series of artworks and through a qualitative study of artists’ accounts of the states of mind they experience as they work. It aims to provide new evidence relating to the artist’s creative process and to question the extent to which psychoanalytic theory in the Winnicottian tradition can account for artists’ experiences. My methodology was two-fold: I kept a written record of my own states of mind as I created six video, installation and animation artworks; I also conducted thirty in-depth interviews with professional fine artists. The testimony of the artists and myself was interrogated using psychoanalytic theory from the Winnicottian and British Object Relations tradition. Winnicottian theory was chosen because it offers a particular understanding of the inter-relationship between inner and outer worlds and the thesis considers the artist’s process in these terms. Drawing on Winnicottian theory, the thesis presents the artist’s process as a series of interconnected and overlapping stages in which there is a movement between the artist’s inner world, the outer world of shared ‘reality’ and the spaces between. The research reveals aspects of artists’ experiences that are not fully accounted for by the existing literature. To address these gaps, the thesis proposes the introduction of several new terms: ‘pre-sense’ for an as-yet undefined first intimation of the possibility of a new artwork relating to a particular aspect of the outside world; ‘internal frame’ for a space within the artist’s mind, specific to a particular medium, which the artist ‘enters’ when starting work; and ‘extended self’ and ‘observer self’ for two co-existent self-states that constitute the artist’s working state of mind.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available