Artists think ‘big picture and small detail’

Speech, 2010, Luc Tuymans.
Speech, 2010, Luc Tuymans.

Thinking ‘big picture and small detail’ is the rule for doing things well. Artists have a great eye and an ear for both, the major and minor, the big and minute, content and context.

Luc Tuymans (born 1958), one of the most influential painters working today, knows how a small detail reveals the big picture. His paintings are based on old photographs and magazine clippings and examine history and memory. Luc’s ‘big picture’ is his painting style, simple and brief. His ‘detail’ is a brush stroke or a speck of colour that catches your eye and draws you in. He calls it a painting’s ‘entry point’. In order to think big and small at the same time, one must have a ‘detailed grand plan’, says Luc.

Such plans form months if not years earlier when a random image catches his eye. His exhibitions are visualised in its entirety well before his paintings have even been painted! How is that for the macro-micro thinking?

As art critic Will Gompertz said, “Creativity is like a game of chess, the best players think strategically several moves ahead without losing sight of the immediate situation.”

Alla Tkachuk is the founder of Mask School for Creativity and Innovation. For details, email: [email protected]