As previously mentioned, my research is practice-based; in the sense not only the methodology that I am using will be focused on putting the theory into practice, but also documenting the process through exhibitions and other artistic outcomes.
What I am arguing is that research or theory in the subject of Islamic art and design has always been practiced away from art practice. In the sense that artists who are striving to break out and create innovative "Islamic" work are not the same people who are researching about it. Researchers usually are more thinkers, and artists are more doers. This is not to generalize the term in any way as I am sure there are exceptions, but I have always wished that the references we use for art and design are based on hands-on experience by the researcher himself.
This is one of the main reasons that I am approaching my research through practice; I want to observe and record the change I see in myself throughout my journey of discovery and exploration. For that I have started a visual diary of my research findings and personal reflections to keep track of my thoughts, and to eventually see the change within myself as an artist.
My first attempt (shown above) is a simple experiment I did to try and put myself in the traditional artists/ craftsman shoes in order to get as close as possible to the feelings they had once when carving on a piece of wood, or plaster. Simply but cutting and pasting similar patterns or drawing a traditional ones. To the artists, this might be incomparable to the actual labor work, but the simple act of perfecting each motif or unit in a repetitive pattern put me on a contemplative mood where I lost myself in the process. There is this feel of serenity and "flow"* while working on these patterns that enhanced my sense of being "mindful" of what I am doing.
In one of the references I read, it says that the act of perfecting the work in Islamic art and design was considered a sincere act to show devotion to God. It is considered vital to have it in the process, for our deeds, should always be dedicated to Allah.
Two questions I am wondering here:
Are all Muslim artists/ designers show this sincerity to God in their creative process?
How can the traditional physical sincere act of creating something, be maintained in the contemporary world of technology?