Isn't it? Figure skating! It doesn't make your figure cuter, you're actually making figures!
When did you figure that out? Was that during the Olympics or something?
Yes, as a matter of fact. I just remember, it was like I had been trying so hard to figure out this brush stuff, and practicing it, and I remember watching the TV and seeing that jump, seeing them jump.
When did you start thinking about drawing in this way?
You mean, it having some kind of function?
Well, I know you've been doing a lot of thinking about drawing lines and what it means to draw lines and the difference between typing and writing. And basically what you are doing, physically, when you're drawing. When did you start thinking about drawing in that way?
The thing that it all comes down to is two things I've been trying to figure out. One is what an image is, and the other is the original digital device, which is our hands. I got very curious about the state of mind that happens when we're moving our hands. If you watch people try to figure stuff out, you'll see them moving their hands. And then I got really interested in what's going on in the brain — what's literally going on in the brain, neurologically, when we're writing by hand, that might be different than typing, you know, like on a keyboard. And one of the things I just found out a couple weeks ago from a scholarly paper — you know, they have Google Scholar. Most of this stuff is too hard for me. But what I found out was that writing by hand, it activates an area on the left side of your head called the Broca's area, B-R-O-C-A-S, it has to do with language?
I'm actually a huge brain nerd, so I'm all over this. Actually at the Phoenix we're all huge brain nerds.
Well, I keep ending up at the brain whenever I start looking at this stuff.
The Broca's is the language center, right?
Right, it's the language center, but what's interesting is that writing by hand, according to this one study, activates that, but typing on a keyboard does not.
So then I started to think, "Okay, this is interesting." Because when I teach I always have people write by hand, and people mostly at first just can't stand it. They get very upset by it. But I'm starting to get really interested in moving the hand, whether it's drawing, writing the alphabet, or writing a story, or drawing a picture of five little ducks in a row. There's something the same going on in all of those, which is making a motion that leaves a mark. I just keep trying to strip down, right? Just stripping it down. And I started to think about how writing the alphabet really is a memorized set of motions. You can give someone a tiny pencil and a tiny piece of paper and they can write the alphabet, or you can give them a mop and they can write it on the wall, with water. What's happening there is motion, and I'm really curious about motion and thinking and not-thinking — not the executive function at the front part of the mind, but the back part of the mind and what happens when we start to do this stuff, taking it out of the context of "Is it art or not?" What if we look at it more like taking a bike ride. So we take a bike ride, and we don't come home and think we should now have a painting of all the lines, or that we'd have a video of the bike ride that we watch and then we decide if it was a good bike ride or not. I'm really interested in seeing if we can take that other stuff away — even momentarily, because it's a hard thing to do — then what's going on . . .