Active Randomness

Applying Active Randomness to art is very much akin to the surrealist’s early notion of automatic painting. To create in a modus of Active Randomness is to allow your hands and eyes to take over the part of you that wants to have a plan and follow it. The concept of Active Randomness is a definition of a mode that you can at unexpected times find yourself in. It occurs when you can, or must, allow the feeling and emotion of that moments circumstances to guide the hands in rendering patterns or colors based on continual, moment to moment, low consequence decisions. These are not the isolated random acts as were documented in the works of the pioneering abstract expressionists. Rather, Active Randomness seeks instantaneous input and results in decisions that, when appropriate, any person can bring to their chosen work to make it more enjoyable and engaging. The practical side of this is that it is best experienced when the decisions can be defined as low consequence. Hence that actions can be taken again and again, repeated, amended, and re-guided as necessary. It becomes a method of constant, conscious decision making comfortably guided by the circumstance of the moment at hand.

From the forthcoming essay: “Active Randomness: A concept in Painting and Living

“Active Randomness is a state of mind that takes over your senses and brings serenity when you are actively engaged in low consequence decision making that empowers the hands and mind. And it can occur at a thrilling variety of times. It came to me when I was cutting the lawn and realize how enjoyable it was never following the same pattern twice. In fact I had no pattern, only a job to do and a thousand, easy, low consequence decisions by which to get it done. Active Randomness is a conceptual name for a state of activity that is random yet productive. It makes whole the often disparaged idea of “making it up as you go along”. There is a joy and state of bliss associated with it, a feeling of strength that comes from knowing you are programed to succeed. There comes a abiding sense of power and self-control in knowing that, for at least this brief time, you are fully engaged in making a series of snap decisions and that every decision is correct. Each and every twist or turn is perfect for that moment, situation or circumstance. For me, Active Randomness is truly central to the joy of creativity. The best part is that anyone can choose to experience this contentment many times a day. Just break your routine and let your own situations take you there.” MJS


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