Unlocking Creativity Through Psychoanalysis

Sherrod Barnes Duggan

Much of my earlier work dealt with my personal psychological conflicts. My figurative sculptures expressed problems concerning identity, gender, and interpersonal relationships. The classes helped me to realize that sometimes I force ideas in my work. Now, the process of making the work has become a lot more important to me. I’ve learned to give myself more freedom, to trust my instincts, and to explore unexpected directions.

Before I took the classes at the Foundation, I rarely had people pose for me in my studio, except for portrait commissions. I was interested in depicting the human form, but afraid to ask people to pose, so I worked from self-observation. In the studio I felt separated from the world. It was a fun and safe place where I could totally be myself. But I only shared this side of myself with other people through my work. I felt like I didn’t fit in very well and that no-one understood me.

Lucy’s course made me aware that the conflicts I was experiencing are common to people in creative fields. I greatly benefitted from that knowledge and from the interaction with artists I met through the Foundation. Recently, I’ve been sublimating my need for intimacy through my work. Close attention to detail, texture, and form make the act of sculpting and drawing a sensual experience. When I work with a model, I find myself blending the exterior features of that person with my interior feelings. It’s fascinating to see how the unconscious is revealed in the work.