I get a bit of a friendly ribbing (from time to time) by fellow students for taking over most of the space in the studio. It's mostly true. I do have images on walls, beside my desk, on the floor as well as some in a visual diary I try to keep notes and sketches in. I've also been painting really large recently, using very loose washes of oil colour which I can tip, pour and manipulate easily from the ground. Also, the canvases and panels are just too darn large to handle on a easel.
I don't know why I work like this. It just feels right and necessary for me. It is a kind of very organised chaos, and for the most part, I know where everything is. I was feeling a bit guilty, until I read a post online recently which read that some of the biggest or significant creatives in art also work like this; that is to say messy. Frances Bacon comes to mind. I'm also aware Picasso's studio was brimming with paintings, sculptures and such sort. My mess felt instantly justified.
The biggest enemy of an artist is to do nothing. I need images around me because I'm visual. Goes without saying doesn't it? I'm not sure... It definitely helps me to visualise and remember what I'm trying to achieve and inspires me to create in ways I might not usually try. I prefer to be submersed. I'm also a natural magpie.
"Make and keep making", my tutors and respected other creatives say. Some days are easier than others. But there's something in the message.
So is it okay to be messy? I think, the answer is "yes". Be messy AND creative. Try everything!