Many artists relish the experience of losing themselves in their art. Think of the guitarist who closes his eyes during a solo, immersed in his music, or the painter who talks to his painting (yes, I’ve met painters who do this). In the act of creating art, the artist temporarily enters another world. In this world, the four walls of the studio disappear, and reality fades away.
The connection the artist establishes with his work is vital. The stronger this connection, the more successfully the artist’s talent and energy can be transferred to his work. So losing yourself in your work is a good thing. It means you’ve optimized the connection.
The success with which the artist can immerse himself in this other world varies from artist to artist. Experience is a big part of it. A novice musician at his first piano recital will be more conscious of his teacher’s presence in the front row than the nuances of the piece he is performing. At the other extreme, a master performer like Keith Jarrett will lose himself completely in his performance, to the point that he’s unaware of his humming and squealing as he plays. (This has been an endless source of consternation to the recording engineers at Jarrett’s studio sessions, but most of his fans don’t seem to mind.)
The diorama artist has it even better than the musician or painter, because he not only loses himself in another world temporarily as he creates his art, but actually creates a permanent fictional world as the end result. Novelists and filmmakers (documentary filmmakers excepted) also create permanent fictional worlds. We can add poets to this small and exclusive club if we include epic poems like Beowulf.
For those of us who enjoy a respite from modern day civilization (which is frequently less than civil), there’s something intensely satisfying about the ability to create a fictional world of your own design. Even one that fits on a bookshelf.