Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seven Degrees of Separation, Part 3

It was something he said…

I’m an extrovert as anyone who knows me will tell you.  I’m not one of those who never has an unspoken word, I spend a lot of time by myself and am very comfortable with silence.  I am using the term “extrovert” in its classical definition of “someone who is energized by the external world.”  When I want to know something that I don’t yet know—in this case, a personal focus for the Connection series—I went into my extrovert mode.  I have this feeling that the answer is “out there” somewhere and I will recognize it when I see it.  I go mental shopping, so to speak.

Sometimes my shopping actually takes me somewhere.  I go to book stores and read titles to see if an image jogs my consciousness or to retail stores to see how things are displayed  if I am looking for bases for sculpture, for example.  My critique group is a great source of insights into my work.  Often a conversation with an artist friend will be just the trigger I need to have things come into focus for me.

For this series of work, it happened out of the blue!  I was spending a little time “art surfing,” when I came across the work of Austin Kleon , a thinker and a blogger living in nearby Austin, Texas.  He speaks about “stealing like an artist.”  In the art world it is a huge ‘NO, NO” to “copy” the work of other artists.  I find that my students often get stuck here.  They like the style of a particular artist and then try to work that way.  For example, I love the collage and abstract work of my friend and colleague, Lyn Belisle, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t achieve that flawless balance of image and meaning that she does. 

Austin Kleon had just given me permission to “steal”, so I wondered about using my stolen art as a springboard, but moving it seven degrees away.  How would the new art look?  Where could that springboard take me?  How could I honor and acknowledge the stolen art AND stay faithful to my own voice?  The theme of Seven Degrees of Separation/Connection now had personal meaning to me.

To see how these reflections lead me back to images, stay tuned. 

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