Yesterday I posted these quotes at the Visual Eclectica blog. It seemed fitting to post them here and add notes about the way words and ideas underlie much of the work I do in my Art Practice.
Of late my Facebook page: Homage to the Seed was the easiest means of keeping communications going when all was getting so complex with packing and moving. The brilliant upside of this pac-up was that I took time (I almost couldn't afford) to sort home studio contents properly.
In doing that I looked over years of writing... on A4 pages, scraps of paper and in journals... kept along the way as well as the photos and materials intrinsic to my practice.
This text by Franz Marc was one of the earliest quotes I saved. I remember at Art School being continually drawn to the German Expressionists and unexpectedly finding in the work of Klee and Kandinsky in particular something very nourishing for the journey into thinking about painting. There might have been a whole world of painters out there who could easily be identified as impressive or fascinating ... but it was the artists associated with German Expressionist painters whom I was drawn to look at and read about.
I'd had a very committed Art teacher during my 6 years of secondary school who'd given a thorough and comprehensive introduction to Art going back to earliest cave paintings right through to the contemporary world of the 70's. In 1977 I went on to Art school and did a 4 year degree, majoring in Painting whilst also training to teach as one often did in consideration of earning a living.
The tuition at Art School in the late 70's was sparse ... little instruction or dialogue really. We were left to find out own way which on the one hand was annoying for lack of rigorous instruction about material , methods and diverse approaches and thinking.
On the other hand it allowed one to free-range and not be pushed into something that wasn't particularly authentic. And that can be fortuitous when compared to the opposite story one heard from time to time! In a way journals became the crucial companion and the years of note-taking and quotes mounted up and collected into something specifically relevant and curiously connected even if seemingly divergent at face value.
In my early 30's I dedicate myself to studio time for 2 years... without interruption or feeling I had to make a 'career' happen. I found if I lived frugally I could stay with cultivating a path that had personal resonance through reading, writing and deeply examining the ideas that had loosely surrounded me for some time and now needed to be made sense of.
There's a whole chapter there but suffice it to say that after 2 years pragmatic themes arose and I changed course in order to tackle ways my practice might become more commercially viable by developing the material produced in this period of retreat.
At first I developed Art cards, found outlets in good book shops, Art Gallery shops and boutiques and offered over time themed series of cards. That was a good foundation in business whilst remiaing true to my art content. However it became such a production line that after 15 months, despite success, I could not maintain the momentum which left little time for Art.
This lead to launching a shop-front Business in Collingwood, Melbourne where I could diversify, offer 8 week courses and produce work by commission. It was in this period that I was reading writers like Thomas Moore and bringing the ideas of many like him to my course on Journalling which attracted a fascinating range of individuals, many in creative fields or those who were keen to explore their ideas in a gritty way in this course.
Screen shot from Facebook where I recently posted this quote.
One could say that it was a course in 'artful participation' with each other's themes and stories whilst digging into the layers from one's inner life... not facilitated or shared as one might in group therapy... but negotiated through the lens of artful engagement and response to the minds of poets, artists and so on. In this way not disimilar to how a book club might work. There was room for candour, a note of melancholy or outbursts of laughter... but a box of tissues was not needed in this context as individuals soon learnt their story would be met with respect and warm interest in its individuality.
What I brought to these courses was wide-ranging material from my own reading, writing and art-making and a profound desire to engage with others in a kind of rigorous reckoning of the things that matter to us and where Art comes in and this notion of artful participation. I wasn't terribly enamoured with the language of the Art World at that time. I found many who also felt it left them out or didn't address what interested them.
Here I could write anther whole chapter.
I'm going to add a recent quote from writer Thomas Moore here which I posted as well on the other blog.
Redefining Education: Cultivating the SoulYou can probably see why I was so interested in his thinking and how well it fitted with my exploration of Art and Ideas ... what we make of things, feel about them and how value is accorded to them... and all of this being so intricately bound together as I see it in undertaking to be an artist. Discussion of ideas is for me central... a rich encountering of other thinking seems to be critically useful along the way.
I enjoy the company of those who know we don't all think the same, share the same impulses, stories, backgrounds and journeys. I like to feel connections and rapport... that makes me relax and be open... but that does not come from feeling my life is the same as another's... or we like the same things. The rapport comes from a certain quality of engagement... not based on assumptions but on something much deeper than that.