Sunday, August 30, 2009

Being An Artist

When I was 13 I received my first camera, a Canon AE-1, for Christmas and I was hooked. From then on I knew that art, especially photography, had to be a part of my everyday life. I was lucky. I never had to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always knew I had to be in the arts and I never swayed, not even once. My career is in arts administration. I am not happy unless I am around people creating and/or surrounded by art on the walls. I will always find time to create. I am miserable when I am not creating. Creating is a part of me like one of my organs. Being an artist is who I am. I always have my camera around to capture the shadows on the wall or my sketchbook to capture my latest idea and get it out of my head and on to paper. What about you? Why are you an artist?

Quotes from the Artist Mentor by Ian Jackman

"Most artists do not set out on a career in art trying to become great; their ambition is to make art."

"Roy Liechtenstein, when he first started doing comic-book paintings, said he didn't know what else to do. I just have to do something, so I do something and it might be really stupid, but I just can't think of anything esle to do." - Bruce Nauman

"Why make art? Because I thing there's a child's voice in every artist saying: 'I am here. I am somebody. I made this. Won't you look?'" -Chuck Close

"What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing; you wouldn't become an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought. I am constantly preoccupied with how to remove distance so that we can all come closer together, so that we can all begin to sense we are the same, we are one." -David Hockney

"I think any artist would say that first and foremost they make their work for themselves. Look at the disastrous effects that occur when, for example, a group of marketing executives dilutes a film director's vision, or when a gallerist talks an artist into making something for the market, or the editorial board hacks up a writer's work." -Bill Viola

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Creative Act

Being a creative person can make me feel crazy at times. I have periods of intense creativity, where I can be up all night creating and other times I am feeling frustrated, unsettled to the point where I want to jump out of my skin and wondering if I am really an artist. While reading the Artist Mentor by Ian Jackman, I realized the I am in the company of some very important artists. Creating art is a journey without a map. How do you feel when you are creating and when you are not?

"In 1964, James Lord sat fr Alberto Giacometti for eighteen days while the painter worked on his portrait. Lord took notes and A Giacometti Portrait, which is a record of how an accomplished artist struggles to create art. The creative compulsion is never wholly absent frm him, never leaves him a moment of complete peace."


I think that subject goes hand in hand with inspiration. Subject matter is what makes an artist an individual. You probably have choosen a subject that other artists have represented, but you will never represent it in the same way. I know that I am inspired by many artists and how they handle a certain subject matter. Lately I have been inspired and influenced by Yellena James. I have been looking at her work and trying some of her elements in my sketches, but my drawings will never look like hers because we are two completely different artists. As a photographer and mixed media artist I am inspired by the ordinary. I know when I have found the right subject matter because it keeps my interest and I feel the need to represent it in various ways. I may change the angle when I create the photograph or I may use the image in my mixed media process. As I grow older and more mature as an artist I have stopped worrying about what other people think about my subject matter or what they are thinking when I am in the moment of taking the photograph. Believe me I have had some strange looks and comments when I am photographing an interesting piece of trash on the ground or a broken window. If it strikes my interest that is all I care about. I am creating art for me and if someone else finds my subject matter interesting then that is just icing on the cake. How important is subject matter? How do you choose your subjects? Why do you choose the subjects that you choose?

The Artist Mentor, Ian Jackman

"So the way an artist sees a subject and express it reveals a great deal about the personality of the artist."

Monday, August 17, 2009


Where do you find inspiration? I look at lots of art magazines, blogs, surfing the web and of course the work of other artists. I also look to nature and the landscape. You can really be inspired by anything because it all depends on the individual.

Check out the following quotes from The Artist Mentor by Ian Jackman. What inspires you?

"The poorest avenue, with its straight leafless saplings, in a flat dull horizon, says as much to the imagination as the most spectacular view." - Eugene Delacroix

"With the advent of abstraction in art, though, the place of nature as the main source of inspiration was reduced. The way the artist looked at the world changed. The manner of looking rather than what was represented became more significant. The inspiration is created within the artist rather than solely radiating from nature and the tables are turned, allowing an artist to dictate the terms on which nature is seen."

"Inspiration is one of the ingredients that makes any art work. You can carve out the time to work and settle in front of your canvas and just not feel it. Or you might spend years struggling with technique but be bursting with ideas you can't execute. To give themselves the best chance, the artist has to work at preparing to be receptive to inspiration."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Who decides what is art? What is good or bad? Is it teachers, peers, critics, dealers or curators?
It is all based on individual taste. Bottom line is you either like it or you don't. You can listen to all the above people but that does not mean you have to agree with them. I will use the views of a critic or curator as a guide to an artist's creations, but I will not let them decide if it is good or bad. If I want to see an exhibition by a particular artist I will go, bad review or not. You should never let someone else decide for you if art is good or bad. You need to make a decision as a viewer based on your experiences and senses if it is good or bad. As an artist you may ask yourself, Who are you creating for? Better yet, if you have an audience for your work, does it matter what anyone says?

The Artist Mentor by Ian Jackman

"Art which is accessible to the masses is often regarded as not worthy of inclusion when the people choosing for galleries prefer old masters or cutting-edge contemporary. Should a public gallery give the public what they want or what the directors want to give them? There are two art worlds: the popular one which anyone can understand, and the academic one controlled by relatively few people. The latter has a very different approach and tries to be sensational for the sake of it." - Tom Hewlett, Britain Gallery Owner

Monday, August 3, 2009

Art for Art's Sake

When I was an undergrad in art school, professors were always asking, What is this image about? What were you thinking when you created this image? I felt at times they read too much into an image. I thought, Can't I take a photograph just to take the image? I use to question my ability as an artist because my images didn't always have hidden meetings. I kept thinking Why can't I create just to create? Isn't my intention to create enough? I have started to realize that no matter what my reasons are for creating an image, the viewer will always put their own twist on the meaning of it based on their own emotions and experiences. The more I think about this the more excited I get about creating. I realize that my images are not not finished when I am finished with them. They continue by becoming a collaboration between viewer and artist.

Quotes to think about from the book The Artist Mentor by Ian Jackman.

"The artist is certainly under no obligation to explain what he is doing, even if he can. Meaning is not the responsibility of the artist. When asked, some artists will happily discuss their intentions, while others claim they have none, or say they don't know what they are. Each work of art is what it is, and beyond that any position artists care to take about with it means is valid."

"In one case, I have cut off a flying milkmaid's head, and it is coming along in the air behind her, I didn't do it because I have anything I wanted to say about milkmaids; I did it because I needed to fill up that space in the picture where you now see the head." - Marc Chagall

"As the chapter on artistic intention demonstrates, if you've created something, you can only answer for your part in the process-what you put in. What others choose to take out is up to them."

"You don't have to justify what you are doing. But if you want to, you can offer an explanation."

"A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done it changes as one's thoughts change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. A picture lives a life like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day. This is natural enough, as the picture lives only through the man who is looking at it." - Pablo Picasso