The Jumping -0ff Points
I know a very talented sculptor who never goes to gallery shows. Or museums. Or any place where he might view art. I was dumbfounded by this, and had to ask...he told me that he was afraid of inadvertantly stealing another artist's ideas or techniques or style.
A heated...HEATED discussion ensued (is it a discussion if only one person talks?). All manner of arguement spewed out of me...don't we ALL take from other artists? Didn't those artists take from those they viewed? And don't we all take from our surroundings? From nature? And did he actually think that he was coming up with original ideas in his isolated studio? Nothing is new under the sun...I found a thousand ways to phrase that.
Certainly there are some who set out to copy..to imitate...but the majority of us see other's work and things in nature as inspiration, breaking down what we see into art concepts of line, form, texture, movement, contrast, etc. What we stop to look at on the trail will be a jumping-off point. I don't know about other artists' processes so much (which is why I wanted an interactive blog), but I NEED jumping-off points. My best work can be traced back to these objects, and rarely resemble them by the time the piece is fininshed. No need to worry about stealing. Shawna Moore posted a great interview the other day with Robert Storr, as he spoke about the paintings of Gerhard Richter. He spoke of the artist as having "a response to nature, but not the desire to represent it in any romantic or naturalistic way". Yes. That is it for me. Response. I am finally getting over the instant eye-roll reaction when asked, "what is it?" I now have a new answer: "it is a response to..." Abstract. Non-representational. Responsive. Another word to help in that ever-ellusive description of what I do.