Sunday, June 13, 2010

Art Imitates Other Art

Recently, I listened to Michael deMeng's podcast interview with Rice Zachary Freeman and when I met him briefly in Hampton, Michael directed me this blogpost. He talks about teaching art and artists copying other artists works. DeMeng very eloquently puts it that ... well, of course, we copy each other. That's how we learn. And, of course, he is absolutely right and I'm in total agreement.

Imagine what it would be like if one person on an island could write and kept that information to herself? Imagine the great philosophers and mathematicians not sharing their findings with other folks. Right, we can't imagine that.

How is art different? Imagine, for just a moment, the entire history of art. Here are the cave painters who begin to work out all those visual clues and one cave painter says "OH! That's a great drawing of a bison." Another cave painters says, "Yo, thanks dude, I'm diggin' your bows and arrows. How did you get that red?"

I feel compelled to teach because I was taught. Because throughout my career as an artist and my education in art, I studied and learned artists of the past. They inspired me to make art and to share my processes. Those two activities seem to go hand in hand for me. I copied great artists' paintings, drew their sculptures, turned their paintings into sculpture and their sculpture into paintings. Because some artists had already invented and more artists pushed forward the art of printing making:  etchings, lithography and woodcut, I could concern myself with making prints in various ways, exploring the medium and seeing if I could push it further. I learned from artists of the past.

And right now? I'm remembering how much I love cave paintings and am looking at the beautiful gestural lines and symbols in this
and thinking ... this is so inspiring.  'Cause you know what? That is what it is all about: inspiring others to find new paths using tools that have been around for centuries, eons, like these beautiful glorious lines and symbols in these cave painting and finding new ways to express ourselves. So other folks in a generation or so can continue on with our work. Yeah, I see all the artwork being made on the planet as a continuous body of art work. 


Anonymous said...

Yes! Exactly. Thanks for a great post.

Joanne Huffman said...

excellent food for thought

Jane LaFazio said...

well said! and very inspiring.

iHanna said...

I think it is so great that people post art journaling online so that we can share this personal art adventure and be inspired by each other, like you inspire me - so much!