I purchased Shane Weller’s book (Dover Publications) on German Expressionist Woodcuts in the mid-90’s, and it’s been an excellent source of inspiration when I need to make something impactful, unfussy – and different from the style & subject of what I normally carve. The book features excellent, full page examples of woodcuts from Kollwitz, Beckmann, Zitzewitz and Kirchner, etc. Those images lead me to research other artists from the early 1900’s – all of them gouging striking, impactful visions into planks of wood, and printing them to paper with dark passages of ink. With anywhere-access to research via the net, and a solid book collection, we artists have enormous opportunities for experimental interpretation, variations on methodologies, and whole continents of influence. What books are you turning to this winter for inspiration?
The writer Justine Musk posted a blog entry a few years ago on the journey of being a writer that applies – I believe – to artists as well:
You need to write past the point of self-consciousness. You need to quit trying to write: to be clever, witty, pretty, poetic.
(Perhaps your true voice is none of these things.) You need to fall through the words into something else entirely.
(Blogging can be exceptionally good for this.)
We start by imitating the styles of others. That kind of mimicry – conscious or not – is like a trapdoor opening beneath you.
It drops you into yourself.
It’s when you lose yourself that your true voice starts to come out of the dark.
I so agree that mimicry is a trap door opening beneath you, dropping you into yourself. How many artists do you know that are in a perpetual search for their own style? Don’t we all get there by doing the work? When artists copy the masters in museums, and writers write with the flush of inspiration from a great author they just devoured; our conviction to keep at it eventually peels away all the outside inspiration and reveals our own core gifts. But the currency to get there is to keep at it. To show up. Do the work. Sweat it out.
I know so many people who want short cuts. Others feel intimidated into a terminal state of Not-Doing. Sometimes, a book on someone else’s art is just the right spark-plug for your art-making engine to get you moving forward again. Grab a book & have at it; Go make something.
Scout the studio cat is urging me to quit typing and get back to work. I’m headed that way in a minute, but first I wanted to share a coupon code with you to get 25% off in my Etsy shop till the end of the month. Type Jan2017 during check out for the discount.
Thanks for visiting today, and I’ll see you in the next post,
Get scared. It will do you good. Smoke a bit, stare blankly at some ceilings, beat your head against some walls, refuse to see some people, paint and write. Get scared some more. Allow your little mind to do nothing but function. Stay inside, go out – I don’t care what you’ll do; but stay scared as hell. You will never be able to experience everything. So, please, do poetical justice to your soul and simply experience yourself.