Combining a few of my obsessions. HumanNature, double exposure film images, printed as cyanotypes and altered with gold leaf.
What is creativity? Is everyone creative in their own way? Who is an artist? What is the thing that makes you an artist as opposed to a craftsperson or someone who is technically proficient? Who decides these things anyway?
Lately, I have been thinking about the questions above. Many people tell me about TV shows they love and think I should watch. And many of them sound great, but who has time to watch TV? I posed this question at dinner and Chris said, “Well, remember last week when you made at least a million cyanotype prints? That is when you could be watching TV.” and he is right. What logical sense does it make to be an artist? There are famous people making a ton of money in every art form, dancers, actors, painters, photographers, singers… but many many many who are not famous or millionaires. In fact, they are the exact opposite. At one of my last openings, there was a wall where you could use a sharpie to answer “Why do you make art?” my mother’s cousin answered, “Because I can’t stop.” And I actually really think that is the absolute truth. Because you can’t stop, otherwise you probably would.
Kids heading off to college are all doing research to help decide what to major in, while also googling the profession to see what the starting salary is with a bachelors or masters or Ph.D. They factor that in when deciding on a major. There are no logical reasons to pick artist. We are either going on hope, that we will be one of the lucky ones to achieve greatness, or we are all mad. I have had pieces of my artwork hanging in legitimate museums… I am far from famous. But every day, I get up and make things. Every. Single. Day. I mean sometimes I “quit” and that lasts 12 hours or so, or I am too busy to create, but then my fingers are itching to make something. I am annoyed on days I am simply too busy to spread glue on a cyanotype to add gold leaf. What kind of sense does that sense make?
…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”― Jack Kerouac,
All of the really successful civilizations have valued art. But we are living in a commercial world, we are controlled by consumerism. The CEO’s of companies are valued so much more than even the most famous (living) artists. If the work produced is not commercially viable, what would keep someone doing this? I know, it is a first-world problem, but is it?!? As far as I can tell, extreme poverty does not stop this behavior. So what makes us keep on going? Is it just that we can not stop, or is it something else? I have no idea, does anyone have an idea for me?
My two current obsessions are creating Cyanotype prints and adding gold leaf. I want to gold leaf every print! Here are some of my flower and feather cyanotypes with gold leaf…
The bottom right is an image of some of the million cyanotypes I made last week. The stack of 5×7 feather prints is 6 inches high. I need to make some of them into a sketchbook for The Brooklyn Art Library. After that I guess I will stock my Etsy page.