Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Neil Gaiman - "Make Good Art"

"When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician -- make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor -- make good art. IRS on your trail -- make good art. Cat exploded -- make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you're doing is stupid or evil or it's all been done before -- make good art."

Neil Gaiman - Commencement speech, University of the Arts, PA

Well, I guess it's the season for inspiring commencement speeches from admirable creatives, and as Neil Gaiman has been constellating in all my recent web forays, I thought I'd give his speech a listen.. and I'm glad I did. I only wish I could've heard it about 35 or so years ago, when I was just starting out on my own life of artistic "crime". 

But, then again, there was no internet in those days, and no road-maps at all for quirky people with big inspirations but a decided lack of funds, connections, and worse still - the very worst, really - a decided lack of courage. It really only takes balls, you know... and maybe the smallest amount of confirmation - from some person place or thing on the "outside" - to blow a little wind into your sails.

I seem to be obsessing a lot about "success" and/or the lack of it lately. This coming from a woman who recently sold her car just to pay the bills. Perhaps, for me, "success" is merely being able to survive as my authentic self at this point in time... when "authenticity" has become a word as obsolete as the technology from 2010.

I found this video on Lee Wind's SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) blog. I'd been concentrating on several children's stories of mine before financial high anxiety reared its (very) ugly head, and was considering joining the society. But, it occurs to me that, sans automotive vehicle, perhaps I can afford the membership fee, after all.*

* quintessential "silver lining"...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Laurie Anderson - First (& Last) NASA Artist-in-Residence

Laurie Anderson - Photo Credit: Ivan Prokop - found here

I always admired Laurie Anderson for her performance art, but I had no idea she was also a hands-on visual artist. If you're currently in the New York City area, however, you have until June 23 to catch her most recent exhibit - Boat - at Vito Schnabel gallery, 126 Leroy St.

Anderson is not only one of the most innovative artists to arrive on the scene in the past 3 decades, but also the most astoundingly prolific. But, NASA artist-in-residence? Too cool! Her stint at NASA was not a lasting one - apparently for lack of funding - but she describes this experience, and her life as an artist in general in the video clip below - a commencement address she gave this year at the School of Visual Arts' (SVA) graduation ceremony, held at New York City's Radio City Musical Hall, May 10, 2012.

The video is lengthy but well worth the listen. She is a remarkably inspiring woman who not only describes her own quirky, fearless approach to art, but an artist's approach to living and designing a guilt-free, uninhibited, contemplative artist's life. She proposes a few interesting concepts as well... for example, artist-in-residence positions opening up across the board: in congress, the White House, and the Department of Defense!

(Special thanks to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing, for this recent post.)

Below is a YouTube clip of Laurie Anderson in action, featuring "Language is a Virus", from "Home of the Brave" 1984, and inspired by William Burroughs' "Language is a Virus from Outer Space".

Laurie Anderson's website can be found here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

MOCA Exhibit

MOCA Virtual Museum

Have just had the pleasure of working with curator, Kaki Ettinger, in uploading several of my images to the MOCA 2012 AutoGallery. Most images do appear on this blog as well, except for 2 of them, but larger views are offered. As I suspected, my work appears fairly anomalous amongst the mix, but I don't suppose that's altogether a bad thing. My MOCA page can be found here.

Thank you, Kaki, for your patience and efforts!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Art of Illumination - In Memory Of Maurice Sendak

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”

- Maurice Sendak, found here

Just heard the sad news that illustrator Maurice Sendak died today via this article from Yahoo. I was always a fan of Sendak's work as well as inspired by it. I didn't realize he lived not far away from me in Connecticut. I wish I'd known him. 

Of course, his masterstroke and probably most popular children's book was "Where the Wild Things Are", and there many tributes to Sendak and that particular story going up on the web as I write this. So, just to be different, I'm including in this post two more delicate illustrations from two of his other books. The first is from "Outside Over There", a "Labyrinth"-like tale (which proceeded Labyrinth) about a little girl who neglects her sibling while baby-sitting, and then must retrieve the baby after it is stolen by goblins. The second is from Sendak's adaption of a lesser-known Grimm's tale: "Dear Milli". I tend to feel that the "Father Joseph" in this illustration is Sendak himself... with his "dream-daughter", the one he never physically sired, but, you know, and I know, existed nonetheless. Fare-thee-well, Maurice Sendak, and thank you.

Below is a 2002 PBS news-clip featuring Sendak.

P.S. I don't know why this is, but everywhere I go on the web lately, I seem to run into Neil Gaiman... not that this is a bad thing... it's a very nice thing actually. Here's a link to Gaiman's thoughts on Maurice Sendak via a Wired memorial. (via Boing Boing)... and Gaiman's related journal entry.