Heads up, guys. A new book is in town and it's one of the best books on the relationship of the artist and his/her work I've put my hands on in a good long while. When Seth asked if I'd be willing to join him on the blog book tour, I was more than happy to say yes. I've worked with Seth a tiny bit and love his energy and the way he so generously shares the work and thoughts of others on his blog. Nary a wiff of pretention will you sniff there.
In his first (amazing) book, "The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed" he has curated a beautifully diverse group of artist not only in the mediums they work in, but also in age, gender, life experiences, and aesthetics. The book is full of juicy artwork and equally as thirst-quenching q&a's by the artists. The questions Seth asked the artists are extremely relevant especially today with the added complication that a public persona through the internet can be as an artist. I especially love pages 122-123. The question Seth presents there is "Is creativity built-in, learned, or both?" The answers are all so perfectly penned. (I was going to share a favorite but they are all amazing for different reasons.)
On page 134 he asks "What do you think your preferred art medium says about your personality?" I got to thinking about all the studio messes I make in pursuit of a finished piece of work and the metaphors came flooding into my mind. Both metal and plaster smithing - my mediums - are not clean and tidy. They are earthy, grounded, raw. They require slowness and conscious connection with time. I can't just push something into being done in a hurry. I have to wait for the right heat or for something to dry (heat guns don't do much to rush plaster like they do paint). While i'm in that slow time of waiting, I get this slow whirlwind of energy going on around my body. I have to pace my thinking so that there is a balance between the ideas that are coming (or not coming) and the readiness of the medium. I have to connect with the thoughts about myself that come alive during that waiting time and the slowness of it all allows me to work through so much in my mind while I'm just sitting in a chair. It's a trip. My mediums are like me - earthy, grounded, raw. I'm willing to go through a whole heap of mess to get to the truth of what I want to create. I'm like that about me too.
The questions Seth presents to the contributing artists are so centering in that they slide right in to the heart of what it means to be an artist and the aspects of life and identity that we have the experience of juggling more in the forefront than our non-artist counterparts. I love that so many perspectives are shared and yet there is the commonality of authenticity in each and every answer. I adore many of the artists in the book and am delighted to be introduced to new-to-me ones. Seeing the faces of dear friends among the pages as well is pretty dang cool too.
You'll be hearing a lot about this book in the coming weeks. Lots of people are happy to share this labor of love with the creative community. If you want to make a few more stops on the tour, bring a snack and wear some comfy walking shoes. It's like Disneyland...without lines and expensive junk. This book is the real adventureland. :)
April 2 Rice Freeman-Zachery
April 3 Stephanie Lee
April 4 Ali Edwards
April 5 Ro Bruhn
April 6 Roben-Marie Smith
April 7 Nancy Lefko
April 8 Kelly Kilmer
April 9 Trudi Sissons
April 10 Melody Nunez
April 11 Dina Wakley
April 12 Stephanie Hilvitz
P.S. I just returned home from Artfest late last night after a long drive home and I have so much to pick through - all the tender parts, all the silly parts, all the bittersweet parts, all the parts that are still trying to fit somewhere. From the sorting I'll share with you what I can put into words in the next day or two.