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Archive for May 13th, 2009

Quotes from Peter London: No More Secondhand Art – Awakening the Artist Within

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Peter London’s book really changed my look at who I was and whether I might really be an artist. The book is a slow read if you really want to “get” what he is trying to say. It is worth the effort.

The techniques of Monet or Degas can be copied; their principles of design are not obscure, they can be learned. If you want them for yourself, you can have them — for a price. And the price is dearer than you may think. Not only will you have to put in at least as much time as they did in developing these same skills, all your living days, but the real price you will have paid is that you will have succeeded in becoming them, and will have missed becoming you.

The pursuit of the beautiful holds such an ancient and venerable position in the arts that we often fail to notice the inherent limitations of this notion and the price it exacts from practitioners and viewers alike.

The most obvious problem with making art synonymous with beauty is that they are really are two distinct terms referring to two entirely different objectives. The term art refers to a category of human activity. The term beauty refers to a quality of human activity, natural objects, and events. Art is the making of expressive symbols, something all humans do spontaneously and for the most part effortlessly. In contrast to the natural ease of image making, the making of beautiful objects requires a level of skill and knowledge that only the few ever exhibit. Therein lies the problem: so few people who attempt to capture the beautiful ever do so. Beauty is cherished in part because it is so rare, so difficult to achieve, and so elusive. The necessary rarity of beauty causes the few to be elevated, the many to be intimidated, jealous, and too often demeaned. For every winner in the beauty contests of art and life there are legions of losers, second-rates, honorable and not-so-honorable mentions. The inherent difficulty of approaching the beautiful causes trepidation for most people willing to engage in art, and trepidation can’t help but inhibit full expression.

Image is a self-addressed envelope I embellished, using original soft block prints (most made from carved erasers), back around 1998 or 1999. It is not perfect, it is not beautiful, but it is 100% LynnH in all ways, and that is why I chose this image for these quotations.

The World Beach Project

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Anyone can participate in this worldwide call for art. Create an artpiece, using stones as the visual medum, on a beach. Follow a few simple guidelines (listed on the site linked below).

Take/choose 3 photos of: 1) the beach, 2) the process, 3) the work. Upload photos to a website where others are uploading their photos, too.

I think it’s cool. I found it on the Victoria and Albert Museum’s textile page. While looking for something else, of course. (For the record, this museum website is absolutely wonderful.)

The World Beach Project was conceived by V&A Museum Artist in Residence, Sue Lawty.

Read more about the World Beach Project and how you can participate… or not.