Sunday, May 9, 2010

True Colors - Lynne Perrella


Lynne Perrella
Project Organizer
White


The idea for the True Colors collaboration occurred to me one Saturday morning, and I sent out a preliminary email to a group of my favorite artists to “test the waters” and get their feedback about the overall idea of exploring color. I chose the overview of color because I knew it was general and universal, completely open to interpretation. Some of the artists were longtime personal friends of mine, and others were friends “through the mail” although we had never met face-to-face. The only “new-to-me” artist was Karen Michel, who I invited because I so admired her work and hoped she would like to join us. (Over the next couple of years, I eventually got to meet ALL the True Colors artists, except one.) Throughout the collaboration, we kept the enthusiasm going with a lot of emails (Michelle tabulated the total, and it was in the thousands!?) and the sheer excellence of the work was both inspiring and exhilarating.

When the editorial staff at Stampington heard about the collaboration, they expressed an interest in doing an article about our project…..however, when one of the journals was sent to their offices for a preliminary look-see, they immediately asked if we would be agreeable to a book about “True Colors”. It was our great fortune to work with Kathy Bold, and she did a spectacular job of editing all of our lengthy stories about our experiences, and formulating it into an interesting text to accompany Stampington’s beautiful photography. I thought the art direction, page design, and styling of the photography was excellent. Best of all, I so appreciated that Stampington never considered turning the project into a “technique” book; and their focus was always on the art and the relationships between the artists.

True Colors: A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals

Some “urban myths” about True Colors:

First of all, many people think (or assume) that the project was done “for publication” and that is incorrect. The journals were done for our own artistic exploration, as well as friendship and regard for each other. Frequently I am asked about how to organize a collaboration “for publication”, and this always seems like a hollow motivation to begin a group project. Its been my experience that a collaboration needs to “happen” first, and then perhaps some additional implications as a book or article can emerge. If it starts out strictly “for publication”, I think all the oxygen goes out of the idea, and the work looks static. ( Just my opinion, obviously!)

The other thing that few people realize: “True Colors”, although very lengthy, only shows about HALF of the work. Many of our favorite journal spreads never made the cut, so they remain “ours alone to enjoy”. Michelle Ward did a beautiful spread in my White journal on the theme of Edelweiss, using softer-than-soft shades of buff, seafoam, and sepia. A beautiful interpretation of White. Plus, she worked with photos I had included in my journal of my view of the rolling hills seen from my home in Ancram, and translated those into sepia and included them into her winter-themed pages. It was clever – and very personal and meaningful to me. That kind of “extra effort” was what the whole True Colors experience was about.

All these years later, I still think of the True Colors collaboration as a very singular moment in time, when a group of artists put forward their best work and entered into friendships that still thrive and deepen today.

Lynne Perrella
http://www.lkperrella.com/

Assemblage made by Lisa Hoffman for Lynne Perrella. Pure white shoe and a nest containing a birds egg in each of the TC colors!

32 comments:

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Dear Lynne and Seth, I dug my True Colors book out once again and I have to agree with you that this was and is still an incredible journey for all artists discovering their paths and their voices with the encouragement for discovering new techniques and play with and off colors. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Leslie Avon Miller said...

This book introduced a whole new way of thinking to me. I still pick it up and look and look and look. A landmark in the art world, the book has become an Icon.

Chris said...

I think I would agree with Lynne about the way collaborating for publication would 'alter' the product in unexpected and probably static ways.

This is one reason I think that your DisCo Project was so successful, Seth. And why I'm glad it was published in Cloth Paper Scissors AFTER it came to fruition. And it's still making waves!

Sherry Goodloe said...

I've kept mine on the coffee table all these years :) It's definitely a "keeper"

Debrina said...

I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed reading this Seth. I think the world of Lynne Perrella - both her integrity as an artist and as an incredibly talented author. Believe it or not< i haven't seen this book, so I'm going to see if I can order one up for my library.

Gina said...

so true ... we must create from the heart first; the rest will follow - isnt that the same with life, love and all things ?

lets never forget to keep intent authentic ... however, if you love what you do, the question never arises ...

wonderful post ... (this is the second fabulous post i read this evening ... the other was over at Leslie Avon Millers) ....

i love this internet thang ... >>> Gina

Kim Palmer said...

Wonderful to read more about the story behind the project Seth thanks to both yourself and Lynne for that. I am so looking forward to discovering more about this collaborative effort! Oh too funny, the word verification is supahugg! One each for yourself and Lynne!

Coffee Messiah said...

Having never heard of the book, nor attempting altered books yet, I will have to seek this one out.

And certainly, knowing something is going to be printed for mass circulation would indeed alter how one would work on a project, no doubt about it.

Thanks 4 sharing! Cheers!

lyle baxter said...

dear seth, you and Lynne are a great combination! I'm so glad you got together! True Colors is indeed an inspiring book and I'm happy that you have brought it to the attention of people who havent had the chance to see it. my only complaint is that its too heavy to read comfortably in bed! there are so many wonderful pictures to see!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I, too, have owned this book since 2004. I was so disappointed when I first got it. I was relatively new to altered art and, although the photos in the book were amazing, I was hoping for a bit more substance. I put the book aside in hopes that someday I would appreciate it more. After all, back then, I was hoping to learn techniques and this book is not, and never has been about techniques (thanks to Lynn for pointing out what I've told my altered art friends for years).

I now look back on this book and wonder how I missed all the subtle nuances involved in the project. I don't have a coffee table, so I keep it in my guest bath, allowing everyone to read it at length. It's my way of sharing a great work with everyone I know.

Thanks for this great interview and your own personal thoughts, Seth. It's amazing what inspires others, and this book seems to have influenced everyone it touches.

Lani Gerity said...

Beautiful and so right when Lynne says the collaboration comes first, that otherwise the oxygen would disappear. Collaboration, generosity, excitement, and joy! All these things come first. Publication is just a vehicle for sharing it all with us! I'm sure that's why we love True Colors so much!

Jacky said...

Seth, I dont have the True Colors book but I am definately going to keep an eye out for it.
I will be looking forward to these posts in the upcoming weeks and visiting the many artists concerned through your links.

Jacky xox

TechnoBabe said...

The finished piece with the white shoe is wonderful. Some people have such extraordinary ideas and are able to implement the ideas.

Bea said...

Playing with friends is always the best fun. What results from that is like getting to lick the icing bowl. True Colors has always been on my shelf of favorite books. :)Bea

Pattio said...

Seth and Lynne,

Wonderful post! It is so interesting to hear Lynne's thoughts about the project. This book affected me deeply. I had sketch books that I stamped in but this changed what I was doing and I became an art journaler. It is still my favorite thing to do. I would love to see those journals in person to be able to appreciate the textures, colours and flow of each overall journal. It must have been so incrediable to be a part of.

Cheers

deb said...

Bleu & Liz, I am so glad that I am not the only person who keeps books in the bathroom!!

I wholeheartedly agree that the project should come first for its own sake, I haven't looked at this in a while, time to put it back in a bathroom again!!

Lisa Hoffman said...

Seth and Lynne,
Well, I know that THIS True Colors artist deeply appreciates your beautiful and rich post. The experience changed my life in SO many ways that it would take another 10 column inches of "comment" to even scratch the surface. I'm overjoyed to know that the work continues to inspire and delight. I'm sure that everyone will be checking this Blog daily to catch each artist contribution. Again, I bow deeply in Thanks.
Lisa Hoffman- Books= Forest Floor and Aqua Exotica

Marylinn Kelly said...

Thanks you, Seth, many times over for allowing these stories to come to light and bringing awareness of the whole True Colors project to reach a new audience. And to Lynne, xoxo.

Sherry said...

Add me to the list of artists inspired by this book. Until I saw this book I'd never heard of altered books or art journaling and now I can't imagine how that could have possibly been.
Lynne, should you ever decide to do this again I'm sure there are hundreds of us who would love to volunteer!!!

sf said...

MORE MORE MORE!!!
Thanks Lynne!!! FOR TC AND EVERYTHING ELSE...
THANKS Seth, for ALL you do...you are ZE BEST...

Leslie said...

Gosh, I have enjoyed reading Lynne's story about the book here, and I'm happy to know that collaboration was not targeted for publication from fruition. Having said that, I am very glad that it was published!

Thanks for all you do Seth!

Dee / Cloth Company said...

ordered the book this week. can't wait.

jill Zaheer said...

Great way to make True Colors really come to life. Loved every word from Lynne about the history of the book, how it came to fruition and the relationship she had with the other artists. Look forward to continuing to hear more about this amazing book through it's artists!

ArtPropelled said...

Great to read a little history on this book. Its definitely going on my wish list.

Joanie Hoffman said...

Thank you both, Lynne & Seth, for this posting. I have been re-looking over True Colors this past weekend.
Fantastic & inspiring, as always.
Happy days,
Joanie

paperqueen said...

This wonderful book inspired a collaborative journal project that is still going on after over a year. And that inspired four further projects, each with different themes. Some artists are in all five, though most groups have different dynamics, and True Colors as well as my journal groups is largely responsible for all my recent growth as an artist.
I was fortunate enough to take workshops with Lynne last year, (and met Seth in one of them), and am signed up for two more in 2010.
By the way, I keep my copy in the kitchen (where I tend to be a lot!), and look at it whenever I sit down for a cup of coffee. And each time I do, I find something I didn't see before.
Eileen

Anonymous said...

Interesting insight - though I'd not ever thought the True Colors book started out with a publication in mind. I really agree with Lynne's comment about a collaboration kept first and foremost as the priority...afterall much of the time, these projects are labors of love and it is that which creates their sparkle!

ART*ticulation said...

I must say I devoured the book when I got it years ago. And in light of the post I have brought it back out to explore it. Thank you both!

michelle ward said...

Seth, I have just gone through all the posts from the most recent until this one - kinda fun to end it at Lynne's, which was actually your first posting.

This has been an enjoyable stroll back through the TC experience. Thanks Seth for all the work to compile such a comprehensive re-cap across so many posts.

As you know, Lynne is a fountain of talent and ideas. She genereously set the table for a grand dinner party, so to speak, that has filled us many times over, yet still leaves us hungry for more. I raise a glass *clink* to her.

grrl + dog said...

true colors was THE book that
inspired me to open that journal,

create an altered book and begin to belive in myelf

enough to

actually do it.

Great to hear the background on it..it did and still does ring true .

tgarrett said...

I love this book and have had it since it first came out. Think it's time to pull it out again!

Darlene K Campbell said...

I have to get my hands on this book Seth. A lovely spirited collaboration project. What an opportunity to share and learn along side other artists. Whew!