Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Book Guild - Chapter 14

Welcome to the fourth edition of The Pulse -- The State of the Art -- a survey in words and pictures of the online artist community. Nearly 150 artists have answered a list of questions which make up The Pulse. Their responses will be presented as a series of online and print projects. Secret Sunday was the first project and the links to all the secrets can be found on the sidebar of my blog. The Book Guild is the second project and Chapter 14 starts right now!

All artists participating in The Pulse were asked to name their favorite art books. The Book Guild will present this list, along with links, book reviews, giveaways, and interviews with many of your favorite authors. And as members of The Guild, I am hoping YOU will participate by leaving comments related to the books in each post - for example thoughts, book reviews, personal experiences, or a link back to your own blog posts that include artwork based on a project in the listed book.


Thanks to everybody who entered last week's giveaway for a copy of Collage Playground. The random number site chose Kimber from A Journey in Creativity as the lucky winner. Congratulations! Please contact me via email with your mailing address. And if you didn't win, you can purchase this book here.

Chapter 14: Rice Freeman-Zachery

Several of Rice's books were listed as favorites by a number of survey participants. Both Donna Joy and Jill Zaheer selected Creative Time & Space: Making Room for Making Art as a favorite.

Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art

Patti Sandham named Living the Creative Life: Idea's and Inspiration from Working Artists as one of her favorites. And you can add my name to the list, as this book is also one of my biggest inspirations.

Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists

Rice generously shared the following with The Altered Page:

I read a review of Creative Time and Space the other day in which the guy said the book had a lot of “fluff” and needed more depth. I had to laugh because I knew exactly what he wanted: like a lot of people, he thinks “creativity” is something deep and mysterious and tortured. He’s thinking Van Gogh, he’s thinking Michelangelo. He’s thinking the miserable starving artist in the garret.

I’ve talked to dozens of working artists--artists who make their living making their art--and none of them have been tortured, miserable, struggling. Oh, sure--they’re miserable when things aren’t going well, and they struggle just like everyone else with bills and taxes and supplies and time. But what I’ve learned from them, and what I want to pass on to readers, is that work is work. If art is your work, you work at it just as you would if your work were law or teaching or automotive repair. You don’t sit and daydream and ruminate about your lousy childhood. Does your dentist start every day going over the trauma of his toilet training?

I chose working artists who are generous and genuinely interested in helping other people find their own way to creating the things they imagine in their heads. They’ve offered tips and ideas, techniques and jumpstarts--all in the hope that one of those will be just the thing to spark the fire. But, really, in the end it’s just about doing the work.

People want creativity to be mysterious. There have been tons of books written that try to dissect and quantify creativity. Some are scientific. Some are touchy-feely. Some, like my two, are based on interviews with working artists, and my point in writing them was to show that creativity is about the work, about taking whatever ideas you have, learning the skills and techniques you need to know, and then getting busy and doing the work to make them real. It’s about work, and there’s nothing fluffy about that. That’s not sexy, though, so we don’t harp on it in the books as much as I would in real life, but it’s the truth. And if you love what you do, “work” never seems like a bad word at all.

Visit Rice at her blog Notes from the Voodoo Cafe


Kathryn Dyche said...

I recently purchased 'Creating Time and Space' and am in the middle of reading it. Whilst it contains a lot of really useful information, personally it's not an easy read for me. It feels repetitive in places and I don't like the fact that I have to keep jumping back through the pages to read to the smaller side bars/notes. I can appreciate the message that the author is trying to convey though.

ArtPropelled said...

I have both these books and thoroughly enjoyed reading them, especially Living the Creative Life.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I have a copy of Creative Time and Space, and like the first commenter, I thought the design layout was distracting. I realize you need to set information apart, but having to stop and read one part of a page, then return to the other part, was, in my opinion, not a wise design choice. However, like everything Rice does, it was well written and her choice of artists was top notch. Thanks for sharing this with us and for getting an interview with the author.

MrCachet said...

As always, a refreshing look into the lives of REAL artists.

lyle baxter said...

nice commentary by rice .unfortunately , as is often true in our world, she is preaching to the choir! but hopefully some of those who complain of flaff and say what do you do that for will read her remarks! I really appreciate her speaking out! I know she often does that!

Lisa said...

I like Rice's style and enjoyed her commentary on your post.

Gwen said...

I love this post, and second everything that Rice said about work. I recently read this concept in a book by Julia Cameron, Finding Water, and it was like a lightbulb going off! Of course, doing one's art is work, you approach it like your "day job", you don't wait for "inspiration" to go to work on Tuesday, you just go and do it. I have finally started to approach my art this way, and have done 5 canvases in as many weeks, thanks to just showing up and doing the work! the inspiration hits while one is working, not before!!

Artsnark said...

another informative post - always a pleasure stopping by here. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Interesting words from Rice. I love her work and I whole heartedly agree that 'work is work' and no one should wait for the muse to show up, cause then we'll be spending most of our time waiting, not creating. However, I do not believe that art making, or the act of creating should be compared to automotive repair and such. We are in the 'business' of 'expressing', expressing abstract ideas, worlds, the self, etc. and as such DEPTH, personal explorations, and naval gazing are definitely a required aspect of it, integral. Yes, perspiration, good old hard work, fun, and even lightness as well, but ultimately people look to be inspired by their own work and by the work of others, to be magnificently moved, they do look for depth. For me personally, I can figure out techniques and materials to work with all by myself but originality and inspiration that come from observing other people creations, that's priceless, that's what I want when I look for books. I do get it from Rice's books and from the artists she chose to showcase in them.

ChrisM said...

I love Rice's contribution! She's so right-on. We can analyze with big words and philosophies all we want, but it doesn't change the result, or the fact that we have to DO something in order to achieve it.

deb said...

firstly, green with envy about your last post!!! And bravo for saying it, art is work, you show up, you do it, some days it is great other days not so much... and everyday moves us a step closer to where we are meant to be...

Pam Carriker said...

Totally agree, the difference between 'wanting to be an artist' and 'being an artist' lies in the 'doing' of it! Put your desires and dreams into action! No deep, dark, mystery, more a healthy dose of motivation!

altered bits said...

both are fantastic books, though i only own the second one. i've flipped through the first and find it quite enjoyable and plan on purchasing it.

thank you for the additional commentary too.