Friday, June 8, 2012

About the Talk

I think this is going to be a short piece of writing. I got caught up this morning in making little hearts for this weekend’s open studio event. They are fun to do and if I had nothing else on my schedule today, I would go on and on. Never mind that I don’t need more than I already have. I don’t, and the world probably doesn’t need more little hearts. It’s about the pleasure of being totally involved in making something. And using Photoshop to mess with my paintings is like having a magic wand.

Photographer Robert Adams, author of Why People Photograph, comments: “Art is by nature self-explanatory.” He goes on to put forth the reasons that artists are reticent, why they are disinclined to speak of their work. “Part of the reason that these attempts at explanation fail, I think, is that photographers, like all artists, choose their medium because it allows them the most fully truthful expression of their vision… as Robert Frost told a person who asked him what one of his poems meant, ‘You want me to say it worse?”

A lot of the artists I know are shy and prefer to keep their thoughts to themselves but many delight in talking about their work. (Count me in that group.) When amongst themselves, even those less comfortable with an audience will often be happy to speak of the project in hand as a way to get some response that might be of value. But what I find most interesting about this photographer, and a fine one he is, is that he doesn’t seem to be short on words. Google him. He’s written a number of books and you’ll find quotations, comments in his own words, all over the place. He writes well too.

What he’s talking about is explaining the work. I have to admit to having some trouble with that. I can speak of the vision and I can describe the process without difficulty. But if my interviewer wants some kind of rationality behind the making of the little hearts, or anything else I make in Photoshop or paint in my studio I admit that there is none. I have to believe that there is some need for art in this world. There certainly is the need to create. It just never stops, does it?