>Artists’ Blogs Before the Internets


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“Hey, Ernie” Corel Painter © Kathy Ferrell All rights reserved.
I communicate through pictures, and I’d like to propose that all people who write for a living be made to feel old-fashioned and out of touch unless they produce at least one weekly painting and post it on the internet. Now that I’ve fired my warning shot, I can begin the first installment in what seems to be the only raison d’existence for a twenty-first century creative…the “Artist’s Blog”.
Why would an artist write? Who wants to read it? I’ve always been a fairly consistent diarist. I do not “journal”. I’ve always hoped that my future great-grandchildren would find it interesting, but strangers? Only if I become very famous. Since reading Keith Haring’s journals, however, I have become more open to the idea of writing about the personal experience of creating, with a thought to the reader, before I become hugely famous. To paraphrase what he wrote about keeping a journal, he said that he wasn’t terribly eager, didn’t feel like it was a good use of his time, but once he began to habitually write about his ideas for paintings, future projects, etc. he began to see a real increase in how much he got done. He found that writing helped him to formulate more concrete plans for creation. If Keith were still with us, he’d doubtless be blogging, and we’d all be better off.
Lately I’ve sought out the writings of artists who interest me, because I have reached the age where I wish to “hear it from the horse’s mouth”, as my father always advised. All through my youth people seemed so eager to share with me their knowledge of this artist or that one, little anecdotes about the eccentricities of long dead human beings that my companions had never known. The stories that were most repeated usually concerned ear amputation, long stays in asylums and suicide. I don’t think I’m alone in my belief that it isn’t healthy for young aspiring artists to be constantly barraged with the notion that in order to achieve recognition in the career they wish to pursue it is required that they be miserable, lonely and mentally ill. I get up in the morning, I create and I’m pretty happy about it. I’m not just drawing puppies all day, either. One of my favorite styles in which to work is often described as “Gothic”. It has brought me some success, and it’s far from depressing when your “creepy picture” pays the bills.
Currently I am reading Whistler’s “Gentle Art of Making Enemies” and I recently completed “An Artist in America” by Thomas Hart Benton. I recommend both, but I was delighted to discover how funny Benton was. He had such a reputation as a pugnacious grouch, (like another artist I could name…ahem), but when I read the actual words he wrote, I found myself often laughing out loud. I could benefit from a blog. Maybe I can benefit you as well, dear reader, with intrigue, dinner conversation, or stunning controversy. At the very least, you will come to know me through my own words, not as an exaggerated caricature of a “nutty artist”, but as a three-dimensional person, sharing many of the same situations you go through.  Here’s hoping.

©Kathy Ferrell and “Big Cup O’Blog” (blog about Cup O Swank Studio), 2011.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kathy Ferrell and Big Cup O’Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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