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Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa.
We have no choice but to talk about making a statement today. "Why?" you ask? Because I have a very strong mental image front and center of one that I just viewed. Ha. See? No choice.
Let me paint the verbal picture for you: I had just delivered some new paintings to MaryRose Gallery in Perry, Iowa. As I started the car and began the return trip home, the very first intersection I came to yielded up the story root. There, driving down Second Avenue in Perry, Iowa: a vintage Jeep, and you know it had to be red. Did I mention it's a beautiful day in central Iowa? So, of course, the canvas top was back, letting the driver enjoy every part of his trip. At each corner post of the windshield was an American flag. The driver was seventy plus years, give or take a few. He'd taken it upon himself to make sure everyone knew what he was saying. Making his statement. Because right below the windshield, resting on the hood cover, he'd posted a sign, as wide as the jeep hood, and just the right height to fit under the windshield. In big black block letters he'd written and I quote: "Bite me". Whoa. I grabbed for my trusty camera and then realized he'd probably come after me with his cane, so no, no picture for you.
Making a statement. I guess he'd done that. I'm not here to tell you that I understand his statement completely. But I can tell you I'm still thinking about it. Wondering about it. Trying to figure it out. And I know the mental image isn't leaving me soon.
If we expand our definition of artist's canvas, and call his a "rolling canvas", he could check off "mission accomplished" for today, couldn't he? How about the rest of us? Have we made our statement in the visual arts world today? Or are we just going through the motions?
I recently read a comment from a fellow artist. The artist exhibits at summer art fairs, and has had a not so great summer. Vowing to not quit, she's planning to "cobble something together" to keep going. I want to know: how does to "cobble something together" equate with being an artist? Doesn't being an artist mean you've got some statement to make? Something MORE than I can "cobble this together" and sell it to you?
Maybe you've guessed by now, but I find that "cobble something together" phrase disturbing. Disturbing enough so that rolling around in the back of the mental blog file is a series of articles about the summer art fair. Stay tuned. I'll probably inadvertently be all kinds of politically incorrect in my attempt to make the statement. But it's a statement that is more and more needing to be made.
In the mean time, think about what it is that you are wanting to say with your art. It can be as simple as "I saw this and I loved it, and here's why". When art creation is a reaction to a stimulus experienced by the artist, the first big step toward something meaningful has been made. Go for it. And it WILL be a lovely day. Thanks for stopping by.
Dios mio. This post needs some color, and so a painting newly delivered to Perry, Iowa seems logical, eh? The Caboose Park:
The "Caboose Park" is an acrylic painting on canvas, 12 x 24 inches and available--sort of. It will be part of an auction at Art On The Prairie, this November 11th, 12th and 13th, in Perry. I guess that means you have to be there...
Editor's Note: You can view Karen's original post here.