Friday, December 9, 2011

Art Blog: What INSPIRES You?

One of the things that has bothered me in recent years is the lack of true art inspiration. It might just be my own problem. It might be my age (been there, done that). It might be that I have seen so much art, my brain if full now. I don’t know.

In recent months, I have tried in a diligent way to peruse and search for art that makes the hair on my arms stand up. This experience is rare to nil right now. What is going on here? I don’t know. Maybe I am just a stick-in-the-mud curmudgeon. Maybe I am becoming an artistic Andy Rooney or something. I really don’t know.

I remember a time when I would go to New York for the weekend and visit museums. OMG!! Standing in front of Picasso’s
Guernica made me weak in the knees. Seriously, I really felt like I was witnessing a miracle. I might as well been standing in the Lourdes grotto seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary. That is the magnitude of my awe. Could it be that this was an experience felt because I was so young and inexperienced? I long for that feeling again.

I had visceral feelings when I viewed any Antoni Tàpies painting too. I am not even sure why. I know I love the texture and complicated, simplicity of his work. Yet, my own work is so different. Still, I love it and get such a gut reaction when I see it.

I guess what I am talking about is the longing for inspiration in a very deep way. I am not talking about wanting to be inspired to do my own work. I do that regardless. I am really speaking about a yearning to feel the heroic nature of art. I long for the feeling for art on high. It is not just a product you sell on Etsy. It is not something you make to sell under a tent. It isn't even something that is sold at a pretentious art fair to collectors who have more money than true interest in art. It is something so much more than that. It is a spiritual, emotional, and physical phenomenon that takes you to a new and better place.

Yes. I know you can’t take that to the bank. I know times and mind sets have changed. Still, I want that feeling again. Maybe I am an old lady with old ideas. I guess I am uselessly old school. I don’t care. I love seeing art that makes me want to make more art of my own because I want someone, even one person to feel that feeling when they see something I have created.

I will shut up and leave you all with one more inspirational piece. This one might be of great value to my psyche because I have taken the time to learn about the artist and her life. When I see her work, I shake with admiration. I can only wish I could measure up. She lived for her art life, good and bad. There were many other lovers, but the winner was named ART. Alice Neel is one of my art heros.

What art inspires you? What art makes you quiver? Think about it.


namastenancy said...

Yes, yes and yes. I adore Tapies work, was blown away by the early Picasso's and works of Matisse at the Stein exhibit at SFMOMA earlier this year. The Berkeley Art Museum had two fantastic shows - one of Kurt Schwitters and another by artists with disabilities. SFMOMA has a couple of incredible pieces by Matisse in it's permanent collection and the de Young has a small selection of Diebenkorn and Joan Brown's pieces that pull me back time after time. They are magical. That's one reason why this year's 2010 SECA awards were so disappointing. The most complex thing about them was the verbiage surrounding each exhibit but little of excitement or inspiration in the art itself. If you want to laugh and cry at the same time, read the current piece in my blog - and know that I pulled back from my rant to make the column more professional. Art should be about the magic; when it's about career or when the words overtake the image, it's not good art (IMHO). BTW - thanks for all these posts. You are bringing up really important issues for us as artists and I appreciate the opportunity to have the conversation.

Bob Ragland said...

I am inspired by a lot of things.
The list is long.
I look through my library of art books and magazines often, for ideas.
I keep a list of subjects to explore.
If I don't have any outstanding ideas when I get in front of my easel
I make something up from memory.

Sheree Rensel said...

Nancy and Bob,
Thank you for your ideas and feedback. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for being THINKING artists. Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm.