Friday, September 01, 2006

Influencing the Influence

When I research artists for my BioGem pages, I am often surprised at the influences which turn an artist toward one direction or another. Sometimes it is on a personal level; others times it happens to whole bunches of us at once. In art, sometimes it is even hard to tell which is the influence and which is the influencee.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend who said, "I had to get back to what I do best; my work had gotten too crafty; I was adding too much junk." I knew what she meant; I had judged a show and was surprised to find her name attached to one of the collaged entries. We both wondered why she had gone in that direction.

The 20th C was filled with artists who invented new ways of expressing themselves. We thought they were in a class by themselves. Today, I see a whole realm of creative impulses out there which seem to be influencing the making of art. There are admonitions as non-specific as to "follow your muse" and "dream with color," to instructions to "take a bit of this, add a little of that, tear an edge, glaze over, try some texture, float in an old photograph, make a line with these new markers. . . ." And I am beginning to see a fading of that fine line between abstraction, altered books, contemporary painting, collage, assemblage, and scrapbooking.

Is this a good thing? Gotta think about this.

Robert Indiana was influenced by signs and LOVE.


Joyce said...

Annette, most of the exhibition space that I occupy for four months of the year is shared with crafters. I view their work and the work of "fine" artists on a continuum of creative art. Some of the work of crafters is mouth-wateringly good and just as imaginative and "fine" as any painting, scupture or architectual work.

I have to remind myself about this all the time and I try not to see one as better than the other--just different.

I think this is a positive and natural attitude to take.

Annette said...

Joyce, I did not mean that one is better than another. My interest is how much cross influence is occuring and the value of it. I will write a little more about this later this week. BTW, no one appreciates good crafts more than I do -- I touch on a few of my favorites from the weekend in Wednesday's entry.