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Archive for January 27th, 2010

I wrote yesterday about how music and other stimuli influence my work.  Since then I’ve been thinking about that and a comment made by writer David Terrenoire about knowing other fiction writers who refuse to read other writers for fear of having the voice of this other writer creep into their own.

I believe the creativity of any artist, writer, or musician comes from their own unique perception of the world around them, how they see and take in everything to which they’re exposed and reflect it back to the world.  I don’t think it’s so much that they create new worlds but how they synthesize what they encounter in this world into their own personal version of it.  This synthesis of influences is what gives an artist their unique voice.

I was recently talking to a young painter, still in a college program, whose work showed real promise but it was obvious he was still in search of a voice.  Every painting carried the earmarks of the painter he was influenced by during its making.  While all were well done, there was nothing yet visible that stood out as being uniquely his in any of the paintings.  It was obvious he was still gathering influences, seeing what was out there and trying to copy it first.  I asked him how he liked to paint, how he saw his work in his mind and he said he wasn’t sure yet.

He hadn’t started synthesizing yet.  While obviously talented, his voice was not present yet.

But at some point, for any creative person,  there has to be the transition from simply taking in information and reflecting it just as it entered to a thought process that allows new data, new influences, to be taken in and transformed internally into something uniquely their own.  Their own voice becomes unmistakable.

When that happens, I can’t say.  It’s probably different for every person and maybe it never happens for many.  Maybe there’s an aspect to this I’m overlooking because I am just thinking out loud here.

As is often the case, I don’t really know…

The piece at the top is a tiny new painting,  the image being 1 1/2″ by 3 1/2 ” in size and matted in a 6″ by 8″ frame, called Hold Your Banner High.  It is available at the West End Gallery as part of their Little Gems exhibit.

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