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Posts Tagged ‘Toni Morrison’

GC Myers- Listening to the Muse

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I thought I would rerun the blog entry below that first ran in January of 2015. It might be the only piece of advice I truly feel comfortable in giving to aspiring artists in any discipline. Plus, it can be applied to everyone in their lives even if they aren’t engaged in creative endeavors because, at its base, it’s not just about making things, as much as it might seem at first glance. It’s about an attitude of being proactive in altering the world around us in what we see as being a positive manner. It’s about seeing something that doesn’t fully satisfy you and taking action to change that.

Moreover, at its root, it is about determining the person we want to be and moving consciously towards that goal.

Take a look and decide for yourself:

 

I spent quite a bit of time this morning looking at the image of the painting above, Listening to the Muse. It’s part of my show at the Kada Gallery [That show opened in December of 2014] which is in it’s last weekend there. This painting really captivates me on a personal level and reminds me of  a thought that once drove me forward as a younger painter. It’s a thought that I often pass along as a bit of advice to aspiring artists:

Paint the paintings you want to see.

Sounds too simple to be of any help, doesn’t it? But that simplicity is the beauty and strength of it.

For me, I wasn’t seeing the paintings out there that satisfied an inner desire I had to see certain deep colors that were being used in a manner that was both abstract and representative. If I had seen something that fulfilled these desires, I most likely would not have went ahead as a painter. I wouldn’t have felt the need to keep pushing.

It was this simple thought that marked the change in my evolution as a painter. Before it, I was still trying to paint the paintings that I was seeing in the outer world, attempting to emulate those pieces and styles that already existed as created by other artists. But it was unsatisfying, still echoing the work of others, forever judged in comparison to these others.

But after the realization that I should simply paint what I wanted to see, my work changed and I went from a bondage to that which existed to the freedom of what could be found in creating something new. For me, that meant finding certain colors such as the deep reds and oranges tinged with dark edges that mark this piece. It meant trying to simplify the forms of world I was portraying so that the colors and shapes collectively took on the same meditative quality that I was seeing in each of them.

In my case this seems to be the advice I needed. But I think it’s advice that works for nearly anything you might attempt.

Paint the paintings you want to see.

Write the book you want to read. [Toni Morrison said this very thing at one point]

Play the music you want to hear. Make the film you want to see. Cook the food you want to eat. Make the clothes you want to wear.

Make the world in which you want to live.

Simple.

Now go do it.

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“She was fierce in the presence of death, heroic even, as she was at no other time. Its threat gave her direction, clarity, audacity.”

Toni MorrisonSong of Solomon

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I’ve been working with a new element in my work lately, a lone female figure like the one in the new painting above, and it has been making me think.

Probably explains the headaches– that dull pain that comes after using long neglected muscles.

I joke, of course. Never had those muscles in the first place to neglect.

Again, a joke. My apologies.

This lone figure strikes me in a much different way than the lone male figure I sometimes employ in my work. While he sometimes feels remorseful or lonely, this female figure doesn’t give me those feelings at all. There is a sense of boldness, determination, and empowerment that comes with her that really pleases me.

She feels absolutely strong.

Fierce.

Audacious.

It was something I hoped for In the work. Being in the world of art for last couple of decades has exposed me to many strong and bold women, both behind the scenes and as artists. It excites me to see so many young female artists recognize the importance of their own voices and the need to step forward to let the world hear them.

I think that is what comes through in the painting above. The title certainly hints at that– Light Favors Audacity. Boldness is something I fully believe in. This world doesn’t favor the meek and timid and nothing is given unless it is either asked for or simply taken.

This stands in stark opposition to the phrase that so many folks hang on to tightly, better safe than sorry. Those folks that invoke the phrase often end up being both sorry and sad in their safety. You know those people, the ones who constantly start their stories with if only or I could have or I should have.

Stop waiting for others to find you. Set out on your own journey and stay true to your values and your voice. It is as important and valid as that of anyone else.

Be audacious and let the world know you are there. The light will usually find those who are bold enough to seek it.

Here’s this Sunday morning music. It’s a neat rendition of the Billy Idol song, Dancing With Myself, done in the form of a jazz quartet from the Postmodern Jukebox, which is a group of rotating musicians who rework modern songs into different vintage genres. This song translates really well and I find it highly enjoyable.

See for yourself. Have a good Sunday.

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