Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Urgent 2nd Class

This morning I was reading Artist's Cafe' - Best of Somerset Studio Art and Design when I stumbled upon an all inspiring editorial written by Nick Bantock, dated September/October 2004.

The article is entitled Urgent 2nd Class - An ephemeral art. The article is basically a plug for his latest book which is entitled as the same above. However I absolutely adore and practice myself the fundamentals of mixed media art, ephemeral wonderments, and collaged creations. So to witness the sheer eye candy alone within this article much less well versed verbage to follow was more than I could bare - inspiring.

I'm going to quote the following inspirational editorial in which I read this morning. Even if you aren't a fellow artisan, I hope it too at least inspires you to be more open minded toward things that aren't shiney new perfect, in which are dust covered, tattered and torn, because that in itself is also beautiful.

The Article: Urgent 2nd Class - An Ephemeral Art by Nick Bantock
"It seems to me that there is a fundamental struggle going on in the crafting universe, a celestial battle between those who desire security in decoration and those who hunger for libertine adventure. The two armies have traded insults for a while now. Pinkpoodalist and teddy bear protectionists rage at the artyfarty-sepia-saturators and vice versa. The lines are drawn!

Okay, it's not quite that bad, but as in most arenas, the extremists tend to hog the limelight and those on middle ground are forgotten. Zealots aside, there is a bridge between art and craft that can be transversed. And there is nothing wrong with wandering to and fro across that overpass whenever the mood takes. For me, building bridges begins in my own and in our collective tribal memories. Playing with history leads me toward a personal art, no matter if it be interfering with old envelopes, altering documents or constructing collage. I encourage myself to dip into the unconscious, not for therapy's sake, but as a means of releasing the muse. I believe that tapping into the underworld and its attendant emotions allows the past to feed the page.

Over 70 years ago Jun'icherø Tanizaki wrote these words "Yet for better or for worse we love things that bear the marks of grime, soot, and weather, and we love colours and the sheen that call to mind the past that made them." I share his longing. I love the idea of a creativity that honors the effects of time and makes mischief with history. Growing up in a society where hard, cold, and shiny are often highly valued, I find myself gravitating toward the opposite. Snow-blinded by bleached white paper, I crave smoky patina and shadowy aged surfaces.

Urgent 2nd Class, the title of my new book, is intended to be an ironic contradiction - part postal joke and part reference to the mediocrity our haste for progress inspires. The book attempts to guide those who wish to learn how to embellish and expand onto paper ephemera. By ephemera I mean torn maps, tattered letters, timeworn etchings, out-of-date bank notes, old game boards, redundant labels, near worthless manuscripts, and other unloved scraps of paper. In short I refer to the disheveled, foxed, creased, and half-burnt leftovers of bygone eras" - - - unquote.

Okay.. that very editorial made me mumble Amen brotha, amen and I felt a small moist tear at the corner of my eye. Such words were spoken into my little artists heart.Such words I always think when creating, and yet can never put how I feel into words. But Nick Bantock most certainly did! Within his editorial, he also featured techniques on each phase of collage assembly. I also bravo'ed and enjoyed his words on two of the dying techniques - to which I also find myself guilty of and always struggling with - to incorporate into my own pieces.

Quote - NB: "Drawing - Anyone who has tried to assemble a piece of furniture from an instruction sheet composed by a dyslexic, Scandinavian sadist knows what panic is. I've noticed that as soon as the word drawing gets mentioned, many people take on a similar look of petrified hopelessness. Unlike the aforementioned unjoinable joinery, there are obvious reasons why drawing has become such a daunting challenge. Quite simply, the art of seeing is seldom taught in schools. Drawing has pretty much been deemed a redundant activity unless a person is artistic and headed for art college."

"Handwriting - Once, handwriting was commonplace and the literates' eyes were attuned to comprehend individual styles and letter formations; the handwritten word was a reflection of a person's personality. You could establish if your correspondent was tight and careful or open and gregarious by the inked shapes emitted by his or her pen. Now, for reasons of expedience, we teach a uniformly constructed alphabet and non-self-expressive script. When the mechanical writing revolution came, fewer and fewer people felt a need to handwrite. It is hardly surprising then that today we look with abstract awe at what seems to be the swirling complexities of an everyday hand from 150 years ago."
- - - unquote.


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