encapsulate the year 2011 in one word.
explain why you're choosing that word.
now, imagine it's one year from today.
what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?
Write. Right? Writing is what we do much of the time, but never think much about it. We write; we’re not writers. It’s a means to an end, a narrative that gets our point across. I, seriously, never thought about it until this year. This year I wrote a book. It didn’t mean to be a book; it started as a blog about an art exhibit, a narrative to get a point across, a sketchbook of words about art without drawings. That’s the way I’ve always worked; a visual artist that sketches in words, and then illustrates those words, discarding the writing once the visual is finished. This year changed that system, changed my thinking, changed my art.
I have noticed that, every ten years, my art changes dramatically. This is not a conscious effort; it happens, and then I discover it in hindsight. I won’t go into the centuries before 1990, because my memory fails me, but I didn’t consider myself an artist until 1992 when I had my first solo show of trompe-l'œil still life oil paintings. Before that I was a student of art, a dilettante, dabbling in every medium I could find, trying to find the one, the serious one, because I was a serious artist. Of course, being serious meant that I made up so many rules to paint by, that I painted myself into a corner with rules and lost the joy of the art.
To find the joy, I started working in mixed media in 2000. This method was very similar to how I had worked before; write down the narrative, and then set up the props; only now, I wasn’t spending another 300 hours painstakingly painting an exact replica of the scene; the props were the art. The academic oil painting was no longer necessary.
It is only now that I see that writing is the thread that runs through the art. Every ten years, I seem to simplify, to pare down the excess of the art; maybe that is wisdom of age, or losing the muscle to carry it all. Either way, coming into 2011, the words had become the joy of the art, while the actual visual piece had become the accompaniment. Was it even necessary?
That is where I find myself as we end 2011. Write. That is the word that I discovered this year; that is the word that completely encapsulates this year. I write; that is the root of my art. I’m not ready to call myself a writer; I am still an artist, perhaps a writist. Maybe my 2012 word will be writer.