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December 29, 2013

Effortless or Worthless

We got back from New York last night. A memorable trip indeed.

For me, discovering the art of Wangechi Mutu at the Brookly Museum would be the best thing that happened on the trip. I don't think her art is easy ... especially when you first start looking at it. I mean, it takes contemplation and thinking and viewing of multiple pieces to really see that all of her elements have this amazing way of working together to communicate a point of view that is complex, multi-layered ... and ultimately, beautifully and magically cohesive.

Wangechi Mutu
I was reading a bit about her life in the book I bought at the gift shop to learn that she was born in Kenya, attended high school in Wales, and then moved to New York in 1992. For the past 15+ years, she has been in Brooklyn doing her thing. Making amazing art. Busy every day I'm sure.

Makes me want to be busy every day ... with focus on what it is I want to focus on with my art. I feel like I'm getting closer to that focus but I'm still not fully focused. I know part of that focus has something to do with my essence as a Korean immigrant, mother, daughter, and sister. I'm still exploring as I continue to try and move away from painturbation to declaration.

As much as I am inspired by Mutu's art, I am panicked by it too, because I realize that in order for her to so effectively express her focused point of view through many mediums, she has mastered how to draw lots of things. Not just the face, but the shoulders, the arms, the breasts, the body, the legs, heels, toes ...

I mean, I want to learn all of that so that if my focus requires that I draw a series of faces with shoulders and breasts ... that I don't become paralyzed and unable to do that, but rather that it just comes out. In other words, for me to know how technically to draw those things so that I can not get stuck on the technicalities but rather use and move those technicalities into a realm where I'm able to express my art.

This morning, my son told me he accidentally left the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon on the airplane last night. Bummer. I had given it to him to read after I finished reading it and he was really getting into it. I'll have to go get a new copy soon. Maybe a few copies to give out to friends as well. There are so many wonderful insights in the book. I want to have my daughter read it too. And I want the three of us to revel in the important insights contained in the book so simply and clearly.

Maybe the person who finds it on the airplane will also read it and benefit from it.

Steal Like an ArtistOne of the insights is on this page below, which I took a photo of last night in the airport. The final twelve words on the page really speaks to me ... "the trick is to be too busy doing your work to care."

Not that I don't care what people think about my work. But I figure there will likely be a period of time when what I do, what I'm trying to perfect ... perhaps learning how to draw shoulders ... or toes ... or the map of Korea ... might appear to people either as effortless or worthless. But the point Kleon is making I feel is that none of that should define or affect my ultimate focus or goal to get my art out and the busier and more devoted I am to that goal, the less any of that will define or affect me. I like that.

Steal Like an Artist 2


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Happy New Year to you Jenny. Great post, I rarely receive any positive acknowledgment from my pier group (other calligraphic artist). In fact I have been ignored for so many years that I have questioned my art and talent. Thanks for giving me a couple of new books to explore.


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