Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Red Dream of the Blue Turtle.
Abstraction. To simplify, to pare something down to its most essential elements.
So years ago i was in search of inspiring authors. Before i wanted to be an artist or a comic book artist i wanted to write. So from 1995 on I obssessed about writers. i had to read everything by an author to understand them. Out of thi period i discovered John Updike, Octavia Butler, Gabriel García Márquez, E.L. Doctorow, the monstrous Charles Bukowski, and the illuminating Kurt Vonnegut. All of these writers, in retrospect, have a mood in common. Hope in structure for survival in a brutal, honest and wonderous world. Master storytellers and craftsman of language. Vonnegut wrote a book that made me look at my intention of an artist differently. It was called Bluebeard, the Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian. it was the story of an artist who learned to draw like Norman Rockwell, a master of naturalism but he comes of age in the fifties and sixties during the emergance of the Abstract Expressionists. Pollock, Motherwell, Dekooning, that crew. And though he tries to change the precision of his works relationship to the real world he is incapable of delving into the unconsiousness to create abstract work.
The story begins at the end of his life as he reflects on his life his art collection and the secret in his barn. Read it. Its good for any artist trying to understand the desire to create in an atmosphere where your work doesn't fit. Well that was one lesson. Another lesson was the desire to get as good as i could at realistic art so that i could learn how to simplify. Well this is the second fruit of the abstract labor. The first Ode to G O'K, is in a living room in Birmingham.
The beautiful thing about abstraction is you can make it mean whatever you wnat and others can only guess and interpret the work. Cause i know exactly what the Blue Turtle is dreaming... naughty turtle.