Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why reading fulfills the whole artist - reading as part of the creative business plan

March books,
Art & Physics went into April too!

A new reader told me they found my blog at creativeliberty.wordpress.com so I went over and checked it out... to find a great post of creativity links, including my post about my monthly book reading.

It made me smile!

And also made me wonder if people could see the links between my rather random book selections and my creativity or artwork itself.

June books
As Liz mentioned on her blog, my books range from art books to books about NASA's art programme, Nikola Tesla's biograph (and autobiography), and even a book about Salt. Each month I choose one art book and one general non-fiction book.

Strange as it may seem, my choices in non-fiction do usually relate to the artwork in some way. Though the connection might be a bit meandering...

For example, when I read Salt by Mark Kurlanski I was working on a mural installation with Elizabeth Schuch for the Essex Wildlife Trust visitor center at Thurrock. The brief was to cover the archaeology and history of the specific site in our artworks, and a major use of Mucking Flats was salt production by the Romans. So as we made images and boxes of salt and garum my interest was piqued to find out more.

May books
NASA: 50 years of exploration book was, honestly, a lucky find in a Tate sale. Put an astronaut on the cover and I'll buy it! So I was prompted mainly by my geeky interest in space exploration, but also because I hadn't realised NASA actually had an artist residency programme! So it was fascinating to see how that programme evolved, the freedom they gave artists, and how artists of different decades perceived the space programme. Plus, it was a reminder that art does have a strong place in these seemingly different industries.

Much of my reading is to catch up with topics I simply didn't study earlier. I have no art history background, and didn't go to art school so didn't learn art theory or art criticism either. I remember little of my history lessons, not to mention I was educated in American schools so we were taught little world history if the US wasn't involved.

July's books, almost done!
Reading about Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla gave me an insight into a brilliant mind and how he got by in the world. A human story about someone who made his way with very specific goals but a personality disparate from his own modern world. And my August non-fiction is about Victorian inventors. I think there's insight to be gained from reading about people who viewed the world differently, as artists do too, and what they achieved that changed our lives.

All these topics contribute to the art. Either encouraging me to expand knowledge of my subject matter, of the philosophy behind my work, or simple inspiration to aim higher.

August reading, with links to the books:

See the coast paintings tina-m.com
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