Q: What country’s artistic style influenced you the most over the years? (Question from Arte Realizzata)
A: Undoubtedly, I would have to say Mexico. As a Christmas present in 1991 my future sister-in-law sent two brightly painted wooden animal figures from Oaxaca, Mexico. One was a blue polka-dotted winged horse. The other was a red, white, and black bear-like figure.
I was enthralled with this gift and the timing was fortuitous because I had been searching for new subject matter to paint. Soon I started asking artist-friends about Oaxaca and learned that it was an important art hub. At least two well-known Mexican painters, Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo, had gotten their start there , as had master photographer Manual Alvarez Bravo. There was a “Oaxacan School of Painting” (‘school’ meaning a style, not an actual building) and Alvarez Bravo had established a photography school there (the building/institution kind). I began reading everything I could find. At the time I had only been to Mexico very briefly, in 1975, having made a road trip to Ensenada with my cousin and best friend from college. The following autumn my then-boyfriend, Bryan, and I planned a two-week trip to visit Mexico. We timed it to see Day of the Dead celebrations in Oaxaca. (In my reading I had become fascinated with this festival). We spent one week in Oaxaca followed by one week in Mexico City. My interest in collecting Mexican folk art was off and running!
Comments are welcome!
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
I can only shudder when I think of life without our handiwork. The sheer paucity of living only for the sake of survival and empty diversion would be that of an empty vessel. My own life as an artist helps me to fill that vessel, and on occasion I am able to share that with another. Is there meaning in my struggle, my endless solitude? Yes, I believe there is, for at the very least I have found greater meaning for myself in that search. And as those artists who have come before me have perhaps more clearly expressed, our ability to ponder the questions that denote our humanness are worthy of a life of solitude. That is where I find my solace and my courage. In the final analysis, it is the art that I make that allows me to pause and briefly see. Only now do I begin to understand and accept both the burden and joy of my life.
Dianne Albin quoted in Eric Maisel’s The Van Gogh Blues
Comments are welcome!