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!
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For some artists the studio becomes like a temple, a place that becomes invested with a sacred energy. I was looking at a book recently called Artist at Work. It featured the studios of several well-known American artists. In almost every case the space reminded me of a chapel in a cathedral. The physical, emotional, and even spiritual elevation the space created contributed to the work.
This is the home turf of your creative space. A space that stays undisturbed from the rest of daily forces. It stays open for your arrival. When you walk in you acquire a heightened readiness to begin. Your dining room table that must be cleared off for the evening meal will require more energy from you each time you begin. but a studio collects energy and focuses it, ready for your return. That space may be your garden, the view behind the house, or a desk in a bedroom that is reserved for your creative work. But it will help to secure it. It is your temple, the place where you focus your energies to express yourself. Your creative home base.
Ian Roberts in Creative Authenticity: 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision
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