Living and Sustaining a Creative Life ~ Essays by 40 Working Artists, ~~ Thanks for sharing, Sharon Louden

In the box or out of the box?

To gallery or not to gallery — to quest or not to quest?

Shut up and pass paper and pencils. Art wants making.

For the book price of less than a dollar a piece, editor Sharon Louden, working artist herself,  invites artists, and any other interested parties, to engage with 40 working artists n what has been an ongoing discussion for as long as creative people have striven to live and thrive in a world at large that far too often is less than supportive of their existence. No, Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, Essays by 40 Working Artists isn’t a book about artists who rock the status quo of mainstream society. Though there are artists within these pages who do so in one medium or another.  What this very engaging tome offers is a very wide and diverse range of perspectives based on experiences had by artists who’ve found their own ways to survive, thrive and continue to create over time. There are discussions of quests for studio time,  for money to provide food, shelter and art supplies, for solitude and for companionship, gallery representation and new ways of making a go of things with and without galleries. There’s a lot of insight, hindsight, information, ideas and inspiration in these essays written by a very wide range of artists including those raising children and engaged in mutually supportive relationships. Plus, there is an excellent photograph of each artist’s work prefacing their essay. Yeah, that’s a very sweet bonus track in this book–you get some views of art you might or might not have seen yet. So this libro also serves as a visual catalog of artists as essayists. Hence, you get a small visual sense of what these artists invest so much vital energy and time creating.

A few of my visual treat picks:

Michael Waugh’s The American Jobs Act, part 1 (detail)

Peter Drake’s Day for Night

Thomas Kilpper’s State of Control

Maggie Michael’s Swans of Other Worlds ~  (photography by Dan Steinhilber)

Julie Hefferman’s Self Portrait as Big World

Jay Davis’ Please, no more birds

&

Living and Sustaining a Creative Life Panel ~ Book tour video.  Yes, this is an interesting and engaging serious discussion among artists, about artists, art and the art world. Enjoy.

 

Here’s a link to Amazon’s Look Inside page for the book – http://www.amazon.com/Living-Sustaining-Creative-Life-Working/dp/178320012X#reader_B00F4AT02K

&

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from the essays:

Annette Lawrence ~ “I am generally led by curiosity, and nothing is off-limits.”

George Stoll ~ “I LIke to work but don’t always like to start, so I make it as easy to begin as possible. At a restaurant near my house that has good coffee, friendly waiters and an owner who tolerates my long visits, I start most days. . . .  I’ve learned that I am especially productive when feeling a bit delinquent.”

Tony Ingrisano ~ “I sleep and eat and breathe drawing, so it’s only logical that I’d do anything necessary to keep drawing.”

Sean Mellyn ~ “Rauschenberg’s Bed made an early and lasting impression on me – that art can not only be made from anything, but material extrapolated from a life lived is a powerful statement.”

Brian Tolle ~ “There are no bad opportunities if you have only one.”

Austin Thomas ~ “There are as many ways to be an artist as there are artists; Lucas Reiner told me that one and it is true.”

Amy Pleasant ~ “And it wakes me up each day. And I follow it. And at the risk of sounding melodramatic, it is the greatest thing I know.”

Maggie Michael ~ “Falling n love was easy. What became labored was managing our bank account after college (when our student loans came due). Artists often pair with someone who has a reliable career and income, but we could not change partners now or in hindsight.”

Dan Steinhilber (Maggie Michael’s partner) ~ “Many people seem to give us extra credit because we involve our child in our life as artists. Clay has excellent conversational skills, yet he does not make a great deal of artworks. Nevertheless, he is imaginative and creative and amazing to us.”

Dan Steinhilber ~ “Over time we learned how to help, support, and appreciate each other rather than be competitive. For example, on days when Maggie is teaching, I often go to her studio and do practical things for her – build stretchers, prime canvases, and keep her supplies organized so that her time in the studio can be focused on painting.”

And

Link for Intellect, Publishers of Original Thinking page –>>   http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/books/view-Book,id=5042/

How do you measure success?

What did you create today?

Okay, now that I’ve done my good book information sharing deed for the day, it’s time to take advantage of the lull in the rain to get the box of sheet music out of the back seat and see what suits my agenda.

 

~Colors of Confinement, Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration In World War II~

I’m a library grazer. Yep, I confess it. Each time I visit my local public library I can’t help but shop the shelves for all the new arrivals in all genres–even the entertainment ones that often astonish me with their very existence.  The downside of this book/dvd/cd grazing is that it about triples the time I spend in the library’s physical location. It also generally about triples the number of items I haul to the self check out computer and from there to the ever overflowing parlor couch where they get to catch their breath. One of the items my grazing discovered was this book of photographs from one of America’s dark actions against its own people–Japanese Americans.  (Btw, there was talk of rounding up German Americans too, but that never got going. Don’t believe that? Check out the holdings at the National Archives, KCMO–oh yeah.) Not only were people forced into camps but their personal property was confiscated and they lost everything–for nothing.  Is this bit of American history more than a tad disconcerting? It should be considering all the lip service paid to “human rights.”  The Native Americans had/have prisons without walls via the reservations. Japanese Americans had prisons with barbed wire.  As I viewed Bill Manbo’s photographs I was struck again and again at the incongruity of everything in them about people trying to maintain some sense of normalcy in a decidedly NOT normal situation–a downright irrational situation to my thinking.  Usually prison/confinement is the end result of doing something “wrong”–illegal–criminal. But these families had done nothing at all — except be Japanese Americans.  There’s definitely something askew in thinking that leads to such treatment of people innocent of any wrongdoing.  I wonder about the American population at large that was aware of people being taken from their communities and yet allowing it, accepting it, agreeing to it. And I wonder if our current prison system is just another sign of this confining mentality.  Maybe it is. Or it’s something even darker? At any rate, here is one man’s photographic record of history which shames the Americans who created and implemented this action. It also shames all those who knew it was wrong and watched it happen in silence.

Much thanks to the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for this Vimeo film featuring Bill Manbo’s photographs.

http://documentarystudies.duke.edu/about

Colors of Confinement, Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II, Editor Eric L. Muller with photographs by Bill Manbo. Published by the University of North Carolina in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, 2012.

Is Your Publisher ‘Unbound’–or all tied up in Gordian Knots? Or Should that be – Nots? As in, “Hell no, I don’t want to read that! Why did you waste a tree printing it?”

Ever wish book publishers paid some real attention to what really interests your reading brainpan? Hmm? Care to put your dollars and scents, yes that’s a deliberate misplay on words. Cents is so predictable. Let’s play with sense a little more. After all they’re very important to your nose, your taste buds and your memory–scents are.  Got that? Okay, now let’s get back to Unbound–as in being unfettered, untied, unchained, unhindered–and free to move about at will. Would you like to pick the books you’d like to have published? You can at Unbound. Seriously. You might have to forgo some of that instant gratification that characterizes much of modern culture but eventually you can get what you want–as long as some other folks want it too.

Case in point:

Author Paul Kingsnorth is pitching The Wake on UnboundThe Wake is a historical novel about resistance fighters after the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  What the novel needs are pledges, supporters, interested potential readers willing to pay for the digital, hardback, or collector’s edition of the novel. There are other perks offered for greater levels of support for Kingsnorth’s novel–such as Dark Mountain’s anthology.  The book has garnered 70% of the pledges necessary for publishing via UnboundUnbound is a bit like Kickstarter for publishing. Sort of. Agents are still part of the publishing mix. View that tidbit as you will.

Read an excerpt from The Wake here –>> http://unbound.co.uk/books/the-wake/

 

Visit Unbound’s home –>> http://unbound.co.uk/  Yes, you can buy books already published here too. See if what the authors are serving agrees with your reading taste.

 

Kingsnorth chatting about The Wake:

 

PS. Some bait to get you to take a gander at all Unbound offers.

A freebie from Unbound for which the clock is ticking now. Click the cover art to get there asap! midnight-Deadline November 30, 2012 at midnight –their midnight I suspect.

 

Sign in/up at Unbound, it’s absolutely free, to get a digital copy of Evil Machines FREE. Be quick–this offer ends at midnight on Nov. 30, 2012.

 

The Dirt Chronicles– A horror story about the lives of punk street kids on the mean streets of Toronto. Ready, set, dumpster dive!!

Click to visit Arsenal Pulp Press

Kristyn Dunnion strikes hard punk gold again in The Dirt Chronicles, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, which is mis-identified as a collection of short stories.  I can see how that labeling came about. These can be read as short stories. But, in reality, this is a novel presented from several different characters’ viewpoints and fully individual voices. It’s a little disconcerting unless you’re a fan of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. The story is dark, hard, gritty and it’s all about the lives of several punk street kids in Toronto. It’s not pretty. There’s the corrupt cops, drugs, rape, murder, sexual identity issues and relationship issues galore. This may not be an easy read for some folks. But if you’ve got a rebellious teenager overflowing with angst–you might want to take a hard look at the issues Dunnion deals with head on–from the perspective of the kids instead of the adults they run from.  Dunnion’s ability to present convincing male and female voices and perspectives is uncanny. Writing about such subjects with harsh realism is the forte of few. It’s verification of Dunnion’s talent as a writer every time you cringe while discovering the very dark side of street and squat life.  Oh and yes, again, this is also a love story (ies). How much does Oreo love Ferret? Enough to leave the entire world behind while pole dancing. What will Eddie do to get back to protecting Ray Ray? Whatever it takes.

Warning: This is not Patsy Cline crooning on this video.

Big Big Sky by Kristyn Dunnion –a Big Wowza! of a novel from Red Deer Press

  Click the boot to see the video trailer and more at Red Deer Press.  If you find this an unsettling view  of teenage girls then I suggest you consider all that’s been written about their physical and psychological cruelty. Science fiction has nothing on the daily reality strutting through school hallways everywhere.

Rustle: I think of all the clicking, whirling cams, the screens and monitors, the hidden mics tracking our movements when we least suspect it–the never knowing when they’re watching. And I surrender to my own inevitable defeat. A tear rolls down my sorry check as I flashback to the Treason Times. I rememory all those twisted cores, those poor broken specimens struggling, impaled on their death sticks, waiting for the pain to end. Our ancestors, the human mothers who bore us, ridiculed ’til the very last milli and Beyond. That’ll be me soon. Sniff.

O thank you, Red Deer Press for your “…respect for the intelligence of the reader at every level…”–WOW–when’s the last time you read that in any American Publisher’s mission statement? Like NEVER!  I mean what American media outlet of any sort has any respect for the intelligence of its audience??? Red Deer Press is a Canadian operation–smirk, smirk.  Come on, be honest. I’m willing to entertain any suspects dishing up tomes to feed the intelligence hunger of Americans  anyone is willing to offer up.  Is it fair to argue that the fact that books in any form are still being produced by American publishers for the market is a good sign that we’ve not been entirely written off as complete morons–yet?  Big Big Sky is definitely not mental junk food for a dumbed down Young Adult audience. The very talented Kristyn Dunnion makes the most of every page to infiltrate and stretch the imagination of whoever picks up this totally engaging novel which raises a multitude of issues about blind obedience, genetic manipulation, love, leadership. loyalty and survival of the fittest–“Decline, Deform, Disobey.”  This is one hell of a science fiction/fantasy adventure into uncharted waters and beyond for the all female crew of a StarPod of young assassins: Rustle, Loo, Solomon, Shona and Roku.  Dunnion creates a tightly controlled world of young people trained by ScanMans to exterminate other humans. Then Dunnion turns the tables on the core group and soon they’re deep in a swim for their own lives to the lands beyond the mountain of total mind control. There’s good language craft fun with all the lingo Dunnion devises for this unruly passel of rampaging lasses as the plot unfolds from the shifting perspectives of each.  You don’t have to be a teenager or a female to jump into this novel and enjoy it immensely.  Keeping an open mind about love relationships and science fiction could be a tad useful at the onset–until the characters themselves yanky yank you into their world of troubles and tribulations and transformations.  Ever dream of becoming a big bird? How about an amphibian? What’s your control freak conformity factor?  All is fair in love and war, right?

I’m eagerly awaiting more of Kristyn Dunnion’s wicked writing wonders. I promise to share with the other girls nice nice.

See what else is on the reading plates at Red Deer Press http://www.reddeerpress.com/

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