|The art of improvisation|
One of the musicians, an expert in the history of jazz, talked us through the evolution of jazz, during which he both explained and played. I can't remember the exact details of his presentation but the evolution of modern jazz begun with the Spanish taking their music to South America where it became under the influence of the rhythms of African slaves. The music arrived in the Southern States of American after an input of music from Cuba. Once established jazz developed into various styles, still evolving, and infused into modern music. Fascinating.
|Imagine the shock of Derain|
In the art world over the last century we have been challenged by the impressionists, the 'fauves' with their expressionists colours, the cubists, and all the varieties of modern or abstract art - pop art, photo realism and post modern varieties. As a result today the influential choices are almost infinite.
Artists are influenced by the styles of others but if they are lucky, or skilled enough, they develop a personal style of their own. I am not sure if we are always aware of such influences.
Thinking about the artists that have influenced me a number of artists come to mind. I have previously mentioned Henry Moore who I became aware of in the 60s. Other artists I relate to from my early days have been Don Binney, Michael Smithers and the Colin McCahon's landscapes. And of course Picasso, Matisse and Cezanne - all hard to ignore
The painting ( obviously a print) I looked at the most during my Sunday School days was , what I identified years later, by the Pre - Raphaelite painter Holman Hunt. I was able to see the original in the UK. Really impressive in real life. In our street, in an old grand villa, there were two very large oil paintings of NZ mountains, bush and lakes. I really loved looking at them but, at the same time, I was busy copying cartoons1
In recent years my influences are more diverse. I like the varied styles of Australian Ken Done and the landscapes of Dick Frizzell. When it comes
To be honest there are lots of artists ( some I can't name) that I admire and of course there are artists I like but don't relate to my own development. I love the work of Don Driver for example. Art is about diversity and creativity.
In all of this I hope to work through such influences and develop an approach more or less of my own. This of course will take time.
In a small book, 'Steal Like an Artist' , the author Austin Keen gives advice that resonates with me.
He writes,, 'nothing is original, so embrace influences through the work of others, remix and re-imagine to discover your own path' and quotes David Bowie 'The only art I'll ever study is the stuff I can steal from'.
Kern continuous, 'What a good artist knows is that nothing comes from nowhere ....and once we're free from the burden of trying to be completely original...we can embrace influence instead of running away from it. ... The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can't refuse you as an apprentice.You can learn whatever you want from them... No one is born with a voice...we learn by copying. The secret is to develop your own voice from the mix. If you copy from one it is plagiarism - if you copy from many it is research. Look for what it is that makes you different'.
Keen's small book is worth a read.
All in all it seems I have a lot of influences to work through to discover my 'voice'.. This will obviously, as mentioned, take time,