Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Can You Name 5 Female Artists?"

This is one of the opening lines of the trailer to the documentary, Who Does She Think She Is?, by filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll featuring five women artists who refuse to choose between the life of being an artist or being a mother, wife, and all-around family-nuturing-person. I saw the movie a couple of months ago on PBS quite by accident around the time I was talking to a friend about the challenges of being a female artist and trying to do other things in one's life. One of the opening lines in the trailer is the question (above in this blog post title) posed by an interviewer asking groups of people, some in front of what looks like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Generally, not one person can give the names of five women artists. Some people try and they end up either giggling in astonishment for not being able to come up with names in a snappy fashion or nonchalantly admit that they just can't think of any.

I liked the movie because it really demonstrates the challenges of being a woman and an artist. That the filmmaker focused on women who are mothers trying to raise families AND make art seemed a bit of an oversight for me since many of us (me included here) never had families and kids to raise because we, maybe unfortunately, chose. Nonetheless, the film does a great job depicting the complex lives of the featured women-artists who have both successfully (and unsuccessfully) balanced the needs of their families against their own needs as artists, and within the roles of women they've chosen to live -- mothers in all cases, and wives.

What struck me, as presented in a booming-sort of voice by a male spokesperson at the very beginning of the trailer, is that Ameila Earhart, Edith Head, Janis Joplin, Georgia O'Keefe, Emily Dickinson, Tallulah Bankhead, Edith Horton, and Eudora Welty, were lumped together as women artists who never had children. I would have never thought to put them in a group like that and there are surely others.....Frida Kahlo, Judy Chicago, to add to the list.

As an entry to the overall concept of the movie, this is a stark way to illustrate the various choices women-artists make.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Who's really being creative here?

I teach painting (you know, the old-fashioned way with a brush and colored, mushy stuff that comes out of a tube) and went to Staples yesterday to get copies made of photos I use as reference material for subject matter. While I stood there waiting to be waited on, I saw this picture/canvas called "Easy Canvas Prints" for only $29.99 propped up on a metal easel too far away for me to read the fine print (turns out the reg. price was $39.99.)
The clerk noticed that I was craning over the counter and asked if I wanted to see it more closely. So, here he is (or, here's his hand) posing while I took a shot of this. It's so easy now for anyone to have a not-so-interesting photo of anything made into a "painting" because it can be printed on a simulated canvas surface. Not too creative if you ask me. But, a brilliant move on the part of the person who came up with the idea....why the hell not? We can all be artists if we can use a digital camera and get to Staples.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Maybe my brain isn't completely f-ked up.........

(This blogspot blog is being created while I wait for godaddy to do its thing so Zinngle can be developed through Wordpress.)

So, my colleague Mary suggested this morning that we target our tentatively, newly-christened blog, Zinngle to those of us who are looking for ways to be creative and stay that way, as much as real life permits. I was thinking about brains and how we've learned that the left and right spheres express themselves differently. I wondered how a handy diagram might explain, in simple terms, what we're dealing with here when we think about the creative mind versus the analytical mind.

As noted in the illustration above, there are clearly the two sections denoting analysis versus expression. What I sort of liked is how curiosity is on the side of analytical thinking and the sensuous aspects of experience are on the side of expression. I've never seen a brain chart like this! It makes everything seem so understandable and sensible (left brain at work here.....)

When we're in a creative moment, time is suspended and we don't really think logically, do we? Maybe an idea comes in from left field without expectation. Maybe, (as is the case for me) while being engaged in a common task like showering, what seem like crazy ideas flow into mind as easily as the water falls from the shower head.