October 15, 2007

Seeds Sown...

Archives - 2004 - Contained - 36x36

I knew it was time to get back to the blog but after a long weekend at the lake there really wasn't much art to talk about and I didn't want to weigh heavy on the joys of manual labor again lest you begin to wonder about my mental relationship with senility, dementia or the like.

So while checking email this early morn, I was gifted with this jewel via Google Alert (where I have entered a number of names including my own.) Seems there's this blog called "What To Wear During An Orange Alert" which is obviously aimed at a much younger age group than the one I hang with... which makes this even more interesting. So they are interviewing a young (recent MFA) artist/cartoonist/illustrator about his new abstracts and this is the clip the email alert sent to me:

I found an artist named Karen Jacobs who does these large fantastic abstracts. I began working similarly in very small sizes, and eventually my works grew in scale. After a night of crappy critiques, I painted, was venting some ...

His name is Nick Volkert and I'm happy to say that his paintings don't look anything like mine. I like a lot of them and have trouble spotting much of a contribution I might have made to his evolution... and that's the part I like best. I recently sadly related the old saw that everything had been done, I could come up with no 'original' idea that someone else had't done better. Well, what I'm going to take from Nick is a point that I've let slide... you take that idea (yours or whoever's) and you run with it. You keep messing with it until it's your own and although you love it and know it's value, it now bears little relationship to the original thought. If I'd discovered Nick's paintings were crappy derivatives of my own (as I've found in a number of other instances) this post would carry a much different tone. But not. I'm pleased to be used as a point of departure. If you're reading... good luck Nick, nice to meet you, loved finding and reading the interview! (I enjoyed the cartoons, too!)


Daphne said...

Hi Karen.

The timing of this post was very relevant to me.I was entertaining an aunt this weekend and she and I tend to talk at length about art.

Among other things I showed her your blog. She was very interested in your Bokusho paintings among other things (she liked all of your work).

We spent time looking through those posts and what bothered me was the feeling that because I had circles in some of my work (although I haven't posted pictures of all of them) and you have used circles in many of your Japanese inspired work that mine would look like horrible copies. It freaked me out despite the fact that circles aren't a new discovery.

I would assume that it's a fear of all of ours that we haven't made something original. And then we realize that, yes, it really has all been done before.

We can't abstract a circle or it becomes an oval or a square or whatever. All we can do is take our idea and push it until we have taken real ownership of it.

So, that being said, I hope that I am never faced with being told that my work looks like I used someone else's labors...

KJ said...

I have to grin! Sorry for infecting you with my paranoia, I really doubt circles can be copyrighted ;-) I'll admit to borrowing the Enso circle from the ancient Zen movements... and felt guilty doing it! The other day I scribbled a double circle along the side (just for the hell of it) and immediately thought of the work of a fellow blogger. Phooey! We've got to get past all that!

Thanks for the upbeat review from your aunt! I appreciate!

CMC said...

Heck, Karen, sometimes when I looked at my work with all the arcs....and I've done them for some unknowing reason forever, I worried that someone would think I "stole" them from you since I know you personally. SO, we all do this if we have some integrity; the worry is a thing we have to just put aside. We should all quit this unless we ARE taking someone else's work and making it almost the same. There is no way I can look at someone else's work and copy it...I can't even copy my own. That painting just takes over once I get to going and it has a mind of it's own.

I even had someone tell me one time they did "copy" my style...I looked and couldn't find it anywhere in their work.

Daphne said...

I'm glad to know none of us are alone in our paranoia (or are we?!).

This is the site of an artist who's work is also Asian inspired and she uses circles all of the time.


I recall big red circles in her work but I don't see them in her updated site...her work is very gentle and feminine.

Oh, I've been meaning to photograph some old floor plans with generous arcs here and there. Apparently, arcs can't be copyrighted either...

And there's my "Rotation"series. How could I forget that?

KJ said...

Thanks for the link, Daphne... incredible stuff! She's obviously reflecting on what she sees, feels, knows... and that's about all we can do as artists. Doesn't matter that someone else also experiences a similar reflection or urge to make a certain kind of mark, we just 'keep on keeping on' and try to be faithful to ourselves.