Art, Perspective, and Life

Denver is an art town! It has a vibrant arts culture. On any given day you can visit galleries, museums, open mics, poetry slams, and a host of other creative events. The Art Students League of Denver offers a host of art classes in many mediums providing the community with affordable ways to explore their creativity. One of the things I most enjoy is the 1St Friday Art Walk.

The 1st Friday Art Walk, an evening when the galleries are open late and many new exhibits are debuted. It definitely has a festive feel and is an enjoyable way to see a lot of art in one evening experiencing the worldview and perspective of various artists.

The city of Denver honored Printmaking. There were exhibitions, classes, artist talks and workshops devoted to printmaking. It shouldn’t be a surprised that many galleries had print works on display. There are many ways to print and that’s the beauty of the medium.

I met someone I knew while touring the galleries and we decided to explore the art walk together. He’s a landscape architect and I’m a textile artist, two very different mediums. I didn’t know how our points-of-view would mix, but I was up for the creative adventure.

We came across the work of Mary Mackey,, who had various size works of art in the exhibition. There was a grouping of nine black and white prints that were beautiful individually, but when you took it as one piece of art made it magnificent. The different sizes of Mackey’s work were intriguing along with her vacillation between black and white and works of color.

Then we came across a piece that was intriguing. The colors and the shapes were terrific. We stood back to look at the piece and then we began to discuss it. I saw the work as a grouping of buildings, a cityscape. He saw the print as a park, resembling Central Park in New York. Why did we see it differently?

Each of us looked at the work form our own mediums perspective. We each have a lens through which we interpret visual cues. In this case, I was looking as the shapes head on as if it were in front of me, and he was looking at it from an aerial view, like a blueprint he was designing.

We were both standing before the same work and had different experiences. The beauty of art is interpretation. If you’re the creator it’s about the process and the story. If you’re the viewer it’s about how the work fits into the context of your life.

The beauty of seeing art is you can create your own stories. You are given the gift of adventure as you explore new mediums and allow the art to serve as a cue for events in your life and experiences. Consider taking someone with you the next time you go to an art exhibition. Discuss each of your perspectives and see where they converge and diverge. Explore the possibilities.

Mark Making:Printmaking

Denver is an art rich city. The number of art districts, galleries, and art museums is astounding for a second tier city. The art community is quite collaborative and is represented by the month long, city wide commitment to printmaking. Galleries and the city government have devoted programming, exhibits, and tributes to printmaking.

Last night I attended a panel discussion about printmaking. The panel discussed the intricacies and processes related to printmaking. The artists made it quite clear that printmaking is an intensely elaborate art process. Experimentation is prevalent in the printmaking community. The artists discussed their mark making process and how it results in the final piece of art.

One of the panel members, Michael Chavez, the director of public art for the city of Denver, made a statement about printmaking is the process of making an image and transferring it to another surface. When I heard this simple idea I began thinking about the impact art has on our lives.

What happens when we hear a song, read a poem, or view a work of visual art, don’t we have an experience? Isn’t that taking an image/experience and transferring it to our hearts and souls? I may be stretching the idea a bit, but printmaking/mark making is about what’s left behind. Isn’t it possible to create something and have the image or experience transfer to our being? What happens when we walk away from a work of art that we find moving? Don’t these works of art (all mediums) leave an impression on us? Isn’t it an impression that we can relate back to over and over as part of our soul?

There are so many ways that we’re able to make marks. We are capable of leaving traces of meaning behind by creating art. What marks do you make and how does these marks represent you? How do they promote a sense of meaning making in your life? How does this meaning strengthen your soul energy?

I’d love to hear your experience! Feel free to leave a comment in the space below.