Friday, February 13, 2009
Inspiration, motivation, procrastination
I was looking through the blog Artfulife this week and happily clicked through her link to Joe Sorren's web site. I really enjoyed seeing his latest paintings. They are so refined and quiet. I love the progression from his older work. I haven't looked at his paintings in a long time, but I was happily reminded of a conversation I haven't thought about in a long time.
Some time in the mid-90s I was given one of the best art school assignments ever. You had to give a presentation on one of your favorite illustrators. This may sound bland enough—a glorified book report—except that you had to contact the illustrator directly. This was way before the widespread use of email, so this meant calling the person up on the phone. I was painfully shy then, so I was horrified. But I loved Joe Sorren's paintings and knew that he was the one I had to call. I did. I called him up in Flagstaff, Arizona and he was the nicest, most encouraging fellow ever. I'm sure I asked all kinds of mundane things, but he heard me out and asked me thoughtful questions in return. He sent me samples by FedEx to include in my report and asked me to send him a few samples of my work. I have to smile when I think about it—I can't imagine what I sent.
The one question I remember asking him was: Do you think you have to live in NYC to make it as an illustrator? Now here I was calling a successful guy working out of a little hippy town in AZ—why would I ask that? Of course, he said no and gave me some very good reasons. I moved to NYC anyway and went to art school. I am now 3 1/2 years gone from there and am just now finding a place where I am able to make some art here and there — certainly not making a living from it, but still finding the time and inspiration to do it. I think there are a lot of factors involved that I may write about in this space (hence the part one subtitle above), but for now, I just wanted to reflect on a fond memory of a conversation with Joe Sorren and ponder what I might ask him nowadays.
The painting above was from one of the samples he sent — I found it in my "inspiration book" from that period. It is so much fun to look through it again after so long.