cleaning the studio...

...and other adventures in art

This excerpt is from Colum McCann’s discussion that is printed at the end of his novel, Let The Great World Spin. Wonderful book, by the way. I enjoyed his discussion as much as I enjoyed the book.

excerpt from book by Colum McCann

He said it as well as I can. Actually, he said it better, because he’s a writer. These two points I find so familiar:

1) We don’t always know what we’re doing, and much of it is instinct.  What he doesn’t say is that sometimes it’s difficult to hear the faint voice of instinct.  I know that I have to listen carefully, and not get lost in all the other noise.

2) The book (or painting) is finished by the reader (or viewer).  I do believe this about my own work. I don’t feel that my pieces are finished without interaction with a viewer. Occasionally that sole viewer is me, but more often it is someone other than me. This isn’t to say that I do the work with a viewer in mind, but once I send a piece out into the world it acquires new meaning, something other than what I intentionally put into it.

Richard Diebenkorn had some good things to say about the creative process, but that’s a post for another day. You can see the interview here, though, if you can’t wait.