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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Art and life: the ultimate mixed-media

I few blog posts back, I made a glancing reference to Pam Carriker’s book Art at the Speed of Life.  Now that I’ve re-read the whole book cover-to-cover, including the Editor notes at the beginning, “glancing” doesn’t cut it.
Side trip down memory lane:  years ago, I was learning to make artist’s books by hand. I was reading books about making art, books about making books, books about making books about making books. Enough, already. Then I was given Innovative Bookbinding by Shereen LaPlanz, and knew I had received the ultimate, show-stopping, look-no-more book on making art. The techniques were all about hand-binding books, but the book was about art, being an artist, ethics, generosity, community, passion, and, and, and…again, enough already—you get the picture. No books on making art that I’ve come across since have grabbed my imagination, pushed me to take new chances and to create to the degree that LaPlanz’ book did.
Then I got Carriker’s book, and realized that I was holding the best book of its type published in 15 years, and welcome to the 21st century to boot!
Art at the Speed of Life rocks it on so many levels, not the least is Carriker’s beautiful writing and the incredible visual impact of the art: pure eye-candy on every page.  Compelling? Believe it. I hit my studio hard after my first reading. Along with Carriker’s own art and writing, she has included work and words from 18 other mixed-media artists, rendering a treasure-trove of thematic ideas and process suggestions.  Advice ranges from the hysterically mundane (how to translate “latte-speak”), to flat-out brilliant. The book is organized around the concept of 7-days of art journaling, with each of the 7 chapters providing ideas/inspiration from the various contributing artists, and ending with a suggested exercise that will result in a completed journal page.
Back in that blog of last month when I made the glancing reference to her book, I cut to the chase and said “Just check the whole book out.” Let me cut to the chase once more: get this book, read it, go to your studio and make stuff.
Take care,


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