Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Robert Rauschenberg died yesterday. He was 82 years old and came from the same town (Port Arthur, Texas,) as Janis Joplin. In an interview with NPR that he did a while back, he said that he didn't work with ideas- only materials- he was curious to see how things looked. I think what he meant was that he distrusted ideas, alone, (read: concept or story-telling, or iconography,) to sustain his effort and keep him engaged. I don't know if this is true for everyone, but this is one way to sidestep the whole problem of imagery. (What picture do we paint today?) I think he might have been the artist who said, "take something, do something to it, look at it, do something else to it,..." (I'm paraphrasing, badly, and I may not even have the right guy- but if not, this seemed to be Rauschenberg's way of doing things.)

I believe that my own practice and approach may be, in some small way, similar; I'm not so much worried about the outcome as I am concerned with the process, both in selection and execution. It doesn't matter if I am empty or not when I start- something will usually happen, as long as I show up.

This usually means, if you are being honest and true to yourself- you are often working way out in front of any audience that you care about. It always takes them a while to catch up.

Goodbye, Bob.

No comments: