Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thank you, Herr Schwitters

I posted yesterday about illustrations I had encountered during my childhood. It turns out that time hadn't erased them from memory; they were lodged in my imagination and inspiring me from the sidelines all along. My current paintings prove it!

A moment ago I came across a collage by Kurt Schwitters, which means as much to me as the shoe drawings I wrote about yesterday. This artwork was one of my greatest influences during graduate school, the piece that first inspired me to think about the printed word as a grouping of purely beautiful lines, rather than something with a literal meaning. I'm so happy to have reconnected with this piece; it's like running into an old friend!

And just like running into an old friend, it's cheering and encouraging to reconnect with inspirational art from the past. Why? Being a professional artist can be a challenge. You often hear "no" when you apply for opportunities, and after a series of "no's," it can be hard to want to keep going. Wouldn't it be easier to get a "real" job, hide behind a desk, and have done with this artist nonsense? But looking at someone like Schwitters, who made art his life's focus, can be reassuring. He found a unique form of visual expression, continued to make art despite the damages of World War II, and left a legacy that's inspired generations of collage artists. Now that's inspiring.


Linda Mae said...

That's a great Schwitter piece: interesting use of scale, edges, etc.
Would you share were you found that one?
Linda Mae

CMC said...

Certainly inspiring to me. I remember finding a book on Schwitters at the public library so many years ago. I was really taken with collage ever since then. That library was my introduction to art history since I didn't have a formal art education.
I don't do much collage any longer but I still love to look at good examples.

Catherine Carter said...

Cheryl, he sure is an inspiration! Linda Mae, there are a bunch of images on Google, if you search using the artist's name and the title of the work, which is "Mai 191." Thank you both for reading and commenting.