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Re: Focus, Need, and expression


>   Sure, but we're talking about expression here, not science and not the practice
>   of some daily effort such as cooking (though most of us would agree that there
>   are some who are just cooks there are others (a few, perhaps, who can really
>   cook).  And I would not include vacuuming or computer programming in this topic.
>   There may be a lot of what we facetiously call "zen" in vacuuming, it isn't
>   particularly artistic.

I meant that some folks find their satisfaction in doing these things. Just last
evening, a friend said in a social conversation that he didn't have any artistic or
creative or expressive gene. Of course, art isn't genetic and he was speaking very

For me as an artist and graphic designer, painting or doing layouts is so very
satisfying. The satisfication comes from manually manipulating the materials, the
smell of the linseed oil or printing inks, the weight and heft of the books, the
drag of the brush across the canvas. As well as the way the line makes an edge or
how one color affects another or whether Univers or Helvetica is the right face for
the job. I rarely think of "expressing" anything.

I am confident after three decades of doing this stuff that what I do make is unique
to me, presents certain subjects in a distinctive style and with a distinctive "end"
or "purpose" in view.

I guess it's that I don't feel the drive to get something inside me out
("expressionism") but rather the unavoidable allure of putting the materials to use
for something (the painting, the book, etc.). In fact, for most of my paintings, I
just go to one of my sketchbooks, find a drawing, duplicate it on canvas, and start
painting. Eventually, I am finished. The desire to satisfy myself through painting
is far more powerful than the tranistory seduction of showing someone something I
know or have discovered.

Michael Brady
16 Pedestal Rock Lane
Durham, NC 27712
Voice  919 471 9554    fax 919 962 2707
jbrady@email.unc.edu   http://www.unc.edu/~jbrady/index.html

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