Tag Archives: process

Influences and Process – Abstraction

28 Mar
by L. Nichols

I remember the first time I went to a museum and saw abstract art. I was 9 or 10 or 11 (somewhere around there) and we had driven 3 hours from my home town to go to Houston, TX to the museum. I was excited about the Renaissance art and also about the Impressionist art we saw there. They were easily relatable, their representation was obvious. And then I came across the more abstract stuff. I was confused. I didn’t really like them, per se…. but I was drawn to them nonetheless. Looking at them felt like I was fighting myself. I kind of laughed them off and ignored how they made me feel. But as I grew older, I found that I was still drawn to them. I began to understand a bit more about why an artist would choose that path. And I came to both appreciate it and be influenced by it.

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Influences and Process – Playtime!

21 Mar
by L. Nichols

One of the things I’ve fought long and hard to keep is a sense of play in my work and in my working process. Growing up, I was often told that I should not pursue art or anything along those lines as a potential job. Something about “once you’re doing it for money you’ll grow to hate it” or “you should keep it for yourself” or some other such saying as that. Again and again. Now, I’m not going to argue that that isn’t the case at least some of the time. It’s not the same as being a kid and drawing horses/dragons/dwarves/elves (… ahem…) for fun, but I’m also not the same as back then either. But I really couldn’t imagine being any other way.

After doing this for the past few years and finally getting to the point where I am actually working for clients and making some money doing this, I can totally understand why my parents would warn me about not doing what you love for a living. The line between work and the rest of your life can become totally erased if you pursue a field such as art. There’s frequently no 9-5 designation of “work” vs “play.” I know this line for me has become incredibly blurry; in some sense, I am what I do. I work weird hours. I work when I feel like it. And, honestly, I work way more than I would in a “real job” (as my parents seem to put it, i.e. “L., when will you get a real job?”). It has taken me years to find some sort of balance in how I feel about my work.

Work. Just saying the word brings up connotations of waking up early, being tired, bringing home the bacon (so to speak). In physics, it is the is the amount of energy transferred by a force acting through a distance. Going up stairs is work. Lifting heavy things is work. In art, people talk about “bodies of work,” their pieces are considered “works.” Work is that responsible thing that grown-ups do, the sign of maturity. Playing and things that seem like play are for the young ‘uns. But playing is where we learn! Playing is important, too! Playing is not just for kids! We should embrace playing as something vital and important to our growth as human beings.

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Influences and Process – Tricks of My Trade

21 Feb
by L. Nichols

As a follow-up to my post about Rilke and work ethic, I thought I would talk a bit about various work strategies and some of the ways I implement them into my practice.

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Influences and Process – Dino Buzzati’s Poem Strip

31 Jan
by L. Nichols

Jeet Heer’s recent post over at Comics Comics about Dino Buzzati’s Poem Strip reminded me that I’d been meaning to write about this book. I would say that between Jeet Heer and Valentina Zanca I can’t really add anything more into the discussion of its history and historical/artistic importance. What I can discuss, however, is its influence on my own work.

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Influences and Process – Mathematics

27 Jan
by L. Nichols

Ok ok ok. I know… as soon as I mention math, people’s eyes glaze over. That, or they think I’m talking about adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing. But that’s arithmetic, not math. I am talking about MATH. Math and its crazy abstractions and logic. Math with its symbols. Bear with me.

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Influences and Process – Alexander Calder

26 Jan
by L. Nichols

I still remember clearly the day when I first encountered Calder’s Cow at the museum in Boston. Of all the things I had seen there, it struck some kind of chord with me. It was whimsical, yet simple. Plus, it was made out of wire, which is a material that I have always loved working with.

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Influences and Process – Natalia Goncharova

25 Jan
by L. Nichols

I went to San Diego last spring for a friend’s wedding. My wife and I decided that since we were traveling across the country, we might as well make a vacation of it, so we took an entire week and went to Los Angeles as well. While in LA, we went to the Getty for the afternoon. We were lucky enough to be there at the same time the Getty research dept. had this exhibit up on books done by the Russian Futurists. This was the first exhibit I went into, and I think this was the only thing I really saw (other than the gardens) all afternoon.

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