Sunday, April 23, 2006

Magical Secrets about Thinking Creatively: The Art of Etching and the Truth of Life

As John Cage said, “Our lives are changing to the point where people may have their own lives rather than lives that society has given them second-hand.” Art is in the forefront of changes in society, and artists are the best people we can ask about ways to take hold of our own lives by thinking creatively.
-Kathan Brown

Kathan Brown, the founder of San Francisco's Crown Point Press, has a new book out - "Magical Secrets about Thinking Creatively: The Art of Etching and the Truth of Life". The book is put together as a series of thirteen creative secrets gathered from working with contemporary artists as they created etchings at Crown Point.

Wayne Thiebaud
"Hill River" 2002
Color drypoint with direct gravure and spit bite aquatint
21-1/4 x 30-1/2"

Wayne Thiebaud's corresponding creative secret is to cultivate sensuality. Richard Diebenkorn's is getting into the flow. Shazia Sikander's is to use every tool. Robert Bechtle's key is to know what you don't want. And provocatively, John Cage's work hinges on letting chance take a role in the process by not knowing what you want.

Dorothy Napangardi
"Sandhills" 2004
Color soap ground, spit bite, and sugar lift aquatints.
25-1/2 x 30-3/4"

Kathan writes clearly about the process of creation, the decisions involved, and the benefits of collaboration. The mix of artistic styles among the artists discussed is refreshing and inspiring. A colleague of Dorothy Napangardi, an Aboriginal artist from Australia, provides a comment on art that resonates deeply:
"I am not painting just for my pleasure. There is meaning, knowledge and power."

A website - "Magical Secrets" - has been developed to go along with the book.


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