World Headquarters of Me pg204
Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic
Funny thing was, every time I panicked and went looking for a ‘real’ job, a lucrative commission or art sale would land in my hand to feed the beast. There were feast months and famine months in cycles that waxed and waned. By now I was accustom to the untethered vagaries of entrepreneurial life, and the see sawing uncertainties of paying the bills by the first of every month. The wolf was at the door. Heck, she slept at the base of my bed. But she was a good wolf, and somehow it worked out. This went on for the next thirteen years, and it averaged out that life was more than okay most of the time. — From Chapter 11
In his wonderful little guidebook ‘Steal Like an Artist’, Austin Kleon assures us, “What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is original.” Austin also says, “The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from”… which is a quote stolen from David Bowie. When Austin’s book came out in 2012, every page sparked an affirmation that my life was on track, and gave me a kick in the pants to push better ideas even further. It made me so happy that during a feast month I bought a stack to give as gifts.
Today’s image captures that sense of glee. I stole these over-ripe flower pods flinging their seeds around from an ink drawing done by an unknown artist sometime before MDCCCXCVI. That was the date on the cover of a folio of a hundred or so patterns titled ‘Arte Italiana Decorativa e Industriale’. If my roman numeral brain is working, that might be 1846. I found it in an antique shop, then it languished in a flat drawer for ten years before I imagined a series of happy, colorful oil paintings dancing out of it. The Italian folio didn’t survive the studio purge when I moved, but I took the time to unfold and photograph every fragile page before sadly parting with it. Perhaps the Baroque co co series will be revived when classic forms inspire me to get all fanciful again.
Another assuring quote from Steal Like and Artist is, ‘Don’t worry about unity from piece to piece — what unifies all of your work is the fact that you made it.” If you scroll through the images in this blog you’ll see I’ve taken that concept to heart. The only picture not mine is Jerry the Horse by my sister Catherine. (Technically it’s mine because she gave me the painting, but the copyright is hers. I did get permission.)
I also followed Austin’s suggestions to write what you want to read, and to be an appreciative fan by linking to other artist’s webpages. Thank you Austin Kleon!
A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at www.etsy.com/listing/839838936
Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.