I.M. Pei said...

Find originality in the time, place and problem.

This is a quote I keep nearby.  Originality is a big one for me and something I always strive for.  This pursuit haunts me and can infect me with the "masterpiece" syndrome which can be paralyzing.  But as I have matured as an artist, I have been able to identify some of the boundaries of originality and understand what it means to me.  For example, there is nothing new about working with the human figure and that used to trouble me.  Until I realized that the figure is not the issue - the issue is to find an original way to express my thoughts using the figure. That pursuit is foremost for me.  I take some pride in the fact that when a review is written about my work it is not compared to other artwork in order to describe it.

I have strong opinions about found object work for this reason.  It can be clever arranging, but the use of someone else's handiwork ultimately leaves me uninterested.  I am hoping that some day soon a university glass program will declare that there will be no found objects used in glass casting.  I am disappointed in new work by young people that is a demonstration of mold making and does not show any skills in modeling, sculpture or design.  Please don't make any more clothing out of glass, it's been done.

I feel the same way about music sampling.  Taking a Billie Holiday recording and dubbing hip hop rhythms over it is awful.  Why is that okay?  Would it be alright to change the ending of a Hemingway novel or Picasso's blue paintings to green?

These kind of meanderings happen when I'm working on a new wax for a sculpture....time for my mind to wander....