Friday, September 9, 2011

How Ideas for Art Begin

The Start of an Idea

I carry a small camera with
me often where ever I go.
I love this little camera, it
has replaced my larger camera
I used to carry. My nikon, slr,
my Olympus and Pentax, and even the
newer Nikon fancy digital.
This little camera is has a leica lens
a large format screen on the back and
great color and fits in my pocket. It is
a Lumix.

There are so many things
that catch my eye, a detail,
a color, an odd moment, a glint
of the sun off a tidal pool, or
a passing work truck rusted beautifully
like a piece of fine art.
I spent a lifetime career as a teacher of the arts in public schools and the images of school buses were ever present. The image is strong and bold, the color is bright and unique, and the design is industrial and practical. But the image of a school bus carries with it much symbology, memories and emotion for thousands of school children, teachers. There are bus drivers and adults who remember their school experiences. It can be the child who taunted you on the bus, or a best friend you rode with every day bumping along the way, it can be the child on his first day of school saying goodbye to an anxious Mom and Dad, it can be the teacher on duty settling a fight, or the bus driver who accidently left you at the wrong stop.
I am not sure what color school buses are in your country, but here they are the same yellow paint all over the United States.
So I began to think about the school bus as an art image and look closely at its parts and details, its form and structure, its lines and patterns. I found a parked school bus on a Saturday when schools are not open and go these photo's. I google school bus yellow and found out it is a specific color ordered and approved by the government of the United States. It has certain properties that make it highly reflective.
The grill is almost menacing, like sharks teeth or prision bars, it comes boldy right at you. If you just isolate this one element it is full of artist elements...repetition, contrast, color, shape.....
The colors on a school bus are striking. The yellow as I mentioned before is unique, but with the contrast of black and red it reminds me of Miro or Toulouse, or Albers who all used color in interesting ways.
Windows carry so much meaning. Looking in to someones world, looking out at the world passing by, the entry to looking in, windows of the soul, viewing from afar, opening a window-is letting something in.....on and on. So now my mind is thinking of a series using the school bus image and my experiences in the public schools of America. I look forward to where this will take me and sharing it with you as I develop the idea and begin its creation. Right now I am thing of a series of many works.
On this day I was in a little town nears Asheville, North Carolina, visiting local artists. Weaverville is the name of the little town. It is charming and has an old small downtown where several artist set up studio and shop. We had just left a wonderful potters studio and went for a bite to eat at a local cafe. As we sat there a local school bus passed by and saw something that caught my eye...I grabbed my camera and got this photo. I loved the bright yellow of the school bus with the outline choreographed against the window. The reverse letters on the cafe window
superimposed against the bus lettering made for an interesting collage effect. But in this photo began the germ of an idea for a art piece or series of work.
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