It’s an interesting question as it relates to artistic style, choice, influence, direction and….inspiration. It’s not my goal to debate this topic, nor do I have any scientific data to support any conclusions, but to what extent is there a heritable component to individual artistic differences?
Liz Hager, San Francisco, CA
“My art is inspired by many ideas—historical, philosophical, scientific—and every piece demands its own media and execution. Books, however, have always occupied a special place in my heart, both as aesthetic objects and conduits for ideas. Thus, it was a great honor to be invited to participate in the 2008 exhibit “Banned and Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship.”
My sculptural piece “Harry Potter & The Fires of Ignorance” was inspired by the fourth Harry Potter book—Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire. Given the book’s 2001 release date, most likely copies of the Goblet of Fire were those burned in March 2001 in the first such protest incident; a small evangelical group in Pittsburgh had taken offense at the book’s portrayal of witchcraft (interestingly, they admitted to not having read the book). This turned out to be the first of many such incidents around the United States.
My piece plays with the various meanings of “recover”—i.e. to cover again, to regain possession, even to remove or extract (as, say, from a fire).
A de-acquisitioned library copy of The Goblet of Fire became the genesis of the sculpture. I created a new dust jacket for this book from matches and deconstructed matchboxes. Harry Potter—part of the illustration from the original dustjacket—peers out from his bunker, under siege, as it were. The new spine (printed on wood) cites the various burning and mutilation incidents around the country. The cross formed by strike pad material and spine symbolizes the paradoxical nature of religion in which creation/destruction co-exist. Inside the book, I added special pages to carry various quotes and excerpts about censorship that were important to me. The “recovered” book rises from the ashes of burned books, also copies of The Goblet of Fire.
I wanted the work to embody the incendiary nature of the censorship battle, the fragility of the cultural legacy that books represent, and the ultimately hopeful triumph of books under all threats of censorship.”
Artist: Liz Hager
Title: Harry Potter & The Fires of Ignorance
Medium: Books, matches, wood, strike pad, digital prints; 14 x 14 x 18 inches
“My images always reflect the different stages, that I’ve gone through in my life. I’ve gone from a dark period to a colorful period, which is where I am right now. My pictures are always a reflection of who I am; an expression of my inner world. Even though I shoot mostly fashion images, I consider my pictures to be more about capturing emotions & movement. I am more concerned about capturing people, faces, expressions and sensations, rather than showing clothes. I am inspired by interesting faces, locations, music, the light at sunset, artists like Francis Bacon, Caravaggio, Rothko. I usually investigate, design and plan my personal work for weeks with an specific concept. I’m very detailed in terms of selecting lighting, locations and models. Until all of these elements fall into place, I go out and shoot.”
Artist: Irene Pena
Medium: Color Analog Photography
Robert Nall, Manhattan Beach, CA
“I am motivated to create art with bold composition, inventive use of color, and often dramatic light.
I am passionate about color and texture and try to bring these attributes to life in my work. I seem to lean towards simplicity and regular scenes. I am fond of the south west and the western shore.”
Artist: Robert Nall
Title: Storm Station
Medium: Oil on canvas, 18×24
Megan Prince, New York, NY
“Many aspects of life inspire my work, but my latest body of work has been focused on communication. Current society is engrossed with the instant message; communicating through email, cell phone, and texting. Because many of our daily relationships are built on these instant communications, little room is left for the deeper understanding that comes from communications that are developed through the passage of time. My hope is that the time intensive build-up and accumulation of the materials in my work would point to building longevity in relationships through communication.“
Artist: Megan Prince
Title: Spinning Lines
Medium: Installation-string, 168x216x11
Deborah Lambert, Santa Rosa, CA
“First and foremost, I am inspired by the process of art making which in my case is painting. I am continuously infatuated with the act of painting. How it feels, smells and looks during the painting process; even the steps leading up to the start of a painting are inspirational. However, it can be difficult to convey process to a viewer and sometimes nebulous inspirations need concrete ideas to make them more accessible to viewers. Second to process, my inspirations come from daily observations of the world around me. I am inspired by complex arrangements of objects or environments wherever I find them. A source could be anything from the utility poles to wildlife – urban, suburban or exurban landscapes. I am currently interested in things that divide and unify simultaneously. The division and unification dynamic creates a fragmented but connected symbiotic state. For me, this condition is a reflection of the modern world that is overwhelmed with high speed bytes and clips of information. I create encaustic multi-panel pieces that reflect the highly structured bytes and clips sentiment, while the gestural oil paintings reflect the speed and movement with hints of disorder.”
Artist: Deborah Lambert
Title: Tangential Expressions No 11
Medium: Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches
Michelle Hagewood, Baltimore, MD
Title: The Halophile Affair, Part 2
Medium: Acrylic and ink on duralar, 10×10 inches
Melissa Mahoney, Santa Barbara, CA
Medium: Mixed media, 28x60x1.5 inches