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Re: [BKARTS] craft standards, poor books
I have to agree (and disagree) a bit with Richard.
I don't consider the "first draft" to be "ART", capital letters,
quotes, etc. It is part of a process, however, much like the
artist's sketchbook has always been. Rarely do those rough pages of
the sketch book rise to ART, but they are definitely part of the
process of it. The concept may be art (or artful), but the road to
realization will probably be littered with a a lot of non-ART.
Sometimes these preliminary jottings are as interesting as the
artwork they lead to, since they document the pathways the artist
followed. I've seen several exhibitions of' sketchbooks, some of
them also including work that grew from the page doodlings. Those
exhibitions were memorable ones. Often the artists were pretty much
local and unknown; I suppose family had preserved the sketch books,
or they had some local historical interest. Only two of the shows
exhibited work from "real" artists.
The "first draft" isn't a waste of time, it's a necessary step along
the way to realizing the finished work. Often, however, it gets
trashed, shredded, or used to start the kitchen fire, once the work
itself is completed. Very few artists will reach a point where their
work will be interesting enough to find a place in an historical or
The achievement of Craftsmanship is a long and slow path, and I'm
thinking that as soon as one is convinced that the goal is reached,
there may begin a slow decline in standard. A really good craftsman,
whose work reaches a high standard, is always seeking to better the
last. Having said that, I will admit that I don't expend a lot of
energy on "perfection", preferring to look for what is right for what
I am doing and concentrating on "doing the best I can". Once I reach
the point where the work seems done, I don't try to do more. The
next project starts the process over again. I am watching my
betters, but still "doing the best I can", always learning. More fun
and less neurotic that way.
This is an interesting thread.
On Jan 2, 2008, at 4:08 PM, Tony Kranz wrote:
First let me say that I have a great deal of admiration for all the
list members that can bind and rebind and print with a remarkable
degree of perfection. Alas, one of them, I am not.
So I am working on getting over my shortcomings as a craftsman and
instead trying to focus on my art, which I make using words and
images, usually on a fiber medium. It can start out a bit ugly, but
usually I refine my first try and feel better at the end. But is
the first draft art too? I can relate to the conundrum Charles has
described so well in this post.
I have learned a lot about the craft of making books since joining
the Book-Arts list. But I've always been more interested in the
discussions about the book as art. And there have been some good ones.
On Jan 2, 2008, at 4:29 PM, Richard Minsky wrote:
> is the first draft art too?
It'a all process. If there is the germ of a new idea in the first
draft, it may well be art. Sketches and drawings may lead to an
oil painting, and you see them together in some museum shows.
That doesn't mean you necessarily want to exhibit an unclarified
concept, or that anyone would want to buy it. But save it. The Yale
Arts of the Book Collection now has my maquettes, drafts, and other
process materials for many of my works. Let the future generations
decide what is art for them, or if it's research material, or if
process IS art, or whatever.
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