The Identity of an Artist

This line of thinking is influenced by a passage in this book, The Identity of an Artist by Daniel Grant (page 138):

“Within a self-imposed solitude, most artists claim that the first construction, even before the work itself, is the identity that will create the art. The persona or vision is really what the art is about and, within this identity, the artists put their stamp on experiences. This personal voice gives the past a freshness and vitality that moves tradition into innovation.”

That paragraph stopped me in my tracks. I think there is a certain identity brewing within me that is very close to the surface whenever I get my fingers into an art project. “Giving the past a freshness” does connect with my ideas about quilting, and the plethora of items that I see as art supplies and everyone else sees as junk. Greeting cards, vintage ephemera, old buttons, rhinestone jewelry…these are links to the family members I’ve lost. I have a head full of stories that I picture in those mid-20th Century years. I know so much music from that era. I’m noticing words in casual conversation (mine and others) that remind me of the Ohio-ese my husband accuses me of: persnickity, cattywhompus, rigamaroll…(that’s a good one from Niecy on “Clean House). The fact that I quilt fits very comfortably with this persona that reminds me so much of those I love and lost. Do I dare let her loose on the subject matter of the art…deciding what kind of art—quilts, beading, embroideries, or some combination there-of—to make?

I already know I don’t have a choice.

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