Know Thyself, then build your art
You’ve heard me repeat it over and over and over. You must know yourself and know why you create your particular art. The concept of “know thyself” is so important (at least to me) that I pound it home in every week of “The Business of Art.” You must know the message behind your art and why that message is important.
This past week, I had that very lesson reinforced to me. And, it was a beautiful message.
The Road Trip to North Carolina
I traveled to North Carolina to learn from Larry Hersberger of Kissing Tree Studio. Larry’s work is licensed internationally (yes, internationally). If you’ve followed my writings for any period of time, you know I search out masters of their craft for my own learning and inspiration. Larry is definitely a master of his art and his licensing.
Here’s a short rundown of our days. (Three other photographic artists from around the country also participated.)
4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. - four undisturbed hours of simple creation, watching Larry play with his licensing images just to see what would happen. This wasn’t a hardship for another photographer and myself (let's hear it for insomnia). And, I must be clear, these early morning hours were not mandatory. Larry had developed a workable schedule for himself and he lived that schedule every morning. We were welcome to spend the hours with him or sleep in. Frankly, there was so much information in those morning hours it was as if another full day was added to the schedule.
The remainder of each day was filled with being served delicious Southern comfort foods by our private chef, studio shooting, and creating artistic masterpieces. I’m pretty sure I need a private chef.
Evenings were set aside for fun and enjoying the company.
Knowing “the why” of your art
Larry spoke of his method of interacting with children, especially during family photographic sessions. He stated one never knows what the home life is like and maybe his kind words will be what the child can hold to heart - to know someone believes in her worth.
When he constructs a family photograph, Hersberger always places the mother in a strong position with beautiful lighting. He doesn’t focus on the father figure, nor does he try to make the parents of equal importance in the artful image. Once the artwork is hanging in the home, Larry believes his use of positioning and lighting provides the subliminal message “this woman is valuable and strong.” And the message is seen day in and day out for years to come.
“When you honor the mother in an artwork, you improve your entire community. People see the strength and the value of the mother and they absorb the subliminal message. Women are the bedrock of a family and of a community.” - Larry Hersberger
It was all I could do to keep from screaming “YES” when I heard these words. Larry put words to my own internal drive; I create my art to improve my community.
And now, I know how I aim to do it.
What are your thoughts about using your art to improve the community? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below, or over on the Facebook page.