Cubism rushed onto the scene through the door way of the conversations and paintings developed between two friends… Picasso and Braque. Since I was young I often day dreamed about having friends that I would create private worlds with. Art always had my heart and I’d imagine myself older, living in Pioneer Square near the Foster and White Gallery or walking past what was a landscape design firm at the time, and later became a satellite for Microsoft’s old creative teams, right near the Zeitgeist cafe. Let us not forget these are the dreams of the young that don’t have words for what they know.
Of course I didn’t study art, it was always my lover, I played the scientist in school. But I do remember in one of my art classes we were asked to take a painting we liked and transform it into something cubist. I remember holing myself up in the stacks in the art history library for days and discovering this one painting by Degas that I kept coming back to and sketching… and enjoyed so much I wanted to recreate it anew.
Looking at it now it reminds me of some of the earliest cubist painting where the plains haven’t separated and taken flight on the page, and the composition still feels whole and grounded. I think my teacher was maybe a little disappointed I didn’t take the exercise further, she at least didn’t say much, yet to me I felt like I was inhabiting the subject, the artist, and the observer. I could talk about it for hours it was such a fulfilling experience.
It’s a fantastic exercise really, to crawl inside another artist and try their style on, or re-imagine it. Eventually I gave it to my mother, explaining to her that it wasn’t an original, that it was based on a Degas I’d found. She was really listening to me intently… It was one of those moment you never forget when she said she knew the original he had done. Wait… really? It had in fact been one of her mothers favorite drawings.
Art work surrounds us everywhere and yet to think out of it all I could have known, loved, and revered, the same work as the grandmother I’d never met, this opened my mind to whole new understandings and possibilities. This was also the first piece of mine my mother had framed, and when I helped her decorate her new place a few years ago I suggested that she turn her extra room into a library… then we hung the painting right next to her reading chair.