Wednesday, September 24, 2008

notes about blogging

What I am doing on this blog is tricky to do right. That is, I am showing Seth's work, and trying to write something about it. Seth isn't doing any more artwork, at least not that we can post on the blog here. So there is a finite amount of it. But what there is is some of the most creative work imaginable; it is a crime for this blog to be dull or just daily predictibility. But I can't write it in Seth's voice, it would have to be in my own. So my choices are:
1) to write about Seth's work in a plain, commentator's voice, indicating what HE did to the best of my ability, but not adding my own ideas or interests at all. After all it is Seth's website, not mine.
2) to do what Seth would do, that is to be as creative as possible in everything I do, therefore making this blog less in Seth's image, but more in his spirit.

This is not a unique problem. All extremely creative people who died leaving work for others to deal with have left this problem. In Barcelona there is the fabulous, unfinished church of the Sagrada Familia (the holy family), begun by the great Antoni Gaudi, about whom I have written before. When Gaudi died, killed by a streetcar, the church was not finished, and apparently even the plans were not finished. As I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) he continued to modify the plans as the work went on.
After his death, people understandably wanted to finish the work. But how to do it? Should they hire someone to do what they thought Gaudi might do himself? But his vision was utterly unique; to do so would inevitably result in a hack job. But could you find someone who was a genius like himself to do what he would do? Impossible. A genius like himself would do something after his OWN creative heart.
What they ended up doing was something that seems to me to be exactly in the spirit of Gaudi, who was an artist of great generosity and humility. They hired people to design parts of the church after their own creative visions. Therefore the church (as yet still unfinished) is in several different styles, some quite unlike that of Gaudi. But it stands as a testamony not only to the love, joy, and faith that were elements of Gaudi's own vision, but also to the open-heartedness that was equally, but less visibly, an essential part of his spirit.

Yesterday I looked at the wonderful blog of James Gurney. In it he writes about what he is thinking about lately, what he is drawing, technical issues artists have to solve, and a lot of other interesting and lively ideas. It is never dull.
I think Seth's website deserves more than faceless commentator's notes on his work. His website needs to be a place where we can all put our creative juices to work. I am thinking about how to do this, and I welcome your ideas.


Enrique Bordes said...

The fact itself that you are stopping to think-rethink how to keep blogging here its a creative act.

But the important reason for me to write was to say "hey! we are here". Simply following the blog as it is now, is very inspiring...

If I come up with ideas I will tell you. But seeing the new post that you wrote (keeping things in scale) I feel a great new direction coming.

Vicki said...

Thank you Enrique. I am glad that you are inspired by seeing Seth's work.
I guess the thing is, I want for all the writing that is on this blog to be creative as well. Seth was always encouraging people to not just do what he did, but to do their own best. So I guess what I want for myself and all the people who look at this is to be inspired to do EVERYTHING with whole hearts: write the blog, draw pictures, wash the dishes, dig in the garden, talk with our children. Everything can be creative.
So as far as this blog, we'll see what direction this takes me...

j_ay said...

Just keep doing what you FEEL is right, Vicki.
I’d say your vivid panel-by-panel descriptions may help some readers notice things that may just pass over. I’d guess most comics are read (i.e. looked at) much, much too quickly.

We’re here for you.

Vicki said...

How nice of you Jay. I suppose I could keep this up without any feedback, but it is nice to hear from people who read and find something worthwhile in it.

You say that most comics are gone over way too quickly. Of course. It is easy to look at pictures without studying them. In fact, wordless books actually take a lot more work to read than books with words AND pictures. And I know that all artists work hard on their pages; they deserve more than just a cursory run-through.

david e. ford, jr said...

there is an idea that an artist only ever creates one work, and that always unfinished. your allusion to gaudi's sagrada familia is particularly apt in this respect.

as the previous commenters suggested, sharing your insights about seth's work and creative process is very valuable. those of us who read and think and write about comics and who recognize seth as one of the singular artists in the medium will continue to benefit from what you have to share however you choose to share it.


Vicki said...

I am quite sure that Seth agreed with what you said here. He only ever created one work, and that work was his life. So everything he did he considered part of the artwork, part of the continuing grand creation. It was never acceptable to do less than his best, or to do the same thing over again just because he had it down. He considered that he had a mandate to keep creating, keep growing, both as an artist and as a person.