June 26, 2008
lisa solomon : artists who blog
I'm sure most of you are already familiar with Lisa Solomon's work. I love how Lisa combines textiles, thread, pattern, installation, and drawing. Check out the "domestic scenes" series under recent work on her website and you'll see some of my personal favorites! Lisa received her MFA in 2003 from Mills College in Oakland, California, where she now lives and works. You can find some of her website and design work at s & m productions and lots of fun items for sale in her underdog ink shop. Click here for links to various shops where you can buy her original artwork and multiples. And of course don't forget about Lisa's Musings, where she has been blogging for the past 4 years (wow).
I enjoyed reading Lisa's insights about why she blogs and I'm sure you will too!
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I started a blog back in 2004 - for a few reasons.
* My family wanted to know what I was up to. It seemed easier to write a blog than send personal and slightly different emails to my family members.
* I wanted a place to "dump" things. I think as an artist you spend a lot of time thinking. The traditional dumping ground might be a sketchbook. But with the internet and the infinite linking possibilities and all the potential meanderings I wanted a virtual space to keep track of all the places I might want to visit or found inspiring. It's kind of like a log [I keep thinking of star trek and the space log. Yes I'm a dork that way].
* For me writing helps me contextualize what I'm making. I like thinking about things from different angles and writing helps me to formulate more completely. A huge part of art making is process oriented and happen stance -happy accidents can make or break a piece. Being able to understand and recreate that moment that feels indescribable is at the crux of making for me. Writing helps me figure it all out. It helps ground me in what I think exists in the content of the work. I think it's also important as an artist to be able to speak about what you are doing and making. If you are putting your work out in the public then I feel like you should be able to discuss it. Writing helps with that as well. If I can type it I can say it [or so I think].
At one point I really thought a lot about why I was blogging, and I sort of threw that question out there. There were some pretty great responses. All of the links aren't active, but here's a link to my post where I collected the answers to "why we blog".
How did you come up with the name of your blog?
I just wanted a synonym for thoughts... Musings seemed good - it's kind of lighthearted? Things that I muse about - things that become a muse for me. I like words that have multiple meanings so it seemed like a good fit.
How has blogging effected your work as an artist/designer?
I'm a big believer in discipline. I like deadlines and goals and working towards something. I also like collecting - images, ideas etc. I also like the cross pollination between "high" and "low" art.... Blogging seems to embody all of that. And keeping a blog has reinforced that I'm interested in all those things. It's something I want to do regularly [deadline]. As I'm wandering through the world I might take a second look at something because I could blog about it [collecting]. The internet is so vast - it's easy to check out a critically acclaimed artist on a major museum website on one tab and a homemade quick you-tube joke on another - and sometimes you can find an odd connection between the two - blogging is the perfect medium to point that out - and share it [cross pollination].
In terms of directing effecting my work - that's hard to pinpoint. I think if I start thinking too hard about blogging and how it seeps into my work I would stop. I think blogging has definitely introduced my work to people that might not ever see it otherwise - which is a great bonus. It also feels like a more one on one interaction with an audience. That's definitely a plus. You don't always get to "talk" directly to the people who see or are interested in your work.
What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?
I have a hard time choosing even a top 10. I also try and steer away from high school popularity type things which in some ways listing favorites starts to feel like to me. On the other hand I really like it when people list sites that they like [yes, I constantly contradict myself]. You can always check out the links page of my sites [both the blog and my art website have links pages]. I try to keep those pretty up to date with places I visit [although as I type this I realize I'm due for an update].
Why do you think blogs have now become so popular with artists and designers?
I think artists and designers spend a lot of time alone. Working. Plugging away at what they do. If we are lucky we have people come for studio visits and get one on one feedback, but often times it's a solitary lifestyle. Blogs are a perfect escape. We can have all these friends online that look at the world in similar ways. We can be inspired by one another's words, projects, photos, thoughts, ideas, energy. We can relate to one another's successes, failures, struggles. Blogs provide a way to get feedback as well. It's so nice to feel part of a community. Especially one that you can weave in and out of between other things that need to happen. [I read more blogs
on my lunch break....]
Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?
I think you should just follow your heart. Post about things that are meaningful for you. Don't worry about who is or isn't reading. Don't get caught up in what you think you should say or do. I like blogs where people divulge process, thinking, concepts... I also like blogs that have personality, energy, an eye for beauty, or humor.... The great thing is that there is something for everyone. If you haven't found what you are looking for then create a blog that fills that hole for you.
I think you have to figure out how much you want to share and keep personal. I think you might want to start with guidelines, but then also be willing to let them go.
What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?
I never in a million years thought I would have made the very real and very true friendships that I have via blogging. I feel part of a very lovely, supportive, and entirely amazing group of creative people. I am inspired, I laugh, I see beauty, I'm encouraged to think on a daily basis. What more could you ask for?
Thanks SO MUCH for asking me to be a part of your series Stephanie. As a long time fan of your work and the other artists you've featured it's an honor.
Thank YOU Lisa for your lovely, articulate answers and for sharing the beautiful photographs of your work!