9/23/2009

Wednesday - Storytelling and Art


Lately I have been involved in conversations about the relative value of blogging versus Facebook and Twitter - since blogging takes so much more time and effort than the other two.

Here is where I come down on the subject.

Blogging takes more time, true - but to me, blogging is part of my art form. The other two are marketing tools.

I collect bits for stories on this blog. I put up varied art works - so I can see how they look and I work the relationships between photos and works to enlarge the story.

My blog posts are often boring - even to me - but they are a net for catching bits of story. I appreciate the folks who stop by and I hope you will keep coming - and I am particularly grateful for comments but --- in the end, this blog is for me.

I am doing private work in a public forum and people are welcome in the studio.

Recently I began to understand what I am doing on the blog - in a new way - and to see how it relates to an old art form. I am scrap booking - using the blog as the scrapbook.

I don't mean in the current consumer form where people use new materials to make formulaic storied photo collections. I applaud these archiving efforts but I have an aversion to the mass-produced feel of them.

My work focuses on collecting and compiling images, words and events. Putting them together in a random form - to capture the everyday and to connect the past to today.

A few weeks ago I happened to notice a beautiful coffee table book at the library - Scrapbooks: An American History by Jessica Helfand.
The book contains pictures of a collection of fascinating old scrapbooks. Collage. Collecting. Compiling. Beautifully written essays about the impulse for scrapbook-making and discussions of each individual work.

Fireworks went off in my head. The book validated my long-time impulse for album making and scrap gathering. I first exhibited albums in 1975 at the Washington Women's Arts Center - a collection of photographs organized to tell a story with handwritten text added.

Now reading a history, The Scrapbook in American Life, I find myself in good company from the Greeks forward. As a child of the 40's reared by women of the 1920s and 30s I am a product of the social impulse for women to collect and glue.

Even as a storyteller I collect bits to make pieces.

Voila - here is language - academic, artistic, and personal - which brings my work - story and visual art - together under one umbrella - as a scrap-book-ing.

My blog is my scrap-book. My work-book. And just like any scrap book - each page tells you a bit but for the full meaning you have to take a look at the whole.

I like that it also reduces my carbon footprint.

7 comments:

harveyh said...

Your blog also becomes your history and a tool to teach others. For now it may be only for you, but at some point it is a piece of your legacy. As a teacher I kept journals for each of the 33 years that I taught. They were for myself. But I could use them to refer to and connect with others that experienced things that I had. In fact I made copies of my first year teaching journal and gave them to all new teachers when they were hired. It helped ease their transition into teaching.
Right now they just sit on my shelf, but they are my history. My son may not know much about my teaching career, but some day should he choose to read my journals he will get a better understanding of the person I am/was. In essence those journals were my Blog.

Harvey Heilbrun
website: www.hdhstory.net
Blog: www.hdhstory.net/Storyblog

Granny Sue said...

Harvey says it well. MY blog is an online journal, a snapshot of my lifeeach day. I have far more i'd like to put on it, but there is never enough time. I started out thinking it would be a way for my sons and farflung family to keep up with me, but instead it has become much more--a place to meet and make friends, to share ideas, to laugh, to create and explore.

I always enjoy your artwork and insights on your storytelling. It's wonderful to be able to stay in touch with what you're up to, even from a distance.

ELLOUISESTORY said...

Two great comments that extend what I am saying about writing on a blog.

Alan G said...

Obviously, given their popularity, Twitter and Facebook have become huge successes, both commercially and socially. They are both the ultimate tools for ‘social networking’ in my opinion. But in my later years I have become a bit more reclusive and socially inactive to a large degree – and that by choice I might add. When I was younger, socially active and behaving myself, I am sure I would have loved Twitter and Facebook. In fact, being a part-time musician I know I would have. But these days…..unless someone might be interested in the fact that I was dealing with diarrhea again this morning or was heading out for a colonoscopy, I don’t think it would serve any real purpose in my life or in the life of others.

As you and your two previous commenters have noted, blogging leaves some measure of a legacy behind – some insight into who you were. I sometimes think of personal blogs and journals as “biographical scrapbooks”. Many of us have kept scrapbooks, usually when we were younger and loved sharing them with friends and family. Few of us will ever have cause to sit down and write an autobiography but as previously stated, blogs and journals help us to leave snapshots of our loves, our pains and our joys. Blogs and journals usually lack cohesiveness, but all the bits and pieces are there.

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