By TRICIA GRAME, visual artist and faculty member in the Department of Writing, Consciousness, and Creative Inquiry
Last week I saw "A Weekend With Pablo Picasso," a one man play by Herbert Siguenza, at the Lesher Theatre in Walnut Creek, Calif. Siguenza writes, paints, and performs in a tour de force interpretation of the legendary artist. Picasso, a most prolific and obsessive multimedia artist, knew he had no choice but to spend each day making art. Siguenza’s dialogue concentrates on quotes by Picasso that spoke loudly to me: “An artist begins by making mistakes—that is natural—do not make any excuses, work every day, everything is art.”
Two weeks ago I saw Rita Moreno’s one-woman play, "Without Makeup," at the Berkeley Rep. She spoke about her journey, her struggles as a woman, and her passion as an artist. She will be 80 years old this year. Her concluding statement was, “I absolutely have no idea what people are talking about when they say that getting older prevents one from creating.”
Cindy Shearer curated an amazing, creative interdisciplinary exhibition and event, "Offerings," at the Village Theatre Gallery in Danville, Calif. The opening night, September 10, was very inspirational, with poet Judy Grahn, musician Anne Carol, Storyteller Jovelyn Richards, poet and playwright Genny Lim, and Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers. I sat in the second row and felt like I had an enlarged heart. I thought, oh, how much we need artists in this world, how much I love being with them, and without them it would be like not having enough oxygen. I spent the next week locked in my studio.
Exposure to other artists and writers has an enormous impact upon us intellectually, emotionally, socially, and creatively. Although, as with the story of any life, the starting point is important to establish a basis for attitudes and beliefs, it becomes less significant over time as the connections we make during the journey cause revision of personal identity. The body of work produced over the course of an artist’s life is many and can mark various milestones.
Over the years, I have taken the opportunity to study the oeuvres of many artists; I have been significantly affected by their lives, beliefs, and work. Among them were Eva Hess, Louise Bourgeois, Anne Sexton, Marisol, and Alice Neel. They have inspired me to travel deep within and to draw on my inner resources so that I could more fully understand and create. One must learn how to articulate through their work, to celebrate and share. Artists have a vision, incentive, and insistence to continue with what they do best—make art. Their own aspirations and accomplishments show what we are capable of desiring and achieving. Their inspiration is priceless.