conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Edward Hopper: How to Talk to Yourself

with 3 comments

Can a conversation result in art?

The answer can only be “Yes!”

Not every conversation, mind you. But some will.

Last weekend Mrs. Kirkistan and I (plus our art-student daughter) wended our way through the sketches and drawings by Edward Hopper currently on display at the Walker. As a nation we’re quite familiar with Mr. Hopper’s drawings and paintings—today they seem perfectly obvious explanations of life in America. But I was intrigued by how he got there. What was his process for producing such enduring images? How did he see what he saw?

His sketches look like conversations with himself. Look how he developed the frame for his (well-beloved, much parodied) Nighthawks at the Diner. His sketches add layer to nuance to layer. It’s almost as if he were explaining something to himself with one approximation and then another and then another. Sort of like conversations with our best friend where we allow each other to say it wrong even as we pursue saying it right.

HopperSketch1-03262014

Hopper was a man given to observation and keen on interpreting detail. With quick strokes he captured form and mood and motion. And there’s no question he had an eye for the ladies:

HopperSketch2-03262014

Hopper seemed to never stop observing and capturing. Again and again and again. He spent hours sitting at favorite locations and sketching and perhaps waiting. This quote from Mr. Hopper hints at his process:

My aim in painting is always, using nature as the medium, to try to project upon canvas my most intimate reaction to the subject as it appears when I like it most….

I’ve been a fan of sketches for some time because they give a behind-the-scenes picture into how someone’s mind works. The Hopper exhibit at the Walker does not disappoint. And I cannot help but think how sketches provide such a rich analog to our collaborative conversations.


###
Image credit: Kirk Livingston photos taken at Edward Hopper exhibit, Walker Art Center

Advertisements

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Love these thoughts, Kirk. Except, sometimes, my creative process seems more like an argument with myself then a friendly conversation.

    Sonya

    March 26, 2014 at 10:23 am

  2. […] drawn to the very black carbon laid down to hint at a clear edge. I’m trying to take lessons from Edward Hopper, though I think he would have given up on me long […]


But wait--what do you think? Tell me:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: