Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Artist as Parent

Blessed Mother by Kevin Kresse

I am so overwhelmed with various emotions about being an expectant father, that it has been very hard for me to blog, or do much else productive.
I've been organizing the studio, though, as I have the premonition that this surge of feeling will eventually manifest itself in some creative work.
Though we are socially conditioned to see artists as hedonistic libertines, the connection between creativity and reproduction makes a certain sense to me. But as I try to wrack my brains for examples which illustrate this connection, the only one I can come up with is one of my artistic heroes, Kevin Kresse.
Kevin and his partner Bridget, had just quit their real jobs in order to focus on developing his artistic career, when they learned they were expecting twins. From this combination of circumstances Kevin began a series of paintings which exemplify many of the feelings I am facing.

Take for instance this one, Outside the Ring of Marys

of which Kevin says: "The overall idea is about the limitations of being an artist versus the power of creating a new life."

A couple more of my favorites from his work from this period are Daywatch and Nightwatch:

I've always been struck by something powerful in these pieces, a palpable sense of anticipation which I've recently begun to understand all too well.

I have a feeling in a few months this sense of fretful expectation will give way to the feeling of overpowering protectiveness Kresse expresses in
Papa Bear (Safe Mountain), of which he says: "One of two Papa Bear paintings based on the new feelings that children bring out in a parent- the need to protect and nurture."

I just thought I'd share a few of these with you, because well, I'd love to see Kresse get a larger audience, and I'm trying to kick myself into gear to paint more. I don't have much tangible to offer a child. But I can do my best to be a good example, which entails doing more with my talents and skills.

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