Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Drawing is a big part of what I do.  I like making things and I like drawing things. Sometimes I make what I draw; sometimes I draw what I make.  I have a special idea about drawing.  I believe drawing is genesis.  If you look around you at any object--furniture, the street, buildings, a computer, clothing, a car, even the entire city--every man made thing you look; every part of our material culture, started with a drawing--that’s why it’s genesis.  If you want something, the first thing you do to get it, is to draw a picture of it.  Drawing gives the human symbolic power over the object; he takes ownership of the idea of that object.   The next step is easy; obtain that object.  You think cave men and women made pictures for decoration?  Draw the bison, hunt the bison, then eat the bison.  Drawing is the realization of desire.
 I know this because that’s what happens in my own studio.  I took a trip to New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado to look a lot at Anasazi pottery.  The Anasazis are the ancient ones, the aboriginal people of southwest America. They like clay and make beautiful pottery with eloquent geometric designs on the pottery.  Simple black and white, thin walled, hand built, and decorated with sophisticated geometric patterns.  When I got back from my trip I made a big drawing.  I had a fireplace that I liked, and I drew that fireplace along with a fabulous collection of Anasazi Pottery on the mantelpiece.
  Years later, I met a guy who wanted that drawing but he didn’t have enough money to buy it.  He said he had a collection of Native American Art.  I traded that drawing for two Anasazi pots which I now prize dearly.  If you want it, draw it.  It will come to you
  It’s interesting that when I teach drawing, lots of people say, “I can’t draw.”  For humans, drawing is as basic as walking or speaking.  Every human has it hard-wired into them how to draw.  We teach it out of children by trying to teach them how to draw what we see.  Really, the idea of drawing is not to draw what you see in front of you, but to draw what you see in the profound sense of “what you see.”  It’s in your head.  You can’t take a photograph of that—the only way out is through the pencil and onto the paper.  Drawing is not a fine art, or a work of beauty—it’s a way of communicating.  You don’t have to teach a human child how to walk or talk, they do it automatically.  At a certain time, they get up and walk, and when they get old enough they start saying words.  The same with drawing.  We think of drawing as an artform, but it’s not--it’s a language.  In walking and talking, no one worries about talent.   However, you only get encouragement in drawing if you show talent or a “gift”.  Drawing is the realization of desire.  Good or bad, everyone needs to do it.

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