I was recently lent a pair of books by the wonderful costume designer Carol Bailey http://carolbailey.org written by the American artist Anne Truitt.
She was an extraordinary person who died in 2004 after a long and complex career. She wrote several books about her life as an artist, teacher and mother and how her life between them evolved over the years. In her book ‘Prospect’ she looks back on her life from her 70-year-old perspective and it is a work of great touching beauty. She describes a visit to the Guggenheim Museum in New York in November 1961 when she sees a number of artworks that change the way she views her artistic life forever. She returns home to her studio in Washington to make a wooden sculpture which she calls First and from that moment forward everything is different.
“In some modest part of myself, I was appalled by my temerity. I was an unremarkable person to whom something remarkable had happened – so it seemed to me then and so it seems to me now.”
There is something in the way that this woman writes that strike a deep chord with me. A openess and honesty that it seems most artists hide; she articulates thoughts that I have also had and it’s shock to see them written on the page in another’s hand.
“I learned too that if a concept is sufficiently clear and strong, it magnetizes events. I had not known that intent was in itself so powerful.”
Both quotes from ‘Prospect’ by Anne Truitt. Penguin 1996
I have been thinking a lot about ‘intent’ recently and it is a scary and interesting concept that if we desire something and our intent is clear enough we can make almost anything happen to some degree or another. I have noticed over the years that it is my intent that has made many things happen around my artistic creativity but this is something I find harder to manifest in other areas of my life. I was quite shocked when I first saw Anne Truitt’s work how subconsciously inspired by her I had been.
‘Pith’ 1969 by Anne Truit
‘Monolithic Colour Code’ 209 by Ptolemy Mann