What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas S Buechner. I became a visual artist because of this 13" x 17" x 2" opus that covers Rockwell's entire career. It has over 600 illustrations, including these incredible gatefold pages that open up to over 30" in width. When I first discovered this book on my parents' bookshelves I was probably only a few inches taller than it was, which is probably what first attracted me to it. As a kid it fascinated me. I copied his work and pored over the photos and drawings he used as a reference from the time I could hold a crayon through just before I left for art college. As a master of composition, color, anatomy, and light, Rockwell could have painted anything he wanted, and he chose to paint the most ordinary moments in life. His technical skill inspired me to create my own art. But his socially aware, gently firm statements and observations on race, class, and society influenced a line of thinking that extends beyond the visual realm. I probably lean so far left politically as I do because of this book. Now it sits on my bookshelf, a gift from my mother a few years ago, and I was surprised when opening it again for the first time in years that it still has the power to teach me new things and inspire new ideas.
Nolen Strals and Double Dagger play at DC's Crooked Beat Records this evening at 7 pm. Double Dagger will also appear at Whartscape on July 12th and open for Half Japanese at the Ottobar on July 24th.