The Art of Riding Buses

Jean Arnold of Salt Lake City rides buses and turns her impressions of moving through a city landscape into brilliantly colorful paintings. Her work is on display at the +Gallery through May 19th at 2350 Lawrence Street in Denver, one of the great arts destinations in the emerging River North Art District, a.k.a. the RINO District. The gallery's owner, Ivar Zeile, serves with me on the Denver Commission for Cultural Affairs.

I loved listening to Jean and another strong artist, Kate Petley, describe their creative processes. There were about 20 of us in attendance.

Jean in the top photo is standing in front of an accordion-like spread of pages from the journal she sketched and wrote in during rides on two bus routes in Salt Lake City. At right is one of her small paintings on display at the gallery, a 12"x12" cassein and ink on board titled "Holladay: Island." It's one of the works based on Jean's bus rides in Salt Lake. In the photo below, Jean stands in front of one of her large paintings, giving her artist's talk.

What I like most about hearing an artist talk about his or her work is the chance to see the rhythms of a life played out, how one hunch leads to another, how improbable it all is but how obvious in the final creation, as if it had to be thus. Accountants or dentists also follow hunches in their lives, and you might well ask them to speak for 15 minutes some evening, describing the arc of their work, how it developed from small inklings and how years of work brought them to whatever they have created. Maybe what makes an artist's story compelling is the sense that there were plenty of good reasons to abandon the quest and get a "real" job. So what you see is a tenacity on behalf of intuition and original vision that can inspire anyone to keep going. I felt that sort of inspiration from Jean's work and her discussion of it. It made me want to figure out how to get the audio clearer on my next podcast, how to make the cuts smoother, and how to ask simple questions that are forgetable because of the terrific answers they evoke.

The six-minute podcast is posted below, as well as here at my iWeb site under construction.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Jean. As I read this I remeber hearing speak about your art process in John ericson class and realizing how important process is. I think it is so important for the viewer and lovers of art making hear our stories, it help those understand why art is so important to everyone lives. Laura
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