words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 04: searching for moments of meaning in a catalogue of events

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When searching for meaning in a catalogue of artistic events,
does one art form influence another?

Looking back through my history of art exhibits, shows, and performances,
I wonder how these events have influenced my art to date.  In pondering this rather profound question, I
also must ask how the art of others have influenced my work as well. Can I be,
as well as my art, a product of both a historical and contemporary mindset of various
artistic disciplines? Does art from such masters as Salvador Dali, or Matisse
in painting, or Rodin in sculpture, or performance and visual art from my peers
Lili White, Constance Kocs, or Paul Curci respectively, and the post-modern dance / avant-garde operas of Pina Bausch compel
the creative spark as well as say a musical performance by jazz artist John
Coltrane or minimalist Steve Reich?

As an artist, I’ve always thought it was extremely important
to be both creative and observant.  Art
flows through the eyes of the artist, into the interpreting mind, through the reflective
soul and back into world.

I began drawing and painting at an early age while listening
to “Soul” music from such artists as The Temptations, Sam and Dave, Diana Ross and
Marvin Gaye.  But in 1970 at age 14 while
browsing through my older cousins’ record collection, I came across two visually
stunning album covers. They were Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies and Miles Davis’
Kind of Blue. I had never heard of these musicians, but the combination of the on
stage black background and their psychedelic shirts full of abstract color led
me to investigate. The music was incredible. It was provocative, edgy, exploratory,
and new. Here is a perfect example of how visual stimulation of one kind led to
the discovery of something completely new in the form of sound and improvisational
composition.

Yes, with our imagination, one art form can influence the
discovery of another and how it is translated into a new vision.

Over the years, as I moved from painting to digital art, I continued
to maintain a traditional approach to my art while simultaneously embracing and
supplementing it with all things contemporary. I would like to think that my
digital art can and does incorporate the movement of dance in its lines, the conceptualization
of operatic design in its production, the intricate sound and improvisation of minimalism,
and jazz in its syncopated patterns.  And color…lots of color, insight, intuition,
and emotion—full of warmth, that when observed closely can be found in the arts
of old and new.

What do you think? As an artist, musician, poet, dancer,
patron, blogger, or lover of creativity, does one form of art influence
another?

For me it is interesting that as I explore this new
expression called blogging, my subliminal intent is to somehow have art
influence how I blog and the tool of blogging become part of the process of
creating art.

In the meantime enjoy the slide show: In the Reflective
Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 04: searching for moments of meaning in a
catalogue of events.

  • Towards the Reflection of Art, Digital Artist,
    Walter Smith
  • 19 American Artists, Highwire Gallery, Berkgerk,
    Deventer 1990
  • Constance Kocs, Highwire Artist
  • Meredith Monk: 1987 Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
    Academy of Music
  • Dance at BAM: Next Wave Festival , Digital Remix
    2011 Walter Smith
  • Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Gebirge: 1984 Next Wave Festival,
    Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Arien: 1984 Next Wave Festival,
    Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Philadelphia Artists Cooperative (Highwire
    Gallery) founded 1987
  • Sometimes in the Waking the Reality is More
    Pressing than the Dream, review, City Paper,
    2000
  • Pina Bausch, Steve Reich, Next Wave Festival,
    Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Statements After the Arrest Under the Immorality
    Act, Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa
  • Louvre, Paris, France 1990
  • Lili White, Highwire Artist
  • Paul Curci, Highwire Artist, City Paper
    Publisher, Philadelphia, Pa
  • Steve Reich, minimalist composer
  • Miles Davis, jazz composer
  • Dance at BAM: Next Wave Festival , Digital Remix
    2011 Walter Smith
  • The Birth
    of the Poet
    : 1985 Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, photo
    Beatriz Schiller,  Digital Remix 2011, Walter
    Smith
  • Billie Holiday & Dechen Shak-Dagsay
  • Stigmata, (Michael Davenport & George
    Wolstenholme) electronic music composers
  • Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker,
    jazz composers
  • Post Canvas and Paint Series 10.14.2010.8:07.a.m.
    Digital Artist, Walter Smith
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6 responses

  1. “As an artist, I’ve always thought it was extremely important to be both creative and observant.” I agree as both are necessary for the birth of new works and ideas. I love the slides; beautifully ordered. Plus, your thoughts gave me more to think about as well as imagine. You do such powerful work. 🙂
    Thank you!
    E

    May 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm

  2. Thank you Liz, your observations are important to me. Tonight, I am starting to answer the questions you sent to me for the blogger interview.

    The first question, “what motivates you to get up in the morning”, immediately brought to mind this answer….”the dreams I had the night before”. So this is where I will begin 🙂

    Peace and Light

    Walter

    May 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm

  3. Now I feel like listening to some Miles Davis, Jimmi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye. I like the way you described discovering the new music.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:06 am

    • Thanks BPA, yes some Miles Davis would make the day. I had the pleasure of seeing him at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music in 1991. Glad you like the work.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  4. Hi Walter. I have a question…Is that your artwork in the frames above or art that you’re influenced by or both?
    And to answer your question I think art is influenced by one another. You can hear it in music as it borrows the styles from other genres. You can see it in paintings when you think to yourself…that reminds me of so and so. A good artist has the ability to merge styles and push the envelope of his/her own style.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    • Hi Baxter Bunny, thanks for checking out the blog.
      Some of the images in the slideshow are my original digital compositions. (the first and the last) Others are collages of showbills that I attended or photographs of shows, fellow artists etc.. I then digital remixed them. The thought was to convey creative influences.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm

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