Saturday, August 29, 2009

Writer meets Artist

Last night I covered a really interesting art exhibit at the Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center, but what made it interesting wasn't the art, but the artist himself. He spoke for an hour, illustrating how he worked and, like most writers, I applied everything he said to my writing. Amazing the similarities between artist and writer. First let me tell you about him: His name is Albino Hinojosa. He was born in Atlanta, Texas in 1943, not far from my home town. That means we have a lot in common--the way we say things, the way we think. When I listened to him speak, I heard East Texas. :-)

Hinojosa was raised by his Cherokee mother and Mexican-American father. Because of his family’s poverty, he didn’t buy his first paintbrush until he was a senior in high school, but he had already been pursuing his interest in art for years, working with an ordinary knife and the pieces of wood he found for himself. He carved intricate wooden guns and toys, not realizing he was actually sculpting. He was offered an art scholarship to Texarkana College. He grew up so poor--that scholarship made everything that followed possible.

Albino Hinojosa was so inspiring, and so encouraging to the many students, art lovers and amateur artists sitting in his audience. He shared all his secrets, and by sharing his secrets he shared his heart. He said, "an artist is always trying to do that master painting, the one that will make him famous, or at least pave the way." So are writers.
He said, "Join a reputable organization and network."
And we writers do, don't we? That's part of it.
He said, "Incorporate passion in what you do."
Yes, that's necessary in writing too. If we don't have passion for what we're writing, it shows, doesn't it?
Hinojosa said he always had the feeling the piece he'd just finished wasn't finished at all--that there was something more it needed, that it was incomplete.
Don't we often feel that way about our stories? That we can add one more chapter, one more character, one more layer of love? That we need to edit or revise one more time.
Hinojosa said that landscapes usually have background, middle ground and foreground.
And so do our books: beginnings, middles and the ending. He also said, "People, you have to get your work out there if you want to rub shoulders with the big guys."
Ain't it the truth?
What spoke to me most was when he said he'd always dreamed of being a portrait painter.
So many of us dream of being novelists, short story writers, famous poets or screenwriters.
It doesn't always happen the way we want it to happen, but that doesn't make us any less a writer.

Albino Hinojosa isn't a portrait painter. He's so much more.

If you are in a position to bring this artist to your town, please do. He's a wonderful, from-the-heart speaker and a fantastic artist. His work is included in a number of museums, including the Masur Museum in Monroe, the Tyler Museum of Fine Art, and the Museum of American Illustration in New York City, and he has had more than 14 one-man shows at various museums and institutions. The Norton in Shreveport, Louisiana is delighted to add its name to that list of host institutions with “Albino R. Hinojosa: An American Realist”. He will be at The Norton from August 11th to September 20th.


Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Again...bravo! Your blog is the best. I am telling you I keep a folder with just your blog post. I love the way you made the connection between writing and art. It takes the same creative juices. It is the same process, isn't it?

Thanks for getting out of your (house/family life) and seeing the world then bringing it to us. I know it takes energy, connections, and sacrifice.

Coming to your blog is like opening a present. You never know what you will find. It helps make me a better blogger, writer and friend. Thanks Jess.

The Voice said...

I think they are pretty much one and the same in concept. I don't know which I love the best, the art of writing or being a creator in the arts. My major when I first entered college was commercial art. Each of the children's books I have written has been over a picture I have drawn. I am so tied to the picture that I have been having a hard time sending them out without the accompanying picture.

Angie said...

Writers ARE artists. Paper is our canvas, words our paint.

Erica Vetsch said...

Wow, there are so many correlations. I talk this over with my artist friend CJ all the time. The preparation, the heartache, the vision, the doubts.