ARTIST STATEMENT – “Act Three – Drawings & Poems”
As the child of two artists, I received two extraordinary gifts. One was a luck-of-the-draw DNA aptitude for drawing. But the greater gift was learning, in the demonstration of their lives, that art is essential. It is not a hobby, a minor pastime – something to do only when you’re not doing something more important. It can be the center of a life. Making it the center of my life took decades: the drawings you see here are the product of a very circuitous journey. As a kid, drawing was what got me the most attention. But writing, which by adulthood took the form of a good number of solo and collaborative nonfiction books – and music, specifically playing the violin – soon took over. For whatever reasons, art pretty much went underground from my 20s to – well, April Fools Day 2009, when, about a month short of my 58th birthday, I sat down to do the first drawing I’d done in years – aimed at accompanying one of the poems I had started writing about 12 years before. It wasn’t a big moment – just a matter-of-fact “I think I’ll do a drawing.” I’ve done one – with an accompanying poem – pretty much every day since. The drawing almost always comes first. Over the past few years, each of them has insisted on adding creatures to a menagerie of characters which is probably becoming loopier and loopier as I go on. A good friend of mine calls them supernatural. They come out of nowhere. The great adventure for me is to sit, as I do every day at about 4 p.m., in front of a blank sheet of paper without an idea in my head – let the pencil start moving. When I’m done I prop the drawing up next to my computer screen where – against all odds, as it seems to me – a poem begins to form itself – in the same strange half-conscious way. They don’t so much illustrate each other as agree to be seen with one another. But they do seem to want to share the spotlight. I don’t know what else to say about what I do – except that the experience of it, over time, has brought me to the closest understanding I’ve yet had that the essence of a good life consists in finding one’s work, and doing it. This is my work. I call this enterprise “Act Three” because I’m living my own third act, and every creature that keeps tumbling out of me wants to get on stage before the play ends. “Act Three” is dedicated to my muse, my confidante, my beloved soulmate Donna Boguslav, without whom my creative life would not, in the form it’s taken, be remotely possible.
[Because the poems are so integral to this Enterprise, I'd encourage you to see the verbal/visual hybrids as I intended them in my website - Act Three. Link provided above but here it is again: http://guykettelhack.blogspot.com/ ]