“There is no question there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from midtown, and how late is it open.” Woody Allen, 1972.
I saw the Woody Allen quote at The Art Museum of Western Australia on Sunday. I was at the exhibition “Picturing New York”- photographs from the Museum of Modern Art.
Well, I have always dealt with unseen worlds so Woody’s words hit home base.
Much as I love to live in the real world; the here and now, I like to draw from parallel worlds. The photo above is a postcard of Wellington (New Zealand) with a carefully cut out horse and rider flying above the landscape. I made this little scene in 1981 when I was living in Christchurch and missing Wellington (my city of birth). Back then I used to imagine myself flying above Wellington on my horse. The postcard-with-cut-out-horse was made to illustrate a story “Julie’s Parallel World”. I still have the postcard but have long ago lost the story (accidently on purpose).
However I have not lost the idea of parallel or unseen worlds. I look for a spiritual world within a world when I am in the streets of Kyoto and Paris.
I wonder if you have seen “Spirited Away” by Japanese filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki? I have watched it so many times that I have lost count and listened to the musical score even more times (as I own the DVD and soundtrack). “Spirited Away” reveals spirit worlds within worlds.
It is the ‘spiritual within-ness’ of places which I try to connect with and capture, first with my camera, and then in my drawings. Oh, but it is so elusive. Sometimes I cannot find it at all. If I look too hard, it won’t reveal itself. But if I am relaxed and quiet and fortunate, I will be rewarded. Which takes me to another quote from the New York exhibition:
“Most good photographs, especially the quick and lyrical kind, are battles between the artist and luck, and the happiest victories for the artist are draws.” James Agee, 1946.
I am not really sure what James Agee means by ‘draws’ however I like the word. In my kind of art, the happiest victories ARE ‘draws’ (drawings).
I like this quote too…
“I began to like New York, the racy, the adventurous feel of it at night and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925.
OK, so he was talking about New York, but I can replace it with Paris or Kyoto and feel the same sentiment exactly.
In about five weeks I will be going on another trip to Japan and Europe. I will continue my search, deep within and without, for the parallel worlds. I will hope for victory between artist and luck.
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