Monday, May 25, 2009

The Map As Art

I just got a delightful surprise in the mail - a preview copy of The Map As Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography by Katharine Harmon. I am a big fan of her earlier book, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination (which informed my thinking about maps in my series Milagros), so I was quite honored when she asked me to submit work for her latest book. My piece, Territory, from the series Mapping the Body is reproduced on page 144 as an example of "Personal Terrain: Maps of Intimate Spaces." I am in some very good company - the pages of this book include works by 350 artists including Maya Lin, Olafur Eliasson, William Kentridge, and more. Katharine Harmon writes in the introduction:
"Spend time immersed in the world of artists' maps in this book, letting it steer you through familiar landscapes revealed in new ways and over strange topography resonating with hidden meaning. Contemplate each artist's use of cartography and consider maps of your own journey. Discover how mysterious, jarring, thought provoking, and gorgeous artists' maps can be. Wayfinding documents as artworks have never been as diverse, or as stimulating. Mapmaking as a whole is enhanced as each artist makes a mark on a bigger map, calling out I AM HERE."
My foray into maps began with my series Mapping the Body, in which I often layered maps under kodalith images of the body to convey a sense of a pschychological inner world. I am most often drawn to older maps for both their beauty and their errors. Just as early navigators set sail on uncharted seas, so does the explorer of the self. Some contours of one's world are known, but many others shift and change and surprise.

The Map as Art will be released this fall by Princeton Architectural Press. You could pre-order copies at Amazon by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Creative Entrepreneur

I am so inspired by Lisa Sonora Beam's book, The Creative Entrepreneur. It feels so good in your hands and the lush color illustrations make you want to dive right into it. Lisa's book offers a terrific synthesis of right-brain creative processes and left-brain business planning, making things like marketing and sustainability so much more accessible and fun for artists. I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa recently for the current issue of AHN News. Below is an excerpt - to read the whole interview, please click here.

"It took many years before I felt like I was living my creative dream and had the resources to support it. And I did it all by intuition, without having any specific tools or teachers. It was all trial and error, and believe me, plenty of error! By the time I went to business school, I had already run several successful creative businesses and worked internationally as a creativity teacher for individuals and in corporations. I went to business school because I thought it would honestly help me understand the world of money better -- making money, that is. I'm quite skilled at spending money. I wanted to launch a new business and was worried that all I had was my intuition, and that it wasn't enough (which is true in some ways). Business school (the useful parts) helped me develop a solid set of tools to test and back up my intuition. It was like learning a new language. I learned the language of business, and that helped me greatly speed up the trial phase of an idea and eliminate a good deal of the errors. Eventually, my creativity classes that I had been teaching since I was a therapist in the late 80’s, morphed into teaching business strategy to creatives, which is how the book material was tested and documented.

The Creative Entrepreneur, I wrote the book I wished I had when I was struggling and trying to figure out how to make a living doing what I love (without selling my soul). I include the essential business tools you need to know, but it is all based on and taught via the creative process. So your new, healthy relationship to your creative process informs and guides the business essentials. Plus, learning about business this way is just so much more fun and engaging. When we learn something new with a sense of play, and using our creativity, that knowledge becomes deeply absorbed in a very practical way that can be used immediately."