Took a break from my own projects to go watch a favorite Denver artist do a demo at the Art Students League of Denver. Homare Ikeda has done a lot of monotypes, which is why I often bump into him at Open Press. He's also on the faculty at ASLD. Here he was doing a painting demo, which was well attended and very interesting.
I don't do a lot of painting anymore, and don't usually work in the abstract when I do. I like Homare's loose, open ended forms and his thoughtful, deliberate way of working, though. So chalk it up to networking and professional curiousity when I stopped by. I sent out a few snippets on Twitter, and admired Homare's laid back narrative style. I do a lot of demos myself, and I can always learn.
Homare related that, as a student at Skowhegan, he'd gotten a studio visit from Komar and Melamid, the Russian Pop Artist team. K&M pronounced Homare's work "constipated".
"I figured that was a good thing", Homare related with his shy little laugh. The crowd laughed too. He'd turned the potentially crushing, off hand remark into a small creative victory with his unassuming humor.
Later he tried to explain that being an artist is, to him, nothing special. He's right, and the sometimes idealizing ASLD students need to hear stuff like that. There are geniuses in art, sure. And like many things, art can be done in an inspired way, but before that happens it's mostly just hard work, done with commitment.
He finished up with some sumi-e drawings of traditional subjects; fish, bamboo, birds. It's a fairly unassuming art form, done by a fairly unassuming guy.
Make no mistake, there's more than a little magic in that.