Out of Darkness, Light

by Alden Cole on April 10, 2015 · 0 comments

“In human relationships, kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.” – Graham Greene (1904-1991)

Metamorphosis1000:650Spring 1975: Paintings on black velvet? No, but they are drawings done with colored pencil on black charcoal paper, that I worked on for my own edification. That spring I became a commercial artist again after a year of doing office work to pay the bills. I
EvolutionRevolutionWPlearned that I could balance the two creative worlds: doing art-for-hire and enjoying those results as illustrator, as well as continuing to explore through art an internal quest stimulated by the works of Joseph Campbell, particularly The Hero of a
EmancipationReconciliationWPThousand Faces, and The Mythic Image, and eventually the 4-volume The Masks of God. The period from 1975 until 1979 when I left New York the second and final time, was informed by an attempt to put into visual terms the quest to Know Thyself. I had turned my back on the world of
TransfigurationTransformationWPfashion in favor of creating art that touched upon more timeless issues than those transitory fashion world statements which had been my goal as a student preparing to make my mark on the world. Instead, I was now concerned with the glorification of the unclothed human body in all its youthful glory. These early drawings were a restating in my own terms of the Arcadian spirit which pervades the work of such timeless giants of painting as Titian and Poussin, Courbet and Corot, to name but a few. Admittedly these early works on paper appear a ‘little rough around the edges’ compared to such masters, but I was working fast and hard, just putting down ideas, trying to cram as much living into each day as possible: working a job – either in the Weiser office, or at my drawing board at home; spending time creating drawings like the above; plus having a personal life that was far from normal by all my early training standards, which fell short of satisfying a number of deeper longings. My lived experiences were intense, often lonely, and occasionally depressing; the fast lifestyle wasn’t conducive to holding onto much, either in terms of intimate relationships or earthly possessions. In the two-year period from October 1974 when I arrived back in NYC from a 4-month stay in Maine, until September of 1976, I moved sixteen times. I was living light, as they say, and not holding onto much, except my art supplies. Interestingly, all the arts-on-paper shown today, and recently, are ‘provenance unknown.’ Trying to reconstruct those lost days, I don’t remember selling one of these early drawings; I gave them away, as presents for occasions like birthdays or weddings, or to whoever might happen to compliment a particular piece. And of course there were also those occasions when I was desperately trying to win someone’s attention and approval. Letting go of this early work definitely stimulated more drawing. Considering the times, I’m lucky to have the photos I do: several hundred 35mm transparencies that I haven’t looked at in years, other than as part of a slide sheet of 20, and occasionally projected on a wall. Seeing them in this new technological context is an enlightening experience, giving me new respect for this old work that I did not have at the time of its creation. Sure do wish I could see the originals again, and take properly focused photographs, since my abilities to record this early work needed some serious time and work to improve technique. Living and Learning??

“The greatest of all faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” – Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” – Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982)

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