“Just because I’m into this, does that mean I should live like it and really do I dare?”
By Derrick White
If you are connected to Wi-Fi or happy with your data plan, please take a moment and watch the following short video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpunQZ4cUyI (Canadian spoken word poet Tanya Davis’ song “Art,” animation by screenwriter and film director, Andrea Dorfman. Both artists hail from Halifax, Nova Scotia). If you are reading the hardcopy edition of this issue of EGuide Magazine, please take a moment to look it up or, at least, jot it down for later. It is a nice, little pick-me-up. When I watch “Art” by Tanya Davis and Andrea Dorfman, it cheers me up. I feel reassured by its insecurity. I find it optimistic and encouraging with a message to go out in the world and make a positive declaration. It reminds me of the work of local artist, Rebecca Clarke, because of the cartoons and cheerful, appealing inventiveness. Rebecca is a dedicated ‘lifetime’ artist. She works with a constant devotion and rich delight rare among most artists. Her work is intimate, quirky and profound. She is a congenial and sanguine person. The type of person this world needs.
“I don’t really know what started me on my path as an artist. I loved to draw, write, and doodle. I started doing these activities when I was really little. I know every kid loves to color and draw but I would constantly be drawing stories to show my mom, before I could write down what the stories were about. I think there is something subconscious about sitting down with paper and a pencil and creating scribbles on paper,” reminisces Rebecca. Clarke had her first formal experience with art in sixth grade. She remembered learning the basics from taking classes. She states, “I took an after school art class where the assignments were more creative and open-minded. I started getting more interested in different processes of art beyond drawing or painting. My after school art teacher, Mrs. Woods, opened the door to the creative sides of art by letting me express myself and my thoughts, which is what I instantly became attracted to.” But her high school at the time didn’t offer any art classes, so she didn’t get the chance to expand her artmaking knowledge until college. “I still retained the same love for art, which is what caused me to pursue it in college and I have been taking college level art classes since,” recollects the artist.
Rebecca Clarke is from Bullard and received an Associate’s degree in Art from Tyler Junior College and then subsequently continued studying Fine Art at the University of North Texas in Denton. She states an important aspect art has brought to her life is the ability to experience different perspectives other than her own. “While making art is an intimate and personal process, learning to appreciate and understand art is rewarding. It is eye-opening to look at someone else’s art and think of all the different factors which go into making it and what it means to you. Art can really be about anything, important or silly, or aesthetically pleasing. There is a feeling one gets when one looks at new pieces and tries to understand them,” urges Rebecca. She states, “Art has definitely brought a sense of enjoyment into my life, as well as satisfaction and freedom. There is a sense of free will in what you are doing, being able to create something however you want, is freeing. And then when you are finished, there is satisfaction. It is therapeutic. You are addressing your own topic and ideas so it makes a statement.”
Or, as Tanya Davis put it, “I wondered what would be the worth of my words in the world. If I write them and then recite them are they worth being heard? Just because I like them does that mean I should mic them and see what might unfurl? And I think of the significance of my opinions here. Is it significant to be giving them? Does anybody care? Just because I’m into this, does that mean I should live like it, and really do I dare?”
Rebecca Clarke works with the basics; pencil drawing, pen drawing, acrylic and ink but also enjoys pastels and charcoal. “I like to draw digitally as well but it can be challenging at times. Drawing digitally is fun, and the images you get are clean, but when you struggle with line work it makes it difficult. I’m extremely thankful for the online resources. Looking up tutorials or even a new style of drawing is really effective. I’m happy I live in an age where I can use Google,” affirms the artist.
She is inspired by such contemporary artists as Sophie McPike (Melbourne based illustrator) and Erin Hanson (Los Angeles based landscape painter), as well as art history’s Edward Hopper (American realist painter and printmaker), Frida Kahlo (Mexican, Surrealist self-portrait painter), Claude Monet (a founder of French Impressionism) and Edouard Manet (the forefather of French Impressionism).
Rebecca Clarke advises, “Being an artist, you will struggle with your works repeatedly. While it can be fun, it can also be really challenging and difficult. When the work starts to go in a direction you did not intend, it can be frustrating trying to get it back onto the right path. The biggest struggle I’ve had is trying to meet my art in the middle instead of what my original aim was. Almost all of my professors have told me creating an artwork is having a ‘conversation’ or ‘dialogue’ with the piece, and that is the best way of explaining it. You have to start being okay with losing some control.”
Or, as Tanya Davis put it, “So, I pondered the point of my art in this life. If I make it, will someone take it and think it’s genuine? Will they be glad I did because they got something good out of it? Will they leave me and be any more inspired? I question the outcome of the outpouring of myself. If I tell everyone my stories will this keep me healthy and well? Will it give me purpose, to this world some sort of service, is it worth it, and how can I tell?”
You can friend and possibly commission art from Rebecca Clarke through Facebook at @beckstertwosocks.