William Moore of Mattagami Reserve in his potato patch, 1958 John Macfie Black and white negative John Macfie fonds Reference Code: C 330-13-0-0-7 Archives of Ontario, I0000333
I guess, deep down, I always knew the fire of an artist burned deep within me. I didn’t understand why it was there or what ignited it, I only knew that I felt the burning hot flames of creativity and my need to do something MORE was the fuel they needed to help me embrace my true calling in life – to use my God-given talent to create impossible and beautiful things.
Early report cards and assessments from teachers indicate that I struggled with almost every single subject in school – except art. It appears I excelled at any and all artistic endeavours I tried and was drawn to anything that allowed me to express myself creatively. I didn’t know why this was the case, I just knew that it was the case and I went with it.
It wasn’t until later in life that I would understand where my creative side came from.
The polished piece of stone in my hand is a slice off the big stone to my right. The beauty of stone never ceases to amaze me.
When I go to the quarry to pick stone for my sculptures, I am surrounded by thousands upon thousands of chunks of rough, raw stone. But not all of the stone laid out in front of me is good for sculpture. I spend a lot of time picking through heaps and piles of stone just to come out with (if I’m lucky) a dozen pieces that I can bring home and turn into something beautiful. Some just aren’t shaped right. Some look good on the surface, but a good whack with my chisel or a quick cut with my grinder reveals a stone that will only crack and crumble under the abuse I will need to put it through to make it a work of art.
Art takes time to create.
It’s true that some art comes together quickly and with little effort, just as it’s true that some art takes a long time and a massive amount of effort to create. The length of time needed to create and complete each piece is dependent on a number of factors ranging from the artist’s level of creativity and motivation to the ease of finding the required materials to whether or not real life stuff (family commitments, dentist appointments, trips to the grocery store) is making it difficult for the artist to spend the time they need in the studio creating.
I didn’t go to school to learn about art or to learn how to become an artist. I don’t begrudge anyone who decides to expand their artistic horizons with a bit of higher learning, but it’s not essential or even all that necessary. If you’re artistic, creative and motivated, then you are. You don’t need to go to school and get a fancy degree to prove it to yourself, or anyone else for that matter.
“The principle of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.”
See that big chunk of stone up there?
All of my art starts out exactly like this. Some chunks are big. Some chunks are small. No matter the size, they all have one thing in common – the potential to become something uniquely wonderful and beautiful.