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My Hero - Michael deMeng

Hollie
2377 Posts
Joined: Mar 2010
Hello Everyone.

One of my artistic heros is Michael deMeng. Michael is an amazing artist. He creates assemblages from found objects. He has such a talent for taking random pieces and making them all come to together. His work is haunting and intriguing.

I had the privilege of taking a class with Michael, this Spring. He is such a generous soul. He shared all of his tips and tricks with us, urging us on to find our voice.

He posted a very thought provoking piece on his blog awhile back. It resonated with me. It has stayed with me.

I asked Michael for permission to repost this piece and he graciously said yes.

"Wednesday, April 14, 2010

                     The Artistic Timeline

   
I have always held the FIRM belief that artistic ideas belong to no one  single person.  I have always held the firm belief that Art grows from  the ideas of others.  If it didn't we would still be drawing in the mud.   Ever single art that has ever existed comes from a gradual development  of a concept or a technique.  Art movements are about artists working  on a similar theme, but from those themes come individuality.  If you  look at the Renaissance with blurred vision you it would seem that all  the artists were sort of copying each other...and guess what, they were.   Of course, I tend to think of it less of copying and more of  "learning" from new ideas.  If you look closely you start to notice  subtleties in each artists work.  Bosch and Bruegel are very  similar...but look closer and they are not.  That is the point, there is  no possible way for them to be identical, no two minds will never be  able to create exactly the same thing (unless you are a forger which is a  different kind of thing altogether).  Art movements are about trends  that are interesting or pertinent to the time of the creations.  If  there wasn't a fair amount of "learning" from each other there would be  no such thing as an art movement.  Otherwise Raphael would be doing  Renaissance painting while DaVinci would have been busy inventing  Abstract Expressionism...it's not what happens.  Artists grow, and  expand on the ideas of other Artists.

Now I'm going to pull out a quote from Picasso...well at least it has  been attributed to him "Good artists borrow.  Great artists steal."  The  reason this is important is that an artist's role is to move ideas  forward.  The way they do this is by paying attention to what's going on  around them.  I promise you that Michelangelo was well aware of what  Raphael was doing and vice versa.    I view art as a science.  Like  scientific discoveries, artistic discoveries are built on the bones of  its predecessors.  It seems ludicrous to me to have to reinvent  something that has already been explored.  All styles and techniques are  worthy to be reexamined and rediscovered.  It is what we as artist's  do.

So the reason I have sort of a bee in my britches over this issue is  that I am amazed at how many of my students seem surprised that I am  willing to share my ideas with them.  Of course I'm going to share my  ideas.  Art MUST grow!  It must move forward.

I have absolutely no fear that someone is going to "steal" my style and  run with it.  Let them, but it won't be my art.  They may use my  techniques but it will never be mine and anything I do will not be  their's.  It is probable that other artists using certain techniques of  mine will grow in directions that I would have never thought of.   In  some cases perhaps better.  So be it!  That is a good thing.  If nothing  else it keeps me motivated to stay on top of my game.

So for those teachers worried about someone stealing your  "secrets"...well you have the choice not to teach or share those  secrets.  Of course, by now,  you know how I feel about that point of  view.

The reason I am so avid about this position of sharing is that, to me,  art is sacred and magical.  It is perhaps one of the most sacred and  magical things we have on this earth.   The idea of keeping artistic  ideas, techniques and thoughts hidden from other artists seems like a  spit in the face of everything that I hold as divine in the Universe.   It is sacrilegious to everything that I believe as an artist.  I  believe, as an artist I am here to explore this place through my eyes  and hands.  At some point I will have shuffled off this mortal coil.   What greater honor is there than inspiring others and knowing you have  contributed to the continuity of the artistic timeline.  Before I die  that is what I hope I can achieve, but I can't achieve it unless I am  willing to share. - Michael deMeng"
     

Please visit his http://michaeldemeng.blogspot.com/Blog and http://www.wix.com/demeng/michael-demengWebsite when you have a minute or a few hours, as I promise you will get lost in his work. If you ever have a chance to take a class with him, I hope you jump on it. He is a phenomenally creative soul.

One of the things I hope we achieve here at DS, is this spirit of sharing and learning. My plan for 2011 is to bring more tutorials, classes and ideas to help us all grow as artists. If you have wishes, please let me know.
Hollie
Designer - Holliewood Studio   
Owner - MischiefCircus.com
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justpattyanne
1059 Posts
Joined: Apr 2010
Thank you so much for sharing this with us Hollie.

I have been admiring Michael's work and coveting his books for awhile now.
(I'm afraid to buy one though for fear that it will become another obsession and I'll be out buying welding & soldering supplies. I already can't walk by a rusty piece of metal anything without picking it up to glue into some book.)

To read these words and find out about the giving soul of this artist just makes me admire him even more.

We all have been inspired by an artist and then took steps to try to emulate them - That is how it begins from a very young age and continues on.  We learn techniques about tools from others. We see color combinations in nature and in fashion.  We see a new art form and we try it out. The secret is taking those ideas and making them your own, giving it your own voice.  

I believe that the more you give away, the more that comes back to you. This applies to life, to love and to art.
      
"Do or Do not.
There is no try."
~Yoda~

My Gallery
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mrsaboyer
Posts
Joined: Apr 2010
I love him so much! He was on my list of 3 artists over Halloween. He's got an online class that he's doing coming up, but the paypal link from his blog won't work for me.
Hollie, did you get to go see him in person? That's so awesome!
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mrsaboyer
Posts
Joined: Apr 2010
Okay, nevermind I just got it to work. I'm enrolled! WHOOOeeee!
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Karen_Johnson
Posts
Joined: Apr 2010
Oh Holly, thank you so much for posting this.  Michael's words are inspirational.  And I love the idea of learning and growing from each other as artists.
And kudos to you for embracing his words.
Andrea - I'm gonna go and check out his classes too.
Patty Anne - I've got a sudden urge to invest in a solder iron! lol
Hugs,
Karen
::xmas1
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eryn
Posts
Joined: Apr 2010
oh I love his work! But I had forgotten about it so thank you Hollie for the links.
And what an inspiring post. It is so true and there is no way we as scrappers could have reached the levels we are at completely on our own. Galleries and other artists are wonderful inspiration to help us grow our art.
You are making me want to get out more Hollie! The digiscrapping world has been my only home for a while now, but it's time to venture out and explore a little more.
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naughtsncrosses
Posts
Joined: Apr 2010
Thank you for sharing that, Hollie.  I think it's amazing that he feels that way - and more power to him!!!

I just love that you have created a haven here, too, Hollie, a place where we get to try new things and put our own spin on challenges.  I just love that everyone is free to express themselves here!!  Thank you!!
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fairydust
Posts
Joined: May 2010
thanks for posting, hollie!!! i discovered michael over the summer, sitting in borders & going through books on ATCs. that is so cool you took a class with him.
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peonyblue
Posts
Joined: Nov 2010
Dude.  Michael's, like, my imaginary boyfriend.  Along with dan price and one of the guys from a podcast I listen to.  (Not art-related.)  :D

Seriously, though, finding this was timely for me.  I've been a little sad at some of the posts I've been seeing from some "big names" in the alternative art world, talking about how some folks' work looks just like theirs so it must be "stolen".  This post explains *why* that makes me all squicky and prickly.  (And, really?  You do collage with paint.  It's not all *that* unusual.  Just sayin'. LOL...)

(for the record: outright theivery = Not Cool.  But we all have the same inspirations; the internet has made the world's collective Mood Board a lot smaller.  Everybody's stuff will be different because it's by different hands, though, y'know?  Argh!
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orachel
Posts
Joined: Apr 2010
Love that message, Hollie! What a timely and well stated sentiment. And lucky lucky you for getting to take a class! I totally covet them but between the cost and the materials (which is where it always manages to add up for me) they're just a bit out of my reach right now. On my list of 'somedays', though! And cracking up over peonyblue's message. I agree 100%.
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Diane
Posts
Joined: Jul 2011
I've not heard of this artist before so thanks for sharing.  I loved that post.  Inspirational and also true.  It's alot of what we were taught in art school - I studied graphic design and art history and always love those lectures for the same reason I love this post!

I was fortunate enough to go to Italy with my hubby (he's an artist and we both are huge lovers of art history) recently and we had an amazing time especially in Florence.... wow!  So much amazing art and so much to learn and glean from the masters.

I find this so refreshing.  And exciting.
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peggyg
1 Posts
Joined: Apr 2011
I went to Oaxaca for Day of the Dead 2 years ago. I never appreciated the symbolism of shrines and skeletons combined with celebration of life. It was the best. I had taken several (6) workshops from him. Altered hot wheels, altered pez, 3 frame/color classes and rotating cube class. He is a wonderful, generous and helpful teacher. I would advise anyone to take any class from him.
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Artlegacy
Posts
Joined: Jul 2011
WOW!! Thank you so much for sharing his awesome words!!
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