One aspect of art that feels like an ‘ace up the sleeve’ is the fact that it is truly a lifetime activity.
While many pursuits are curtailed with the vagaries of age, the desire and ability to bring ideas into physical form can remain undaunted despite advancing years (e.g. Louise Bourgeois, Mary Delany, David Hockney, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe) and even disability (Chuck Close, Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse).
For inspiration on the subject, check out Paul Stankard’s op/ed “Artistic Risk and the Ticking Clock” from the latest issue of American Craft, in which he discusses the scary prospect of leaving his successful comfort zone for new horizons in his work. It is a wonderful testament to the longevity of artistic growth and the strength of the creative flame.
Last February I recommended Stankard’s book Studio Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art Making. As in that book, this latest essay maintains the same unflinching acceptance of reality while accentuating Stankard’s propensity for mentorship as he reaches to pull others up alongside himself, encouraging an unflagging drive for achievement via the pushing of boundaries.
A quick search on the subject of the resilience of creativity into elder years unearthed this NPR interview with Nicholas Delbanco discussing his book Lastingness: The Creative Art of Growing Old which “examines artists who either maintained or advanced their work past the age of 70”. Despite the somewhat mixed reviews, I’m looking forward to borrowing a copy from my library.
I have encountered numerous individuals whose creativity bolstered them in their later years, and I bet you have as well. It makes the future look bright, don’t you think?
On a Different Note______________________________________________________________________________
For a special treat, add the Shelburne Museum’s current exhibit Sweet Tooth: The Art of Dessert to your list of shows to see this winter. Clever and enticing, it’s a calorie-free confection that will leave you smiling. It remains on view through February 18, 2018.