Knot Garden

Knot Garden, drawing, ©1996

Although this is off-topic I must post about the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in a long while. The curator of a museum found me via this blog a little bit ago and made a comment, letting me know that my former teacher, artist and educator Garo Antreasian, the first master printer of Tamarind Lithography Workshop (in Los Angeles) and first technical director of Tamarind Institute (Albuquerque), had donated four of my lithographs to his museum collection.  While that is wonderful, it’s not the most wonderful part. I just got off the phone with Garo, as I called to thank him. It has been at least thirty years since I’ve spoken with him, and this was an incredibly special gift to me. When he asked what I was up to and I explained the book, he was, as always, immediately supportive and understanding that this as an extension of my work as an artist, not something I should not be doing, as some have suggested, or should not be publishing in this way… As he always did when visiting my studio in graduate school, he encouraged me to keep doing whatever I wanted, to follow my own heart. Back then he had suggested that I bring my whole studio into the museum and work live as performance/installation, letting people see my process and watch how I sort through all the piles of ephemera that I typically gather around me with which to make works of art. At the time I didn’t do it, but I reminded him about his suggestion and noted that artists do that kind of thing frequently these days. He laughed and said, “Maybe you still should!” Today he said, “People don’t understand that some of us are driven that way (from our hearts) and we must follow our own direction…” He bet that I already had an idea for my next book, and encouraged me regarding all my work to, “Keep doing it, kiddo!” This is a sign I must make to hang where I will frequently see it so as to never be discouraged amid all that I continually try to balance. After our talk, through my tears, I tried to recall and tell my husband all that he had said. Now I must write it here (because I can!). What a great thought for the new year! Thank you, Garo, my teacher, the mentor after whom I try to model my own teaching. Thank you for the vote of confidence, once again, after all these years. All blessings on you, 90 years old and still working, still exhibiting, still so vital and present! I am eternally grateful for having been fortunate enough to have been your student!

Here is a YouTube video of Garo Antreasian speaking about the early days of printmaking in America at Tamarind’s 50th Anniversary in 2010. (Jim Dine’s even in the audience…) This is a talk that needs to be published. Let’s hope.

Happy 2012 to Garo and to All of You! May we all keep doing our own “it!”

©2011 Janet Maher/Sinéad Ní Mheachair

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