Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale That Society Has the Capacity to Destroy.
When seen as a whole, art derives from a person’s desire to communicate himself to another. I do not believe in an art which is not forced into existence by a human being’s desire to open his heart. All art, literature and music must be born in your heart’s blood.” –
Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly? Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination.
The Moon and Sixpence, 1919 (Chapter XIX, spoken by the character Dirk Stroeve)
To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts — such is the duty of the artist.
Art is pictures straight from the heart.
Art is not a thing; it is a way.
Any great work of art… revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world — the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air.
What Makes Opera Grand?
All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.
The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.
(Letter to Theo van Gogh, Arles, c. 17 September 1888)
I’m not really a career person; I’m a gardener, basically.
Ok, first you might be wondering…isn’t this the same Wolfram guy who founded the first Certified Farmers’ Markets in California, a leader in the horticultural therapy movement, and is a firebrand in the food and nutrition field? Well yes, but I have more than one act as they say.
Surviving and thriving in the social sector for nearly four decades requires some creative thinking and restorative practices that sustain you and prevent burn-out. For me, that is my art.
While I am a life-long student and practitioner of art, I am primarily self-taught (but grateful for all the important influences in my life) and remain a primitive artist by some standards. To be clear, I use the term “primitive” in the sense that I strive to stay centered in my authentic being, my personal mythology, my connections to the earth, to find inspiration for my work. I also happen to have more neanderthal genes than 70% of the population, according to my DNA analysis. Neanderthals might have been the earliest known artists. This artist-being is a dedicated member of the tribe of humans who care deeply for the planet and for social justice. No matter how fantastic or imaginative my artistic visions may be, they are rooted in the same place where my passion for social and environmental justice comes from… a place that is primal in my spirit and nature.
Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.
-Chinua Achebe, Hopes and Impediments
Early in life, an art teacher told me I couldn’t paint the sky purple, so I developed a resistance to becoming more “cultivated.” Although I have been making art since I was a child, I came out as an Artist (with a capital “A”) publicly when I was 30 years old and working with Cuban refugees. When my Grandmother Winifred passed in December 1986, her spirit communicated to me in a powerful way that I am an Artist. Thankfully, I happened to be working with a world-class artist at the time, Leonardo Ibanez, and he encouraged me to flourish and shared my “junk yard dog” attitude toward materials. Watching an artist like Leonardo work is liberating – and you see that, despite his considerable education and advanced experience with art and art techniques, he approaches every new work like a child who knows no limits and disobeys “the authorities” with glee.
“Make your life a work of art.” -Sheila Rubin
My circle of influential and supportive artist friends also includes artists such as Solomon Huerta, Yolanda Gonzalez, Dolores Carlos and Rude Calderon. Early in life, I was fortunate to spend some time with Calvin Douglas, a member of the Spiral Arts Alliance, among other New York artists that were close to my mother. I’m also grateful to have taken a neon course with the great Neon Artist and Light Worker, Lili Lakich, and was blessed to exhibit my work in one of her shows. The term “self-taught” is clearly inadequate when I factor in how important these artists have been as friends and mentors. Knowing a few real-live artists helps one to imagine a life as an artist – to believe it is possible. I encourage you all to believe it is possible!
“Becoming an artist does not always begin with formal lessons or study in an an academic setting. For many self-taught art artists, following their impulse to create is the unintended first step towards a life-altering passion.”
– Oakland Museum of California (at an exhibit of Roy De Forest‘s work)
Running wild through Michigan woods and having a garbage dump next door had major influences on how I think about materials, both natural and unnatural. My art mentality and focus lives somewhere between the woods, the junkyard, and my personal mythology – an insider/outsider artist. My mother was a writer, an artist and poet—her art and inner light resonate through my life and creative works. She wrote about moonshine, getting on the love bus, and life as it is. A dominant theme in her writing, which I carry forward in my own work, is “Moments of Magic, Places of Rescue.” An influence for both of us was the poet and artist Kenneth Patchen and his “picture poems.” Alexander Calder is a also an influence, especially “Calder’s Circus.” Another artist I find tremendous inspiration in is Paul Klee, especially his hand puppets. Roy De Forest, who lived and worked here in the San Francisco Bay Area, is another favorite. These artists inspire me by blurring the lines between poetry and visual art with kinetic expressions that jump into your heart and soul.
“Imagination is the precursor to policy, the precondition to action. Imagination, like wonder, allows us to value something.”
I have served as curator and lead artist in several public exhibitions. I also developed two major art therapy and rehabilitation programs in the Los Angeles area, one for Cuban refugees and the other for severely abused children. My art and creative imagination have always existed in relationship to my life-long social change career, and have intersected in powerful ways with the populations and the communities I have served – at the intersection of human and environmental health.
Wolfram and I founded MA Art Space together and we produced an exhibit at Self-Help Graphics in East Los Angeles called “Schizophrenia”. I have watched in awe how Wolfram has integrated his lifelong career in social and environmental change into his art… working with Cuban refugees and severely abused children. Wolfram’s illuminated sculptures are altar-like and dig deep into his personal mythology that brings powerful archetypes and stories of love and transformation to light. His latest work expresses themes from his science-fiction epic “Pupazzo Universo” and takes you on a journey of love intergalactic. His work delights your eyes, opens your heart, and blows your mind. There is a mystical quality to his works of Art. We are transformed to a time that takes you back to cavemen and at the same time elevates you to the future. The vision that Wolfram has is inspiring and overwhelmingly impressive. It’s as though a shaman comes through and Wolfram steps aside and allows the mastery of magic and shamanism take the lead. I am so grateful to know and call Wolfram a Friend and Art Peer. Wolfram Alderson is beyond his time. Welcome the genius and enjoy the healing and essence of pure raw Artistic Expression!
“Wolfram and I became colleagues and friends working in a program for Cuban Refugees with multiple diagnoses funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. We developed an amazing art therapy program and both Wolfram and I made art along with our clients, and exhibited the work in public art exhibits along with other artists in the community. Wolfram embraced my own work because he has a strong social conscience and desire for his art to mean more than artifice, to be force for social and cultural impact, to push the boundaries of materials, to celebrate the refuge and refugee in all of us, and to reflect struggle and transformation. His new “Pupazzo Universo” series, featuring illuminated sculpture paintings, is emblematic of his past work, but take on a whole new dimension of love on an intergalactic scale. Despite the lack of moving parts, his work is kinetic, inviting you to engage in a new mythology and explore a universe where love wins on an epic scale.”
From the point of view of one who creates, everything is a gamble, a leap into the unknown.