The Making of an Artist: Desire, Courage and Commitment, Kristin Congdon, Spring 2018
On a bitterly cold day in February of 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Krisitin Congdon at the Iowa State Museum in Des Moines, Iowa. She was accompanied by Teresa Hollingsworth, my friend and co-curator of the show on view at the museum, The Sum of Many Parts, after it’s year-long tour throughout China. The exhibit had taken Teresa and me, along with four others, to Shanghai only a year earlier. Teresa had mentioned my work to author Kristin Congdon, who later chose me, along with 3 other artists, for ethnographic chapters in her book, The Making of An Artist: Desire, Courage, and Commitment. My chapter is featured as part of Congdon’s exploration of commitment as it plays out in the lives of various artists, and is based on her in-depth interview with me in my Iowa City studio.
The book is a delightful and informative read. It gave me welcome insight into the personal lives and struggles of some of my favorite artists. Congdon’s book transformed many of the quirks I’d formerly considered liabilities into what I now understand as assets. The book helped reveal my very nature as an artist, and clarify traits I share with many other artists who have gone before me, and whose work inspires me. I highly encourage any aspiring artists, or anyone interested in the lives of artists, to read the book. I wish I’d had the luxury of reading it as an art student in the early 1990’s at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.