Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Book Review

OK... I don't usually do book reviews, mostly because (Sad and ashamed, I admit) I don't really read a lot anymore. I used to LOVE to read, it was one of my favorite past times. Then, I went to college, and all that changed. I was enrolled in a lot of honors classes, and the amount of reading I had to do -- really just put me off reading. I still read my Harry Potter books, of course, and every once in a while, my hubby (who is an AVID reader) will read a book that he knows I'll enjoy, and he makes me read the first chapter or two, and usually after I've read the first few pages, I'm hooked on the book enough that I'll finish reading it.

But, for the most part, I don't buy books. The only books I've really purchased in the last couple of years (except books for my husband or kids) are Harry Potter books, plus I did buy myself the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy triology book (which remains, to this day, unread!) and -- I would guess, not surprisingly -- art books. But in truth, I don't actually READ the art books so much as look to them as some excellent eye candy. Sure, I might read a few pages here and there, but mostly, I'm skimming through it, looking for something that catches my eye, and of course, drooling over the fab artwork and gleaning from it inspiration for my own work.

Well, this book review falls into the art book category, and when I had heard about the pre-order information about the book, I KNEW I had to get on the list... it was, after all, by my favorite living artist, Michael deMeng.

I've not finished reading this book yet, so I'm not sure that I'm at all qualified to write a book review on it, but then, as I'm not a book critic, I don't know that I'm at all qualified to write anything other than a novice book review as it is, and as I am a novice, I suppose I can write a book review that I'm not completely prepared to write.

This past week has been a rather unusual one for me, as I have been homeschooling my oldest daughter, who is a freshman in high school, and it was her last week in school. I've been working with and coordinating with her school instructors to facilitate her instruction at home, but her final tests and projects needed to be submitted in person at school. So, much of my time this past week was spent at her school, waiting for her to take her tests or complete her assignments. So I brought this book along with me to read while I waited. I don't know if that was a good idea, and here's why: The book had me laughing, at some points hysterically, and I became a distraction!

How embarrassing.

Michael deMeng has a sense of humor with which I really identify. Rather than reading a book, I feel like I was talking with Michael and he was telling me some humorous stories. These stories are of his artistic process, which remind me much of my own processes as an artist, and how he obtained some of his unique found objects, which remind me of my own shopping experiences! (perhaps the only real difference between his stories an my own in found object shopping is that I have to explain to my husband why I need that old vinyl record, or pile of odd earrings, or stack of pictures of people I don't know.)

This is not a how-to book. If you want one of those, there are numerous how-to books on the market. This is the book that the experienced artist can relate to, because it is the journal of an artist and his insights, or... perhaps more accurately, it is the journal of his artwork, the story behind the artwork and the found objects that have formed the artwork.

I highly recommend this book to all who wish to see artwork from the artist's perspective. It is a very entertaining and enjoyable read.

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