Thursday, January 21, 2016

OLD, Haines and Yaggy quote

This is an excerpt from the paper I will present next week in Louisville, KY at the conference of the Southern Humanities Council. I think it's a great quote for any type of appropriation artistry:

In the preface to the popular 19th Century book entitled "The Royal Path of Life", Haines and Yaggy (1881) humbly write:

"To say anything strictly new would be impossible; nor would we presume
that our knowledge and experience would be as valuable as the maxims of
the wise and the sublime truths which have become a part of the standard
literature. The best, therefore, that any one can expect to do is to recombine
the experience of the past, and compile such thoughts and extracts as have
chimed in with the testimony of earnest and aspiring minds, and offer them
in a novel and fascinating form." (p. iii)

The authors further cite an anonymous poet: "We have gathered the posies of other men's flowers, Nothing but the thread that binds them is ours".

These words -- written over 125 years ago -- seem as relevant today as they did then. But I do not want them to be perceived as depressing or discouraging. That is, even though I use the images of others as elements in my collages, I remain hopeful that I create compositions that are personally unique and aesthetically pleasing.  Likewise, even though the raw materials may originate from so many others before us others, we ultimately retain the opportunity to use our collective threads to create a beautifully unique tapestry.

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