Those who left sketchbooks

I’ve recently been looking at the way artists document their practice. How they acknowledge their inner conversations, but also just to understand that “sketching”, and figuring things out is normal. I have decided to share a couple below:

Keith Haring’s Journal; 1971 – 1989

With such an iconic, striking, and unique style, I wanted to put Keith Haring’s journal entries first in this blog, his use of social activism, in a stylised and eye-catching way, his work shows part of a new era of pop-art/graffiti. I think his journal’s make it all the more interesting, because as some would expect there to be sketches, drawings, and practice-pieces, there are in actual fact just writing, and daily memoirs. Even such minimalists details are appealing and say a huge deal about how he worked as an artist.

There is so much to unpack with his diaries, there are hundreds of pages, and a lot of context, the books establish at the age of 12 upwards till his 30s.

Janice Lowry’s Journal (93):

A beautiful artifact of musings, emotions, art, meditations, grief and gratitude, Janice Lowry’s journal is an art form in itself. The kind of sketchbook you wished you had as an art/photography student. Something that looked professionally scruffy, well worked through, and included the contents of your life. Not only all of this beauty, but Lowry has curated a historical artefact, where she discussed all of her fears from the 9/11, in this diary, and how she felt during this time. – god I wish I thought about it sooner (Covid n’ all).

I just love this idea of documenting your work, but also going through your own thoughts on top of this. A private/public artefact and additional piece of art.

12th July 2001 – 3rd December.

Jack Whitten: Notes from the woodshed:

Finally, Whitten’s ‘Notes From the Woodshed’ has become a published piece of work. A phenomenal chunk of writings, and explorations behind his paintings. Although not as impactful as the handwritten journal entries, and the journals themselves, the impact with this publication comes from much of the extensiveness, and size of the book. The book is a gathering of different muses throughout his practice, and placed into a beautifully designed book. To see artists words from 1939, is astonishing in itself.

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