How would you define personal transformation? Fundamental change? Enlightenment? Increased understanding of self? A new direction? All of the above? Last week I attended a workshop at John Paul Caponigro's studio in Cushing ME. It was a gathering of JP's alumni group called Next Step. As the newest member in attendance I really didn't know what to expect. I had meet many of the members online through Facebook and our Yahoo Group. It's amazing how well we can get to know someone through an online experience. The group was also there to attend an opening for their work at the Maine Media Workshops. This was a project all had been working on for almost 2 years, and included generation of a body of work, an artist statement, a book, a website, and 2 framed pieces sent to the show.
Through 5 days of discussion, review of work, creative exercises, and plenty of Q&A with JP, I learned a lot about my work, where I was with respect to my growth as an artist, the areas I need to work in, and the questions I need to constantly ask myself so that I can be effective in attaining my goals. My BIG suggestion to all of you who are reaching out to grow and progress in any endeavor - find a group, find a mentor, find resources, find support. There is power in the collective thoughts of like minded people. Ideas, encouragement, constructive criticism, advice, etc., etc. The most profound aspect is the power of your own contributions to your group, by contributing you get more. It's the universal law of giving and receiving, the more you give, the more you receive.
One of the highlights of the week was a visit to the home and studio of Paul Caponigro (JPs dad). Paul lives deep in the woods in an ideal creative environment. Paul presented to us several of his original prints included in his Megaliths monograph. It was an amazing experience. We watched in anticipation as each print was pulled from boxes of archived prints. And then we received the full explanation of when, where, and why each image was taken. Paul is deeply connected spiritually to his work. I gained a new appreciation and insight to this dimension of art...the relation of the work to the artist. Typically this is the part that I begin to glaze over. For the first time I began to see how fundamental and important this connection is.