Thursday, May 22, 2008

Andy Goldsworthy: Mother Nature's Street Artist

About 15 years ago I was flipping through some photo books in a small book store in Philadelphia when I saw a photo that stopped me in my tracks. It was a gorgeous sculpture made of stream stones built out in a wooded area of Scotland, the artist/photographer,genius who made this piece was a man named Andy Goldsworthy. In the following years I kept an eye on him, bought some books of photos of his work, and marvelled at what he was able and willing to create. What do I mean by willing to create? Well-- the thing is, Andy does his thing in nature, made of natural objects and without the goal of permanence. He makes a record of it with his camera, as do other friends and admirers, but the pieces themselves are painstakingly created to live a very short and glorious life. It surprises me every time I really think of it. I have known so many artists that want to create something that will last, something to be remembered by, something more permanent.

I enjoy the freedom of just using my hands and "found" tools--a sharp stone, the quill of a feather, thorns. I take the opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches. I stop at a place or pick up a material because I feel that there is something to be discovered. Here is where I can learn...I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather. Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature. -Andy Goldsworthy
I think this is one of the reasons I like today's street-art as well. In fact, Banksy and the rest are the Andy Goldsworthys of the Urban environment, just as Andy is kind of a street artist out in the highways and byways of mother nature. (rowan leaves and a hole)
Andy's work has stayed with me-- I often can see his images in my head when taking a walk in the park, or when the seasons change. His mind is a rare and beautiful one. Read more and see more in "Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature"