Paper Stacks: Origins of Raw Art Journaling

Journals, hand-made and purchased, from my studio.© Quinn McDonald

Over at Altered Pages, Seth Apter had a great idea: On September 21, 2011, post your stack of journals, handmade journals, artwork–whatever you stack up in your studio. An inveterate piler, I loved this idea. Things filed neatly away disappear from my memory, but a good stack of journals and papers is a searchable treasure. Check his website today for a list of links to participating artists and their stacks.

In my stack (above, a fraction of what’s in the studio), is a copy of my book, Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art. I included it because it had its origins in stacks of work. And so did the name. Raw art is the work you do with your hands and heart. It might be outsider art, if you consider Jean Dubuffet’s definition of outsider art: “Dubuffet’s concept of Art Brut. . . was of works that were in their “raw” state, uncooked by cultural and artistic influences.” When we make art that delights us and helps us understand our lives, our journey, ourselves in our culture–that art is raw art. Full of raw emotion, alive with raw meaning. It is not art made to suit an audience, it is not perfection assembled from a kit. It is made with emotion, wonder and discovery.

After years of teaching collage, art journaling, card making, I had stacks of work

Same stack, different angle.

in the studio. Sifting through it, I found small treasures, pieces of experiments, scraps of memory that I could feel over again, pieces that were precious to me because they represented a flash of understanding of who I am and what I was called to do. The beginning of raw art is discovery, the middle is understanding. There is no end.

Please join me at Antigone Books,  411 N. 4th Ave. in Tucson at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 23rd for an informal talk, making a permission slip and book signing. Bring your colored pencils and questions about Raw Art.

–Quinn McDonald hopes to see you at Antigone books on Friday evening.