“Art is the sex of imagination.”
The George Jean Nathan quote: “Art is the sex of imagination.” appears in my graphic novel, Death Writes: A Curious Notebook. Why? Because it’s arresting, enigmatic and cool. What does it mean? Hmm…that’s a tough one. What I know is I use my art and my imagination to tackle the hard questions. Death Writes is the world according to Death. Death’s point of view, Death’s words and Death’s doodles. Not to mention Death’s notices – clippings stuffed into the back of the notebook. This Curious Notebook rewrites the culture of death as we know it.
I love lightning but generally opt for light in the form of knowledge. As a writer and a painter I thrive on the connection between curiosity, research and creation. ‘Understand to create an understanding’ is how I think of it. I’ve included a photo of my books to make a point about each one being completely different in subject, time and place and consequently, requiring extensive research. In my line of work I get to sate my curiosity and to learn. Those aforementioned books are not set in any place I’ve lived: I don’t want reality to get in the way of imagination. I don’t want to be tied down by a known world. “Light: or, failing that, lightning: the world can take its choice. – Thomas Carlyle”
By way of example, two kinds of light:
Prehistoric cave art and the Spanish Civil War: the subject of my next novel, “The Primitives.” One of my characters is modelled on the Canadian poet and artist, P. K. Page. She is in northern Spain documenting newly discovered Palaeolithic cave art before it is destroyed by the war. Here are some of the paintings she subsequently made from her sketches. In my mind, anyway.
I hope to recreate my character’s sketchbook as a visual addition to the novel. I have a passion for prehistoric cave art and my paintings here are an humble attempt to touch the creative magic of our ancestors. See darlenequaife.com/gallery for more original art
To quote the prolific British writer, Christopher Fowler, “Originality has a tendency to decrease one’s popularity.” What passes in our world as originality is mere novelty. And if Fowler is right in his observation, those truly original thinkers, writers and artists could be lost to us. Overwhelmed by the “sound and fury” of a distracted culture “signifying nothing.”