Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 8, No. 5, 2009
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Diane Gordon
Sylvain Richard
David Solway
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Artists
  Armand Vaillancourt
Les Cosgrove
Gustavo Sigal
Guy Benson
Eric Bertrand
Lyne Bastien
Kapal Harnal
Nguyen Tai
Magdalena Magiera
Charles Malinksy
Marc Fortier
Bernard Dubé
Remigio Valdes de Hoyos
Mylène Gervais
Christina Coleman
Laura Hollick
Louise Jalbert
Rosemary Scanlon
Manitoba Art
The Gambaroffs
Francine Hébert
Marcel Dubois
Ruben Cukier
Raka B. Saha
Purivs Young
William Kinnis & Dominique Tremblay
Gudrun Vera Hjartardottir
Gee's Bend Quilt Collective
Magie Dominic
Ryan McLelland
John Gordon
William Noguera
Manita Shine
Ken Matsumoto
Amy Bernays
Howard Finster
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

two must-read books and Wendy Beccaccini's critique of

Owen York

Editor's Intro
You’re clutching your hard earned BFA or MFA, you’re gifted, everyone agrees you’re motivated, dedicated and hard working. You’ve developed a strong portfolio and you’ve been told that you have what it takes to make a big splash in the art world. Congratulations! The problem is that you don’t quite know how to go about letting the who’s who of the art world know about your aspirations. Your problem is typical of most art students. “I had no sense of what graduate school would offer me, and was fumbling around trying to understand what an artist’s career path might be,” says Beverly Naidus in her book Arts for Change:Teaching Outside the Frame. But there are resources a novice artist can use to demystify the process.

Another resource, which should be required reading in art schools, is ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber. The book is a new publication( March 2009) and is jam packed with valid, useful information about everything from how to approach galleries to how to apply for grants. The writing is concise, easily accessible and comprehensive. The authors are not academics but rather people who are working in the art world with and for artists. The book covers a wide range of questions from gallery representation to legal agreements.

Prior to graduating in Fine Arts, I wish I had had consulted a book like ART/WORK because I could have avoided some major embarrassments and time consuming errors in judgment. As visual arts editor for Arts & Opinion, I don’t, as a rule, review books but I was so impressed by the quality of information and presentation of the two books mentioned above I felt it would be remiss if I didn’t bring these gems to the attention of my readers. Lydia Schrufer - Arts Editor



© Owen YorkThe Church of Scientology YouTube Channel’s new “Meet a Scientologist” videos attracted nearly 13,000 views in less than a week. One features an artist who tells how Scientology rekindled his creative spark.

When Scientologist Owen York, 31, says with a smile that he has been painting since he was born, he’s not joking. He says he actually can’t remember a time when he wasn’t painting.© Owen York

Raised in Chicago by parents who supported every childhood artistic whim of Owen and his twin brother Dan, he grew up painting, drawing, writing and playing piano and saxophone. By his high school years, he was focused on painting. Today he creates colourful abstracts of people and objects. He says he prefers acrylics because they dry fast and he likes to work fast.

© Owen YorkAs he puts it, “turning blobs of color and flat surfaces into things that people respond to” is a particular delight. “When people look at my painting and go ‘Wow!’ or ‘How much does that cost?’ or ‘Can you make me a poster of that?’ it’s really great. It’s totally fun for me to be able to do that.”

York is also quick to point out that if he hadn’t become a Scientologist he probably wouldn’t be painting at all. At the age of eight, he began having nightmares about death which, by his mid-teens, lead him to look for answers about himself and life. He says he knew there had to be more to life and that “somebody had to have figured out something.” He started studying “everything spiritual and metaphysical” that he could get his hands on. “I figured I would know it when I found it,” says Owen. © Owen York

In 1996 he enrolled in Chicago’s American Academy of Art where he rigorously studied the details of art media, methods and styles and at the same time learned about restrictions.

He came to value technical disciplines but notes that they can also become ‘limiters.’ “I became so indoctrinated into the ‘this is how it’s done’ requirements, that artistically I began to rely on those things rather than myself,” says York.

After graduating in 1998 with a degree in Illustration, York freelanced for a time but soon got to the point where he didn’t want to do it anymore. “I could go through the motions and be a very good rented pair of arms for an art director or somebody, but that ability to create an original piece out of the blue was gone. I’d lost my artistic spark.” York had come to a point of being mad at life and “just annoyed at everything,” he says. “I was actually confused and frustrated as I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do with my career or life.”

© Owen YorkThat all changed when he visited the Chicago Church of Scientology with his brother. They took an introductory course and for York’s many questions he found a lot of answers that made sense. One of the most startling changes he experienced came while learning the essentials of integrity. “Honesty is an important part of integrity, but it’s even more fundamental than that. It has to do with who you really are, and if you’re not being that, what are you?” says York. “That can just kill an artist.”

“Scientology is about the spiritual nature of man, and that includes artists,” York laughs. “We sometimes get pushed around, pounded, ignored, but if you understand what’s back of that and are true to your own integrity, you can take the sting out of it and life becomes a very beautiful thing.”

The Founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, was an artist in many fields, including writing, photography and cinematography, and wrote extensively on the arts. In his 1973 essay “Art, More About” he stated: “Works of art are viewed by people. They are heard by people. They are felt by people. They are not just the fodder of a close-knit group of initiates. They are the soul food of all people.”

© Owen York

Art works © Owen York



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