Thursday, July 26, 2012

Perfect Hole Followup

For many years now, I have included at least one artist on our Antarctic research team. The argument for this practice was recently presented at the SCAR meeting in Portland, Oregon (see: Scientists should consider an artist when selecting field team members).

Sometimes these artists have a lot of prior experience  (e.g., Steve Alexander - scientist, diver, and photographer; Shawn Harper - diver, photographer; Henry Kaiser - diver, musician, and videographer), but in other cases they have less (e.g., visual artists Claire Beynon and Laura Von Rosk). Regardless of their level of lab or field training, artists always prove to be excellent team members who remain faithful advocates of the continent.

Nevertheless, I'm often a bit nervous taking visual artists to Antarctica. Their "style" (forgive my ignorance of art terminology) is celebrated by their audience, and I'm concerned that Antarctica will change them in ways that might "ruin them." Will their followers be turned off by their Antarctic-inspired work? Maybe this is a silly concern ...

Laura Von Rosk has spent the last six months producing a new series of paintings. I'm biting nails, hoping that her images are well received. Maybe I shouldn't have asked her to melt so many perfect dive holes ???


  1. Hi Sam ~

    You should never be concerned with this issue of an artist keeping their "style." With a mature artist, there is no choice; it's the equivanent of their handwriting and does not change with subject matter. Laura's new Antarctica paintings are as magical as her forest scapes! She obviously benefited greatly from being on the expedition and her paintings focus on a unique aspect of your team's "dive research work" that a photographer may have missed. Bravo to you both!

  2. Sam – you shouldn’t worry! The experience of Antarctica may bring about changes, but change is good. Besides - the “style" celebrated by an artist’s audience could possibly be a curse!

    A person’s reaction/response is their own, and if Antarctica is going to “ruin” them – then I would bet they were on shaky ground already… but there is a flip side to that - the possibility that the audience is just not ready for the change, but the artist is growing and feels compelled to explore their own new territory. They shouldn’t be held hostage to what the “audience” wants.

    I am so grateful I was able to experience a place I never thought I would see. The experience and the visual images in my mind have made a mark on me – DARN – I am CURSED!

    I hope there is a good response to my new work, but if not, it doesn’t matter. The measure of the work for me is how engaged I feel in it, AND - I’m not finished painting dive holes!

    Thank you again for a wonderful - AWESOME adventure on the ICE!

  3. PS: Thank you Cynthia for your comments above!

  4. Thank you Cynthia and Laura. It's just my nature to be concerned about such things ... but I try not to let those concerns get in the way. "No Expectations" is the best way to move forward with peace and dignity.

  5. Can you do anything green in the inside of your living space? Can you get an electric kettle and get your coffee in individual bags? More diversity, time saved, less mess, and faster with a kettle. It can be used for everything. From my understanding, they are faster than microwaves.