Growing up in a very musical family, I’ve always been curious about musicians and creative people of all artistic genres. For this Q+A, I interviewed Marilyn Lightstone, one of the most expressive, intellectual, and creative people I’ve met.
Q: You’re known to The New Classical FM listeners as the host of Nocturne, heard seven night a week at 11 PM. You’re also a prolific actress, composer, and visual artist. And now, an iPad painter. When I think of using my iPad, it’s usually for social media, some emailing, or Googling – basic stuff. You’re painting on it? How does that work?
A: Working on an iPad is really just another visual art medium. You’re a musician Liz, and you know that composers, performers – heck, everyone in the music industry – can now use digital media (ie computers of one form or another) to create music; anything from rap to symphonies. The same principles apply to visual art, which, for some reason, seems to be difficult for folks to understand. When the word “processor” was invented, no one ever thought that the device was actually responsible for writing a book, yet somehow a lot of people assume that the computer, or iPad, or whatever, actually creates the work, but that’s not at all the case. It’s simply a new (actually, not so new) tool.
That said, though a very great many commercial artists have been working in this medium for years, I realize that it takes time for the general public to accept it as legitimate. It wasn’t that many years ago that it was very difficult for photography to be accepted as ‘Art.’ How could it be ‘Art’, people thought, when you used a mechanical device (a camera!) to produce it? Happily, that attitude has changed, as have so many ideas about what art ‘is’ and how artists create. If my words aren’t adequately getting across what I hope to convey, I hope our listeners/readers/viewers will visit the gallery and take a look. I’ll be there on both weekends, 2-5, during the run of the show, and will happily answer questions.
Q: I’m always curious about the motivation behind creating an exhibit. Did you come up with a concept first, or did you create a series of images that suited the theme ‘Good Morning, World!’?
A: I’ve used ‘Good Morning, World!’ as the title for the show because that is how they were first shown to the world on Facebook. It’s the title under which I have done a daily post each morning of one of my paintings or photographs for several years. It is also because of the meaning: Wake up! Take a look! Have another go. Put your best foot forward; it’s a new day, after all!
The images themselves were created in something of a spirit of meditation. (I hope that doesn’t sound ridiculously pretentious!) I made a decision that I would predetermine as little as possible when beginning each piece; my hope being that I could bypass my conscious mind and just see what would happen.
What does each piece mean? I don’t know, though I’m hoping that anyone who sees the canvases will determine how the piece speaks to them personally. It’s pure abstract expressionism! For this reason, I wasn’t originally planning to give names to these pieces, but when it finally came to preparing for the exhibit, I found that I had a hard time in just assigning them numbers, 1-36. It was way too cold for images that I hope will delight and entertain. So, I gave them names which are meaningful to me on a poetic level, though alternates are more than welcome.
Just in case the notion of iPad art is an absolutely new thing for anyone, let me assure them that the viewer is not required to see them on an iPad. The images (two thirds are 36’’ x 27’’ while the other third are 27’’x 36’’) are all printed on canvas using archival inks and stretched on 2” frames.
As to the question ‘why I decided to have an exhibit?’ I’m a professional communicator, and have been for all my working life. Whatever I do/produce is intended to be shared by others, whatever the medium.
Q: When you’re not in the mood to create something, but you have a deadline, what is your best method to get into that headspace?
A: I don’t really have ‘a method’. I just begin.
Q: Some of the images are whimsical prints, others a combination of graphics, and other features messages, written in twists and turns. There’s so much movement in your work, I wonder if you listen to music as you create. If so, what kinds of music?
A: No. I generally work in silence. As I said earlier, my iPad art is a form of meditation, though I will confess to listening to music in my acrylic painting days. I have no doubt that many forms of music might be helpful to an artist. I seem to remember a personal preference for ‘The Great American Songbook.’
Marilyn Lightstone’s ‘Good Morning, World!’ shows February 13 – 25 at Art Hub Gallery, 336 Dundas Street, Toronto, directly across from the AGO.
For more about Marilyn Lightstone, please visit: