Learning from the Masters

Some important lessons I have learnt in choreography class from the masters of American modern dance:

Everything has already been done before.  We learn by copying, especially with dance, one body mimicking the other.  But the true artist takes what has come before, puts her spin on things.  And that then becomes, original, new, fresh.

DSC04924 photo credit- TY Choo

As an artist, the need to create is innate.  I wake up, I need to make something.  Obsessive compulsive perhaps- but most of us think of this as daily practice.  Ask Leslie how many hours a day he practises his cello even now, especially now- and you’d understand discipline and need are the core of who we are.  We also take great pride in being, authentically ourselves.

1147957_10151890008341660_658822171_n photo belongs to Leslie Tan

Last fall, I saw Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat.  My teacher asked us why she painstakingly re-created Seurat’s Bridge at Courbevoie.  I replied- It was her way of learning.

IMG_1021 (Note- A different Seurat piece.)

Oh, my door ornamentation for Christmas?  Like I said in a previous post- I had seen something similar in a magazine.  I wanted to try it, with my own perspective.  So unlike the original image, I added eucalyptus, dried fruit, lavender, twine.


Today, I saw on Instagram, an image very familiar to me.  When I clicked on the image, I realised it was familiar because the image belongs to me, I took that picture.  It can be found on this (my) blog.  I read the comments that accompanied the image.  Everything was simply lifted from the same blog post.  There was an attempt at re-arranging my words (GROAN).

I naively thought that the reader who re-posted both my image and words enjoyed the post so much, and was “sharing”.  But, there was no credit given whatsoever.

I am at the moment, shocked.  I have not yet put in writing on this blog that everything about it, its contents, belong to me.  While I am accepting that a blog exists on a public space, I trust the reader.  I don’t quite understand why anyone would bother downloading images, quoting/misquoting me sans credit.  Why bother being so, unoriginal, and rude?

The objectives of this blog remain- I am keeping time, in the company of my friends, and my little dog.  Sometimes I write about fashion/style, sometimes I write about art.  Through style and art, we then look at the issues that Generation X at midlife, are confronting.  The blog is not a vehicle for negativity nor hurt.  Some things we talk about, are difficult.  But at all times, I like to think the writing and the voice offered is one of sensitivity and respect.  The guests on my blog trust me with their stories, the reader, his/her time.  I am not flippant with this trust.  Hence I trust the reader to be as respectful of this space.

If there is something on this blog that moves you, and that you must have, please would you just ask me directly for permission to quote or repost?  I am neither possessive, nor selfish about images nor content.  But I appreciate clarity and credit awarded accordingly.  I like to think of the blog as where I used to work- in the studio, or on stage.

307146_10150309363898105_1358104545_n photo credit- Ethos Books

Both sites for me, were places of gathering and respect.

  •  Bridget Riley:  Learning from Seurat, September 17 2015- January 17 2016, The Courtauld Institute of Art


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