Vincent's Yellow

a[n] [auto]biography and a love story.

Artistic Inspiration, Letters, and Journeys

So firstly, I wanted to share this little darling. I simply love artistic responses to Vincent, but particularly when they are well done. A few days ago I stumbled across a blog of a yarn dyer extraordinaire (all done by hand!), who also made this  – which made me smile quite warmly, I might add:

If only I knitted, then I’d make myself some kind of blanket or something and get as close as possible to wrapping myself up in a canvas of his. Sigh. Someday. (The blanket, not the canvas!)

Next up, I highly HIGHLY recommend looking at the Van Gogh Museum’s new website of Vincent’s letters! They’re doing a huge exhibition of the letters that just opened in Amsterdam (I guess I went at the wrong time, and yes, I’m already quietly calculating how I could possibly swing getting there before it closes), and it all sounds pretty amazing.

The website in particular is fantastic because it holds ALL the information of the newly published, fully annotated, fully illustrated(!), and corrected six-volume edition of his complete letters (15 years in the making), that right now costs 325 euros… but online, it’s free! My favorite quote from the Guardian article reviewing the exhibition: “There is no catalogue for the show. Instead, several sets of the six massive volumes – I carried one back from Amsterdam, and was glad my hand luggage wasn’t weighed – are laid out on tables on every floor in the exhibition. I watched one elderly couple, and a goth-ish teenager, sit side by side reading companionably for an hour.” Awww. Anyhow, it’s a big shift for me, obviously, because a lot of my research is based on his letters.

In fact, the more immediate issue for me is my quotes project. On both twitter and facebook, I have been putting up daily quotes from Vincent’s letters, matching the date as closely as I can. It has been an enormous project, requiring a lot of energy and focus from me every day. I always try to chose quotes that express something unique about Vincent, while trying to balance the outcome (not too many depressing quotes in a row), and while not being repetitive. I started at the end of June, and will continue for one year. Of course, feel free to follow and/or friend him (both accounts function as Vincent) — especially on facebook, interesting things have been happening there with people who comment on the quotes and also interact with each other. People seem to have a lot to say to Vincent.

For me, it has also created an interesting journey. Vincent is in my life everyday – be it Sunday or Thursday, be  it an early morning or recovery from a late night. I always try to post the quotes around mid-day, central standard time, and it’s become a quiet mission, a long journey for me. I also am really enjoying slowly progressing with Vincent throughout the years, understanding what October 8th was for him in 1876, 1882, 1889… And feeling the oncoming events. Anticipation.

Gauguin is coming soon, for instance, at the end of October 1888, and that will only last nine weeks before utter disaster strikes. In October 1883, Vincent just left his long-time significant other Sien, the prostitute with whom he lived for some time. He left because it was impossible, and went far North into the Netherlands. I know that by December, he will give up on living in Drenthe. He will be too lonely, or perhaps to broke to go it alone. I can already see his emotions slide. After that, he moves in with his parents in Nuenen.

It is almost more real to progress with him in this way, for it to be autumn for him and for me, and to anticipate the coming winter with yes, a little dread. I started the quotes project to reveal to others the beauty of his words, and the cogency of his mind – to spread his influence. But it has had more of an effect on me than I anticipated.

Today’s quote:

“We have an absolutely merciless mistral, but I must hold myself in readiness, the work is done in short intervals. So that everything must be prepared and ready for the attack.”
–8 Oct 1888 to Theo

Yes. Sometimes, my love, it is a battle.

Thu, October 8 2009 » Artists Inspired by Vincent, Personal, Popular Culture, Research

One Response

  1. Judy Veramendi October 8 2009 @ 13:38

    Just lovely!

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