We challenged America to submit to be the IMA’s next top blogger and America answered. Over the course of the next month, we’ll post the finalists in the IMA’s “So You Think You Can Blog” contest. After we’ve posted all five entries, we’ll let our blog readers vote for the winner. This week: Meet Jenni Clarkson.
You ask me,”Are you a blogger?” My response is, “Not yet.” My name is Jenni Clarkson, and I would like to be the next IMA blogger. I’m 37 years old and live on the west side of Indianapolis, not far from IMA. My Bachelor of Arts degree was initially just supposed to be in English, but I wound up with a double major in English and Art because I couldn’t stop taking art classes. My current day job is as Assistant Managing Editor of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. It’s a good gig for someone with an English major, but it’s not the most creative place for me. That’s why I decided a couple of years ago to start taking some art classes again. My hobbies include reading and writing (but certainly not arithmetic), as well as creating art, looking at art, and talking art with anyone who is willing. I should be the next IMA blogger because I love art, and I am enthusiastic about sharing that love.
You’ll find a sample ‘story’ below.
No, this isn’t about apocalyptic fiction or even about the time my parents went home for Sunday dinner without realizing I was still at the church; it’s about my being so mesmerized by one IMA exhibit that my tour group left me there—and it’s also about the legacy that Edward Hopper left behind as displayed in that mesmerizing exhibit, Edward Hopper: Paper to Paint.
I was taking my first art class in many years, after a lengthy hiatus from both academia and art. The class was an applied art class in fundamentals of design, and so the students’ interests were varied. Before making a field trip to IMA, our professor asked us about our favorite artists. I mentioned Edward Hopper, a favorite of mine for many years. The professor asked if I was aware that IMA was hosting a special Hopper exhibit, Paper to Paint. I had no idea, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see it.
When we arrived at the museum, I stayed dutifully with the class looking at the decorative arts and listening to the professor tell the group about Art Nouveau. All the while, I was biding my time, delaying gratification, waiting to see Hopper. When we finally reached the special exhibit, I could hardly contain myself. There were his sketches; there, before my eyes, was Hopper’s creative process laid bare. Sketch after sketch, each were somehow similar yet divergent, and all were from Hopper’s pen. I’ve read a few graphic novels over the last few years, and I enjoy finding the story in the pictures. Here was a story in pictures like nothing I had ever seen before. Here was Hopper’s struggle to tell a story, draft after draft hanging on the walls. Here was the story of how Hotel Lobby came to be. And I was surprisingly comforted. If Hopper, my artistic hero, could go through so many iterations and such struggle to complete a single painting, maybe I should have more hope for my seemingly unending process of sketch after sketch. I’ve sometimes been guilty of tossing sketches out after I reach the end of a project, but I was so grateful for these sketches Hopper left behind. As I emerged from my thoughts, I realized I was alone in the room. My group had gone on without me, but I was happy to be left behind.