Marc Chagall is another creative idol, who would have celebrated a birthday today. His work relied heavily on dream sequences, and he too was a hopeless romantic (or in my case, a hopeful one). His heavy use of vibrant, primary colors was a big influence on my artwork growing up, and he continues to inspire me. To be honest, his art is partly the reason why I use watercolor paint almost exclusively (with other materials, of course), as opposed to other types of paint. Although he didn’t just use watercolors, it’s his unique style which influenced my choice. Not only for practical purposes, but because I like the way it bleeds into the paper or canvas, and softly blends in with other colors, and becomes homogenized. It gives a dreamier and more mystical effect to me, like much of Chagall’s work. His life has inspired me too. He was “a painter of dreams and desires,” much like me, and he was also multi-faceted, with childhood dreams of becoming a poet, singer, dancer, musician AND painter, all at once. That resonates with me, big time. He was also a visual storyteller and poet, like me. Moyshe Segal (his birth name) depicted life in the Russian village he grew up in, and chronicled his life through his work- his exile from Nazi-occupied Paris, his marriages to his two great loves, and his journey to France, where he truly came into his own as an artist, and a man. He too was a visionary, creating a new style of art, along with a few of his contemporaries, but as a true firebrand, he only kept a finger on the pulse of existing trends- he never slavishly adhered to them. He also never limited himself in terms of creative experimentation and expression. He even designed sets and costumes for the ballet!
Perhaps if he’d hadn’t been exiled in New York and had such a strong presence in Chicago, this American girl might never have discovered his art in such a profound way, but I’m certainly glad that I did! From the many trips to the Art Institute and the visits to that famous mural, I became more and more enchanted by his work, and fascinated with his life. Thank you, Marc Chagall, for filling my eyes, heart and mind with such vibrant colors, and such beautiful visual storytelling! I salute you, as a fellow artist and storyteller!