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Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Vol. XIV, Number 4 (July 1908)

Smith, Pamela Colman
Should the art student think?,   pp. 417-419 PDF (1.0 MB)


Page 419


SHOULDý THE ART STUDENT THINK?
music, drama as possible (all to be thought of in relation to that idea
so safely tucked away in the corner of the student's mind), to be
worked at from the vantage point of knowing what they are to aid.
   I wish here to say how grateful I am to the writer of an article in
an American magazine (Putman'3 Monthly for July, 1907). "An
Appreciation and a Protest." An appreciation of Albert Sterner,
and a protest against the "ultra-sweetness and oppressive propriety
admired alike by the 'publisher and the public," and "individuality
discreetly suppressed.'
   0! the prudishness and pompous falseness of a great mass of
intelligent people!
   I do not hold that "the incessant roar of high-power presses"
is
alone to blame for the stifling of life, but for a lack of inspiration.
For it is a land of power, a land of unkempt uproar-full of life, force,
energy.
   Lift up your ideals, you weaklings, and force a way out of that
thunderous clamor of the steam press, the hurrying herd of blind
humanity, noise, dust, strife, seething toil-there is power! The
imprisoned Titans underneath the soil, grinding, writhing-take
your strength from them, throw aside your petty drawing room point
of view.
   I do not want to see riotous, clumsy ugliness suddenly spring up,
but a fine noble power shining through your work. The illustrations
that I see in the magazines by the younger people are all dignified
and well, carefully and conscientiously drawn, -but their appalling
clumsiness is quite beyond me,-their lack of charm and grace.
   I do not mean by charm, prettiness, but an appreciation of beauty.
Ugliness is beauty, but with a difference, a nobleness that speaks
through all the hard crust of convention.
   I have heard it said that half the world has nothing to say. Per-
haps the other half has, but it is afraid to speak. Banish fear, brace
your courage, place your ideal high up with the sun, away from the
dirt and squalor and ugliness around you and let that power that makes
"the roar of the high-power presses" enter into your work-energy-
courage-life--love. Use your wits, use your eyes. Perhaps you use
your physical eyes too much and only see the mask. Find eyes within,
look for the door into the unknown country.
   "High over cap" on a fairy horse-ride on your Quest-for what
we are all seeking-Beauty. Beauty of thought first, beauty of feeling,
beauty of form, beauty of color, beauty of sound, appreciation, joy,
and the power of showing it to others.
                                                              419


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