Bookreview | The Pulse of mixed media

The successful artist finds a way to mine their inner emotions and reveal these through their art in a way that is compelling. I believe the force behind this process is passion.
Seth Apter

The Pulse of Mixed Media The Pulse of Mixed Media – secrets and passions of 100 artists revealed, a book by Seth Apter. I bet you’ve seen this around everywhere with a quote or a picture or a “I’m in it” statement? At least if you read any mixed media blogs from the US you will have noticed this book cover, I’m sure. It’s because the curator Seth Apter has invited everyone and their aunt to be in this book. It’s evident in the tiny images on the cover and many, many names inside the book.

I don’t think I would’ve bought this book, because I don’t feel a huge need of owning it… It’s not easily categorized either. That said, I have gotten a review copy of it and now read through it. It has quite a lot of text, but no tutorials or in-depth writing (I hope Seth gets to write another book on his own, because he is a great thinker/writer). Instead you’re presented with many different answers to quite a few questions.

I’m all about asking questions (I’m a journalist after all), and then listening to the answers. When this many artists answer the same questions you are given many different perspectives and food for thought. I find myself reading some of the answers with great interest, but often times I find the bland answers boring or even irritating. Boring is bad, but irritating is good because it tells me that my opinion differs with that of the artists in question. A few of the answers are beautiful and quotable, but not that many.

I actually saw the call for art and answers to questions to go into this book, but wasn’t called to answer any of them at the time. The book include questions like “Is there a color that rarely shows up in your artwork?”, “Who has had the most impact on your creative life?”, “How do you express anger in your artwork?” and “What expresses the innermost you?” (great questions to answer in a journal writing session or blog post!)

Because of the nature of this book I think it can be viewed as a kind of magazine rather than a bookish book to cherish for years in the bookshelf. At least that’s my opinion. It’s not a keeper for me, and I will give it 3 out of 5 stars. 3 means it’s okay and a nice book. 4 is a keeper and 5 means I love it to the stars and don’t want to ever loose it. I don’t write about 2:s or 1:s if I ever see them, because those books are not worth our time! ;-)

Further inspiration

Indulge me, please (because I love questions) by asking some too… What questions would you like to ask an artist? What specific artist would you like to interview? Or what would you want to ask me? Let me know in the comments!

9 Responses

  1. hi! I am a book lover and hoarder however the desire to own this one was not there either. I would check it out from the library & read it. I like to own books I will reference or drool over for many years to come, not look at once and then shelf it.

  2. Thank you very much for your lovely comment. Never knew you were reading my blog…I often look at your pages and I am a big fan of yours!
    Have a wonderfull day! – Irma

  3. Thank you for another honest book review. I, too, saw the call for answers to the questions and did not find them very interesting. Certainly not the kind of questions I would label “secrets and passions.”

  4. Hanna,
    You know I wasn’t going to read this post because I was not enamored of the book but I am glad I did. I looked at the book in a store and perused a lot of it. Some of the comments were encouraging but many were not. It seems to be rampant in the mixed media world that no one can write a book on their own. Their are some cases like Violette, Misty Mawn and Katie Kendrik’s books. Most other have dozens od=f artist participating. If I buy a book by an artist I would like it to be there work, not all their friends too. Ok off my soapbox I liked your review because it was really honest and to the point.

  5. Hi, Hanna: If I wanted to ask you one thing, I would ask how on earth you find the time to be such a prolific artist, especially since you have a “day job”? You are always busy doing so many fantastic projects! I admire you for it.

    I do have another question that is unrelated: Did I somehow miss the washi tape winner? Or did you not choose a winner yet? Thanks! :)

    • Sandra, I don’t have as much time right now as I did a year ago, but I try to do a lot in the weekends, and I don’t have kids, that helps.

      To your unrelated question: I was late picking a winner, but now it’s done. Ingrid won the 35 USD gift certificate for Pretty Tape. I wish everyone could win, but 99 people entered so it’s not possible. Better luck next time!

  6. hi hanna,
    thanks for visiting & commenting on our blog. it is encouraging to get positive feedback.
    my questions for you……
    when & why did you start creating?
    what kind of art/craft did you begin with & how has it influenced your art journey?
    if you could have a lesson with any artist (past or present) who would it be?
    thank you,

  7. I think the questions I have are a bit more non-art related. Most of us work at other jobs (our art doesn’t support us or our families), so I am interested in how they organize their time and ‘plan’ their time for creating. And if they keep sketchbooks and journals, do they go back and revisit them?

  8. Thanks for an honest review! I read Seth Apter’s blog, and many other artists who appear in the book, and i also read the posts with the questions, and my feelings were similar, some answers are interesting and thought-provoking, while others are boring. I think what I’d like most to know is, when you started thinking of yourself as an artist, or what made you understand that the things you make are worthy/art. Also, I wonder to what extent you feel that an artist can or should be true to themselves, and to what extent they should produce crowd-pleasing art. I sometimes feel that certain artists that I appreciated have made a shift, and started making less interesting art, because they’re busy making birds-flowers-crowd-pleasers (since they want/need to sell…). Do you ever feel that problem? (for example, if you want to make a black collage, but you stop yourself and make a pink one, knowing people will like it more).

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