In the previous post you'll see that I called an art journal a "glorified scrapbook". This pissed off quite a few people. I did not mean to do so in any way and several people are misunderstanding what I meant.
Before I make my case, let me list the definitions of art journal and scrapbook as found via a google search:
art journal- a notebook kept by an artist as a personal record of images and sometimes words; also called artist's journal
scrapbook-A book of blank pages for sticking clippings, drawings, or pictures in
You should know that I am not a fan of labels in any form. I have had people call my work art journaling, altered books, scrapbooking, art, craft, etc... The only one that gets my goat is craft as in crafting as in hobby. I do not craft as a hobby. (I am not talking about artisans and craftsman. I am talking about craft as in hobby as in finding something to do to occupy your time). I make stuff because I have to. To me, working in my art journal and expressing myself is as necessary as oxygen, food and shelter. It keeps me happy, healthy and (hopefully) sane.
All that being said, I do not like labels. Labels keep us in boxes. Labels do not allow us to grow. Labels do not allow us to become anything that we want to be.
So what the hell do I mean when I say that an art journal is a glorified scrapbook?
There are many different kinds of art journal keepers, just as many as there are different kinds of scrapbook keepers. I can only speak from my own experiences and the reasons why I keep an art journal.
I started with diary keeping. I would write, draw, stamp and put stickers on lined notebook paper kept in a binder. I did that for a very long time. I called it a diary.
When my son was born, I very proudly made him two full albums (they're quite fat!) documenting his life from birth to about 6 months of age. I called them scrapbooks.
I was still keeping a diary in some form or another.
I also made my husband a big, fat scrapbook with bits and pieces stuck in of how we met, married, etc...
It was at this time that I began selling and making greeting cards. I began teaching classes on card making. I quickly grew bored with it (again, this is ME talking) especially with having to work assembly line style so often and being limited to bunnies and bears in what the shops wanted from me to sell. I taught myself bookbinding.
The lightbulb went on. The diary, the scrapbook, the bookbinding all became one.
I poured my heart and soul into these books. I wrote. I drew. I stuck things in them. I painted in them. I talked about my daily life. I bitched. I talked about anything and everything on my mind.
I called them journals.
Somerset Studio publishes an article on Janet Hofacker and her journals (I think it was this issue, but am not 100% sure).
I realize that I'm not alone.
Rubber stamp stores and scrapbook stores start to crossbreed. Altered art becomes very popular.
Scrapbooking vs. art journaling discussions become very heated and they start to pop up. Flame wars begin. People got incensed over absolute rubbish.
Yes, I will admit that I do not call what I do scrapbooking, but I don't grow horns and a tail if others do. I used to (grow horns and a tail that is), but not anymore. Why? Because, like my journals that have grown and changed so much over the years, I have also grown and changed in my thinking.
Someone picks up a book-any book-a blank book, a photo album, an old book, a book made by their own hands and starts to cut and paste things into it. Maybe they pick up some paint and paint the pages. Maybe they draw in it or stick stickers into it. Then they pick up their pen and they write. They pour their heart out onto the page. They've created a page where they've expressed themselves completely and fully in the moment. That to me is the most important aspect to creating a "whatever you want to call it."
I've often said that there are cookie cutter scrapbookers (this is not an insult, only a statement-hang on for a minute while I explain) but there are also cookie cutter art journal artists. Now don't go getting all indignant and your panties in a bunch on me. There are folks who want to cut and paste and paint and stamp and stick things onto pages. They're happy documenting daily lives or whatever. They're happy trying out techniques that they saw in a book or a magazine. They're happy imitating Teesha Moore or Ali Edwards. They often don't write their own words in their books. They use quotes, song lyrics, book passages, etc... They're happy with what they do. If they're happy with what they are doing, then I'm happy for them.
Yet, if that were me, I would want something more. I do not think that there is anything wrong in learning from another artist and imitating their style. Yet, there comes a point when you should want something more. You should want to take what you've learned and make it your own.
There comes a point when you move beyond the simple act of just painting pages or just cutting and pasting into the realm of asking yourself, why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you going from just a simple scrapbook (cut and pasting every day life) into something more, glorified? Why is there something inside you that is nagging you into moving into a new, uncharted territory (yes, even if others have gone there, it is always new for YOU and don't you forget that!)??
This, my friends, is art journaling to me.
2 years ago