Monday, October 22, 2012

Corita Kent a.k.a. Sister Corita


“Life is a succession of moments, To live each one is to succeed.”-Corita Kent

One of my biggest influences in both art as well as teaching, is the work and teachings of Corita Kent. I grew up seeing her artwork on a regular basis (the Boston Gas Tank, The Love Postage Stamp) but not knowing who she was, all I knew was that driving by the Gas Tanks in Dorchester and seeing the one painted in a rainbow always made me extremely happy.) 

I remember "discovering" who she was in 1997 and becoming enthralled. I borrowed a copy of Learning by Heart from the library and held onto it for the longest time. Learning by Heart (by Jan Steward and Corita Kent) quickly became my Creativity Bible. It is a book whose praises I can't sing highly enough. It is a book that I think EVERYONE (especially if you're an artist) should have on their shelves.

Above you'll see photos of the Corita books that I own. I even pick up duplicate copies if they're inexpensive enough to gift to folks whom I think will appreciate them. I always pick up her books even if I have them already whenever I see them in the used bookstores. I've found copies with goodies tucked inside (like what you'll see below.) 

In fact, you may have heard me on Saturday night. David, Tristan and I were on one of our weekly bookstore runs. It was late and David wanted to go. I was tired and had already put my pjs on. One look from David convinced me that he really wanted to go, so begrudgingly, I got dressed and got ready to go. Boy, am I happy that we went! I wandered the aisles of the bookstore and I hadn't found a damn thing. We were about to leave when I spotted a copy of Footnotes and Headlines. I smiled knowing that I had it at home already yet I still picked it up. I opened it up to the inside cover and gasped! "Sister Corita" was scrawled across the page. I looked at David and whispered, "It's autographed AND IT'S ONLY A DOLLAR!" I swear that I clutched it to my chest until we were at the register hoping that no one would come running around the corner yelling, "WE MADE A MISTAKE! DON'T SELL IT TO HER!" It's now on my shelf and the thought of knowing that it's there, makes me smile.

I am missing a few of her books still and am still looking for a signed edition (with all of the prints/posters) of Damn Everything but the Circus. An affordable copy has eluded me for awhile but I hold onto the hope that some day I'll find it! I'm also looking for hardcover copy of Learning By Heart. I had it once but gave it to a friend who was sick and wanting to read it. There is a new book due out next year called Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent. I already have it on my wish list.

You can find out more about Corita here and here

These were tucked into one of my Corita books:

An L.A. Times article on Corita's death:

 The inside of her portfolio box with some of my favorite prints and posters:

She is truly an inspiration to me and in every class I try to aspire to her level of teaching and her mind set. I can only hope to someday be even a fraction of the teacher that she was.

"The only rule is work.
-John Cage and Corita Kent


Anonymous said...

I am one of those lucky recipients of such a book; I'm exceedingly grateful for the gift (especially) because it came from you and because it truly has a way of reaching in and pulling out the creator in me. :) <3

Christy said...

Kelly: LOVE YOUR WORK!! THANKS FOR THIS POST! I bought her book because of your recommendation.

The 2 videos didn't work ... could you provide the
URL addresses?

Kelly Kilmer said...

Adriane, :)

Christy, Weird as the videos work on my end. If you go to youtube, search for Sister Corita or Corita Kent. The two I posted were:
Become a Microscope (an excerpt)
Art in Our Neighborhood (Savin Hill Yacht Club, Dorchester, MA Community talk about Corita and the Boston Rainbow Gas Tank)
Thanks for the kind words. :)

Kathryn Zbrzezny said...

Thank you for this! I have never heard of her, sadly, but do know some of her art!