From the Editors
Finding definition in the abstract
Motion is one of the most difficult things to convey through static media. How do you make a subject walk, run, jump, lunge, dance, or sing in just a handful of graceful strokes of a pencil or paintbrush? A gesture drawing is performed under a strict time limit, ranging from as little as 10 seconds to as many as five minutes. It's among the first challenges a beginner art student will have to conquer, forcing them to think conceptually about what they see rather than merely regurgitating details. A successful exercise will find the basic "rhythm lines" of the figure in the form of rudimentary S- and C-curves and lay out the essence of what the body is doing economically and efficiently. There's not enough time to belabor details; those come later. This is more about capturing a moment, as would an opportunistic photographer.
Most ideas begin with a sketch; they're not shaded or colored in yet, not rendered in their full glory. They are an attempt to get the muse — who may flit in and out of conscious thought in a few seconds — in frame. It's the excitement and eagerness to get something onto paper, canvas, or tablet before it goes skirting back into the cover of neural underbrush from whence it came. The less obsessed we are with getting every detail right from the outset, the more likely (and frequently) inspiration is to come skittering into the open (a good example is local musician Tony Kellogg, who has been authoring an original song every day for nearly an entire year). Once we get over our egos, we can let the expression take over.
The Edinboro University Art Department, which was instituted in 1920, has been ingraining this framework in its students for 100 years. Among its alumni are painters, sculptors, woodworkers, photographers, graphic designers, animators, cinematographers, and the Erie Reader's managing editor, Nick Warren. In this issue's cover story, he discusses the legacy of Edinboro's art programs and its notable graduates, as well as the impact it's had on the region's artistic milieu. In addition, he outlines the key events of Edinboro ART 100, the centennial celebration that is slated to continue throughout the year.
Regardless of the medium you work in, it's often best to stay out of your own way. When your medium is chainsaw on raw timber, that advice serves in a literal context. But with the media of water, barley, hops, and yeast, the application is more intuitive. Brian Sprague of Sprague Farm and Brew Works is adept as both a woodworker and beermaker — involved every step of the way, including growing the ingredients, a true rarity in the realm of craft brewing.
While the seeds for future innovation are being sown in Erie County, fields lay fallow throughout the majority of Pennsylvania, save for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Ben Speggen delves deeply into Pennsylvania's position as an entrepreneurial pace-setter, drawing insights from a recent Brookings Institution report. Meanwhile, within the city limits we prepare for the Erie Reader's 40 Under 40 Experience, acknowledging the individuals that will help get us where we want to go.
Draw gestures, insights, inspiration; draw whatever you want — just ensure that when it comes time to flesh out an idea, you haven't drawn blanks.