There's something magical that happens when I start the process of rubber stamping. I can use stamps with predefined shapes & symbols to bring to life quotes from some of history's greatest writers and thinkers. These thinkers live on through their words, and every time I stamp a piece of art, I get to see their well-worn quotes anew.
Quotes play parts in all of our lives. They are everywhere, from inscriptions, to epitaphs, to samplers, to gravestones, to graphite on bathroom stalls, to fortune cookies fortunes, not to mention Pinterest and Instagram.
Quotes are generally short, and pithy - sayings said by someone who definitely had a way with words. It seems as though we're drawn to quotes, at least in part, because sometimes Emily Dickinson has already said what we're trying to say, better than we ever could. It's comforting to think that when our own words fail us, we can always turn to the best writers and thinkers in history.
Most of us don't think of art when we think of rubber stamps, we think of childhood rainy day arts & craft boxes. Or we think of paper work and the speed, ease, efficiency that rubber stamps were originally invented to make use of. We don't generally think of Kurt Schwitters, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, or Andy Warhol, using rubber stamps to make amazing pieces of timeless art. (Maybe we think of Warhol).
It's pretty easy to think that since rubber stamps have predefined shapes that they can't be used to make art, but the true art of rubber stamps, happens when the artist uses the physical limitations of stamps as an advantage. With rubber stamps, artists must stretch themselves to make art. Unlike traditional drawing or painting you have to get a little more creative with stamps - you have to come up with creative solutions to the problem of working with predefined shapes.
By using stamps, and limiting some of my choices, I free up my creative energy for considering the piece of art as a whole. Instead of deciding all of the minutia for each element, I have more freedom to consider how each element interacts with every other element.
In Rubber Stamp Art, Peter Nagourney writes, "just as words can add to the image, so can images enforce language…" Stamps and quotes, when done right, work together seamlessly. The words support the images, and the images support the art, together the parts equal more than the whole - they create an "added resonance."
This added resonance is what I strive for in my art - when the piece of art is more than the sum of it's parts, I know I've succeeded.