Art Journals

Lately I’ve been investigating artists’ journals and sketchbooks, and have read numerous publications about them.  It is an expanding area of interest.  In the book The Journal Junkies Workshop by Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler, I learned about Dan Eldon.  He was a photojournalist that was murdered in Somalia in 1993.  He was 22 years old.  His visual journals, documenting his travels, have been incredibly influential for other art journal keepers.  The first collection of Eldon’s journals was published under the title The Journey is the Destination by Chronicle Books in 1997.  

Never stop documenting your life.  You’re the only one who can.

I somethimes wonder what is going to happen to my big Rubbermaid container full of the dozens of journals that I’ve been keeping since the mid-eighties.  Does it matter?  The process is what I enjoy.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually bothered to go back and read bits of them.  They are more visually stimulating than anything else.  Sure, there is the occasional nugget of wisdom, but the real value of keeping them is the attention, the mindfulness, the privacy, the creative outlet, the reflection on one’s own life.  That is incredibly significant.  Thinking about what is happening keeps me still, quiets me down, places me in the moment.  It also allows me a safe place from which to examine the past, which I can do now that time and distance have intervened. 

To know is to own.