Blank Canvas (Book)
Art School Creativity From Punk to New Wave
Blank Canvas is a four-point theory of twentieth century UK Art School creativity, highlighting the philosophies and practices that have influenced the development of punk, post punk, and new wave musicians. A framework for creativity emerges for artists and musicians, aiming to define the future. 20 b&w illus.
Art school Britain in the 1960s and 1970s – a hotbed of experimental DIY creativity blurring the lines between art and music. In Blank Canvas, multi-genre musician turned university lecturer Simon Strange paints a picture of the diverse range of people who broke down the barriers between art, life and the creative self.
Tracing lines from the Bauhaus 'blank slate' through the white heat of the Velvet Underground and the cutting edge of the Slits, Blank Canvas draws on interviews with giants of the genre across music, gender and race spectrums, from Brian Eno to Pauline Black, Cabaret Voltaire to Gaye Advert. Illustrated is a picture of two decades erupting in a devastatingly diverse flow of outspoken originality as an eclectic range of musical styles and cultures fused.
Does modern day music education suffocate the soul and inhibit the impact of the bohemian artist?
This book asks questions of today's artists, musicians, and educators, looking for the essence of creativity and suggests how lessons learnt in and around art school education show a path for the cultural evolution of both musicians and artists hoping to create the future.
Audience will include university students at all levels in popular music, popular culture and creative arts education. Academics, educators and researchers working in popular culture and creativity. May also appeal to a more general reader interested in popular culture and creativity.
With a Blank Canvas, anything is possible…
Simon Strange is a popular music educator and practitioner. He researches the connections between art education and music skills at Bath Spa University, UK.
1. THE BAUHAUS ONWARDS 29
2. UK ART SCHOOLS 47
3. CONCEPTUALLY REDEFINED 60
4. THE RISE OF THE NONMUSICIAN 77
5. CONCENTRATION ON THE PROCESS 116
6. EXPERIMENTATION 159
7. RELATIONSHIPS 192
8. BLANK CANVAS 237
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 295
'Simon Strange handles all [the] material highly skilfully and it’s a testament to both his writing and his meticulous research that he manages to cover such a far reaching subject with hardly a false step. As both a lecturer at Bath Spa University and also a musician and producer he shows both a passion for intellectual study and left field rock music. It’s a difficult balancing act to pull off but much like the artists contained within these pages, he’s managed it using non linear narratives, rubbing against the form that both educates and inspires. Just like the good old days of breaking glass and guitar ignition.'
'Blank Canvas: Art School Creativity From Punk To New Wave is a superb relook at the importance of the avant-garde and radical arts pedagogy in an important period in UK arts, art education and music. A fascinating book for anyone interested in the arts and music of the 1970s particularly but more widely for anyone interested in the interconnections and influences that effect, encourage and shape culture.'
Full review at Echoes And Dust
'Strange's writing is accessible, and his point of view is clear, even as the scope of his project feels unwieldy. Art practices and postmodernism, minimalism, expressionism and amateurism, defining non-musicianship in musical terms, tracing evidence of rebellious pedagogies in commercial music products, the impact of emergent technologies and cybernetics on autonomy and aesthetics... it's a lot of tricky ground to cover. Most impressive is the way Strange is able to thread multiple emergent creative strategies and revolutionary cultural moments to a coherent narrative, identifying a set of principles that could be usefully applied to a range of creative practices today. [...] His recommendations are useful and inclusive, able to be implemented in multiple style contexts beyond pop and punk, not necessarily advocating for the rule book to be torn up, but rather for inclusive principles of collaborative cross-pollination and experimentation to be given more time, space and focus.'