Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vicci Sperry

When I was a young adult my Mom introduced me to the book, The Art Experience by Vicci Sperry.  Vicci's book was awe inspiring to me at an age when I was very impressionable.  Mom knew the impact it would have on me and others too.  She had a vision and bought 10 copies at her local bookstore in the early 1970's; she gradually give each one away when the spirit moved her in that direction. 

I ended up with her copy because she had given them all away, and when it was my turn, she didn't have any left!  I love having her copy, because she wrote her name in it, so when she gave it to me, I wrote my name, under hers.....  "Art is the joyous and spontaneous evidence of man's capacity to express his deep feelings for beauty, order, life and love." - Vicci Sperry
Painting by Vicci Sperry

Vicci Sperry was first an artist and then an educator of the art experience.  She taught and lectured extensively on the subject.  Part Two of her book is devoted to taking the reader through the art lessons she used in her classroom.   

"There is much that is cold and lifeless that poses as art, but the great works of Bach, Shakespeare, and Rembrandt ennoble us and make us feel more loving." - Vicci Sperry

Love, harmony, joy, these are all commonly referred within Vicci's book as hallmarks of an artistic experience.  What I love most about the message of this book is that you can have an art experience, either as the doer or viewer, either way, art engages you to become part of an expansive idea.  The theme that you don't have to be an artist to arrive at the exquisite truth that art is Love really speaks to my soul.  This is probably one of the first "Self-Help" books written for my Mom's generation.

"Lesser artists add embellishments.  If there is ornament it cannot become more obtrusive than the whole.  It should be like a breeze that belongs to the total atmosphere." - Vicci Sperry
Painting by Vicci Sperry

Over the years I have read this little book many times, and now its' pages are soft and buttery with time.  The book was printed in France in 1971, it has stiched pages and vivid images of Vicci's paintings. Vicci was American and studied under Abstract and Color Master, Hans Hoffman, in the 1950's.

Quite a few years ago, I tried to find a copy of Vicci's book so that I could give it to a man I once loved.  He read my copy a dozen times, had moved away, and I thought it would be the perfect thing to send. I looked and looked for a copy of the book and after I couldn't locate one, I "made" a primitive Xerox copy of it, and sent that instead.  Love will make you do funny things like that. And even though we didn't love each other, we both still loved that little book with passion.

I'm fairly certain my copy is a First Edition, although it doesn't say it is, but it doesn't say much of anything about the printing except that it was done in France.  I'm not sure how long it's been out of print. Occasionally there are copies available on eBay.  I'm waiting for some visionary person to publish it again for a whole new generation of lovers to enjoy. Oprah, are you listening? Can you imagine??!!  This book would be perfect for her Book Club pick. Oprah? OPRRAAH?

Painting by Vicci Sperry
"We may respect the skill of commercial art, but we recognize the difference of motivation.  That which is called fine art evolves from the highest originality and expresses timeless individual freedom.  Great art, although it includes technique, transcends technique." - Vicci Sperry


Alyn Carlson said...

ohhh these are so lush and inspiring. thank you for introducing me to this wonderful artist.

d cade said...

I bought a second-hand copy of "the art experience " a few years ago.Unfortunately , the excellent book is not complete :pages74/75 and pages 78/79 had not been printed .Would anybody be kind enough to let me know what they are about? Thanking you in anticipation .Dan Cade

Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to just pick up a pretty good used copy yesterday at a thrift store, and had never heard of Ms. Sperry before but was totally engrossed by her work, so I bought the book. What a treasure it is and her work is gorgeous. I have looked the book up on Amazon and see that copies are available there. I also see that there is a drawing book and I ordered one from an Amazon seller.
J. in Arizona


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