WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT THE CREATIVE PROCESS / MIA FUNK

"The thing is, our culture has started to think about writing and the humanities as if they are peripheral and negotiable – just a dusty sideshow set up alongside the real project, which is making money. But the only way people move toward freedom is to come to some understanding of what is enslaving them, and that, in essence, is what the humanities are: a controlled, generations-long effort to understand and defeat what enslaves us. So we marginalize that process at our own peril. That process is (and has always been) important to cultures."

–GEORGE SAUNDERS, interviewed for The Creative Process
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2017, Story Prize, the inaugural Folio Prize and recipient of the MacArthur "Genius Grant”

“What has emerged from our experience is that people are drawn to writers as much as to books, and that an understanding of individual authors not only illuminates their works or their national culture but leads to an understanding of the creative process itself. This is why Mia Funk’s The Creative Process is so important and exciting. Her idea is that literature and art are vehicles for bringing people together, and the project is designed as an exhibition for public spaces such as museums, galleries and libraries, where it can be shared by all sections of the community, including universities and cultural centres across America and Europe, where it will be of tremendous benefit. As Ms Funk says, ‘As an artist, I find that writers open up to me in a way they might not to critics. I’m not a journalist. I’m an artist who also writes.’ The interviews she has done are revealing not only of individual writers but of the shared experience of the creative process, and the portraits which accompany them are themselves like interviews in paint.”

–ROBERT NICHOLSON
Curator of the DUBLIN WRITERS MUSEUM and the JAMES JOYCE MUSEUM

 

“Writers have always had a profound impact on our thinking. They influence our history, our culture and our daily lives. They reveal to us who we are. They educate and entertain us. Their works are the keystone of our cultural heritage. Therefore, it is vitally important for young people to understand the role writers play in society. It is particularly so at a time when reading and writing are being so impacted by technology. I would love to see a day when people have the same reverence for great writers as they do for sports heroes and film stars.

That’s why Mia Funk’s The Creative Process exhibition is an exciting project and very much in the spirit of what we are doing here at the American Writers Museum.”

–DR. MALCOLM E. O’HAGAN
President of the American Writers Museum Foundation

On reaction to her portrait for The Creative Process:
“It’s so intriguing, strange and ghostly, I really like it. It seems a very good account of what goes on during the creative process. When I worked with the stage production I had to work hard to remember the characters would be visible in the middle distance. My natural range is just as you paint it: a table top away. I see every breath and every blink. What a strange set of illusions we work with.”

– HILARY MANTEL
Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2009 & 2012 and other honors

 

“It’s a terrific portrait. It was a great interview! You’ve done amazing work with very notable writers... It’s a beautiful painting! I love the colors and the layers, the gauziness and haunted quality of it. Thanks so much for conceiving it. I feel honored to be a part of your series.”

–VIET THANH NGUYEN
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2016, Dayton Literary Peace Prize,
Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

 

“The series of interviews with writers is the unprecedented part of this exhibition. Painted compositions and portraits further articulated by the conversations Mia Funk had with the writers. Their words interact with the scenes and atmosphere of their novels which have inspired the portraits. She writes and publishes texts, which implies a deep engagement with this "literary space" dear to Georges Blanchot. We understand why Mia Funk chose to call this new theme "The Creative Process." The symbiosis between reading and encounter, not as a journalistic one, that of an interview that would be just illustrated with images, but with the aim of a painter, that of allowing us to see the writing and the writer together.

It is for the profound originality of this approach that the Panthéon-Sorbonne University is pleased to showcase the inaugural exhibition... For once the collection of interviews and portraits of writers has been completed, a second exhibition will bring them together, before circulating in several major foreign universities, in Europe and in the United States. Our institution in the Latin Quarter has made a judicious choice: to present this award-winning artist who has been several times awarded by prestigious art salons, to whom several works have already been dedicated, well represented by galleries in the capital and regularly residing in France, whose museum collections and landscapes inspire many of her paintings.”

–STÉPHANE LAURENT
Professor of Art History
Sorbonne (Université Paris-1 Panthéon)

 

"Intensity and awareness continue to build; I’m hearing from new students all the time. We do live readings in club meetings . . . all I can do is assure you of the gift you are bringing to these traumatized children: finally, a chance to be heard!

–VINCENT WALSH
Professor, New Britain High School
Young Writers Mentor for The Creative Process'
Pure Imagination Inner City High School Program

 

“We have been inspired by The Creative Process to implement a special 4th year course dedicated to combining literature and film, and making adaptations of notable Polish writers’ work. Polish films had been always very closely related to literature, especially in the Polish Film School of the 50’s and 60’s. The best Polish films were made at those times and most were based on literature. It did change recently and here in Łódź Film School we’ve been thinking of how to restore this relationship. That’s why we are delighted to collaborate with your project and for the opportunities to screen the films created by this program at international venues associated with The Creative Process.”

–PIOTR MIKUCKI (Dean of Directing Department)
& MARCIN MALATYŃSKI (Deputy Director and Head of International Relations),
Łódź Film School

“What a great idea. I think you’ve struck upon something crucial. The humanities, culture, in real terms, cost very little and does so much. Culture is my passion. Today, the book is very much menaced by the screen. One of the things we really need to do is get new readers. I feel very strongly that education is the most crucial thing in the world. Education subverts ignorance. Education allows people to think in a more nuanced way. Fundamentally, literature has no frontiers. Curiosity is a very underrated virtue and it’s so crucial. You have to be curious. You have to be interested. Curiosity is an essential thing in life. It keeps you young.”

–DOUGLAS KENNEDY
Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
and Winner of the first Grand Prix du Figaro

 

On Mia Funk's writing and visual artwork:
"I just listened to the podcast of your story and I loved its imagination and warmth and sadness. It is quite a fresh vision, that of having a painting speak for itself. And, of course, your story speaks for so much about the often specious relationship of men to women... I like the delicacy—almost mist-like, of the images and your beautifully modulated pallet."

–FREDERIC TUTEN
Novelist, memoirist, and art writer

We are currently sharing Eric Fischl's insights with students from participating universities and schools and inviting their creative and critical responses:

“Much art today is not connecting seeing to feeling. And that’s the big problem. It’s connecting seeing to seeing, and it’s also connecting the already seen to seeing. Usually, the artist is the one who is gifted to see first. Everyone witnesses, but the artist sees at the same time they witness. And it is the seeing that is the order of understanding. And so what you’re getting now is a lot of artists that are receiving already seen things. They’ve already been organised. And they’re taking it and they’re reorganising it. Maybe as a formal exercise, but not something that is really transformative.”

–ERIC FISCHL, interviewed for The Creative Process

By kind permission of the author, "These Are Not Our Faces" by Neil Gaiman
features in the introductions to The Creative Process exhibitions
.

"These are not our faces, this is not what we look like. Do you think [these writers look] like this? Not so, They're wearing play faces to fool you. But the play faces come off when the writing begins. Frozen in black and silver for you now, these are simply masks. We who lie for a living are wearing our liar faces, false faces, made to deceive the unwary. We must be, for if you believe these [artworks] we look just like everyone else. Protective coloration, that's all it is. Read the books, sometimes you can catch sight of us in there. We look like gods and fools and bards and queens, singing worlds into existence, conjuring something from nothing, juggling words into all the patterns of night. Read the books, that’s when you see us properly, naked priestesses and priests of forgotten religions, our skins glistening with scented oils, scarlet blood dripping down from our hands, bright birds flying out from our open mouths, perfect we are and beautiful in the fire's golden light. There was story I was told as a child about a little girl who peeked into a writer's window one night and saw him writing. He had taken his false face off to write and then hung it behind the door for he wrote with his real face on and she saw him and he saw her and from that day to this, nobody has ever seen the little girl again. Since then, writers have looked like other people, even when they write. And sometimes their lips move and sometimes they stare into space longer and more intently than anything that isn't a cat. But their words describe their real faces, the ones they wear underneath. That's why people who encounter writers are rarely satisfied by the wholly inferior person that they meet. ‘I thought you'd be taller or older or younger or prettier or wiser,’ they tell us, with words or wordlessly. That’s not what I look like, I tell them. This is not my face.”

–NEIL GAIMAN

Further references from participating creative thinkers available on request.