Arriving in Paris is quite different than arriving in Iceland. In Iceland you leave the airport and you are surrounded by nature. In Paris, like any major metropolitan area, you are surrounded by people--a tremendous amount of people. From in the airport, to the cab or train station, the city crawls with people. Of course I know this, but I don't think I would have given it a second thought had the extreme from Iceland to Paris not been so profound. To super simplify it: In Iceland you confront nature, in Paris you confront people.
Confront. There are many facets to the definition of this word but for my purposes, as a way to think about two very different places that I visited in a short period of time, I am going to pick two definitions that are my favorite for this page. I am going to reject the more violent of the definition in favor of "to stand or meet facing," and "to bring together for comparison or examination."(2) As I meet Iceland face to face for the first time and Paris for the third time, I can't help but make visual comparisons and wonder how "place" has an influence on artists.
Whether directly influenced by their environment or not, artists who live and work (or were raised and then left) are part of the rhythm of their surroundings.
“Underneath the rhythm of every art and of every work of art there lies, as a substratum in the depths of the subconsciousness, the basic pattern of the relations of the live creature to his environment.”
Photo combinations: In these combinations of photos taken in Iceland and France, I am trying to compare and contrast that "sense of place" that artists live and work within.
In art, as in nature and in life, relations are modes of interaction. They are pushes and pulls, they are contractions and expansions; they determine lightness and weight, rising and falling, harmony and discord. --John Dewey (1)
1. Dewey, J. (2005). Art as experience. New York, NY: Perigee