A heartfelt thanks goes out today to my dear artist friend Frank Haines, who sent me his latest book, aptly titled, Frank Exchanges.
Frank organized the 2013 New York performance, “Zeena Schreck, Live from the Eye of the Storm.” Over the course of our lifetimes, Frank and I have worked, lived and loved in many of the same cities - San Francisco, Vienna and Berlin - but it wasn't until 2012 when our paths finally crossed and we began plans to collaborate on various art projects.
Frank Exchanges is a labor of love spotlighting twenty-six artists who have traveled through Frank's life at various times. I had the privilege of meeting many of these talented and hard-working artists as a result of my collaboration with Frank for our New York performance. So it's wonderful to learn more about this community of creators and creatrixes in this volume.
Frank is inspired by and works with artists who understand and embody the integration of spirituality, magic and the creative process. He also has an appreciation and understanding of the feminine energy central to creativity. This could be because he's been nurtured and mentored by many female artists, including his two sisters and his life's partner, Jackie Klempay. It could also be because he really digs feminine mystical artists. Conversations with Frank are often peppered with references to female artists who inspire him. So it's not surprising that the introduction to his book explains the genesis of Frank Exchanges, as related to two female artists and how the “direct interview form, where the content reflects a conversation” shaped his desire to publish his exchanges with artists he knows:
When I look at a Loise Nevelson sculpture I think about the way she described eating raisins. She would not eat raisins by the bunch but singly and selectively. 'When I put a raisin in my mouth I know what I'm doing'. This single statement expresses a mindfulness about living in the world that I see reflected in her work.
“Eliza Swann interviewed me for Arthur magazine in 2011. I loved the conversation that resulted from the meeting of our minds. Inspired by these results, I wanted to document many of the ideas that have been shaped through conversations with close friends of mine.”
From that launching point, Frank manifests Frank Exchanges. A collection of essay-interviews that reveal complex philosophical and religio-magical perspectives from artists who have experienced struggle, love, pain, poverty, doubt, loss, euphoria and all of the usual challenges artists face in a society which devalues visionary thought. It offers a glimpse into the minds of ambassadors from another state of consciousness. In a strictly materialistic culture, both art and spirituality are often viewed by society as worthless, when they don't contribute to economic and industrial productivity. So it's refreshing to see artists intelligently interviewed by one of their own, rather than being asked inane questions by someone who can't relate to the creative spirit!