Guest Post: ‘Everything I learned about writing I should have learned from art’ by Caleb J Ross

This is a guest post by Caleb J Ross as part of his Stranger Will Tour for Strange blog tour. His goal is to post at a different blog every few days beginning with the release of his novel Stranger Will in March 2011 to the release of his second novel, I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin in November 2011. If you have connections to a lit blog of any type, professional journal or personal site, please contact him. He would love to compromise your integrity for a day. To be a groupie and follow this tour, subscribe to the Caleb J Ross blog RSS feed. Follow him on Twitter: Friend him on Facebook:

The worlds of visual arts and literary writing aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, the concepts overlap so drastically that to be good in one medium ensures at least a conversational understanding of the other, and at best, equal execution.

For most of my life I was entirely a visual arts guy. Drawing cartoons in elementary school, dabbling in acrylics in junior high, charcoals to computer design in high school, and then came college where I finally fell into writing. Until my Sophomore year, I had read three books, one of which I understood. Writing simply had no place in my life.

My shift came during a life drawing class at the pinnacle of a slow build to complete pedagogical frustration with my university art department. Unfortunately, the epiphany lacked the requisite insight and decided to abandon me after the initial call to action. So, the next day I turned my attention to the English department for no better reason than my lengthy history with the language.

I found the transition surprisingly smooth. Concepts like composition, contrast, visual (textual) weight, negative space, and on and on are beautifully analogous between the mediums. Social parallels too, exist beyond the technical similarities. Creators of both formats tend to play the role of the outcast, often inviting solidarity, necessarily so, for the sake of producing. Financially, the best hope to survive is with the commercial arts—graphic arts for visual artists and genre/mainstream writing for authors.

This is an idea I want to expand upon. Please, feel free to offer additional comparisons in the comments below. Consider this blog post my first draft, my under-canvas.


About blpawelek

Dad, hiker, writer.
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4 Responses to Guest Post: ‘Everything I learned about writing I should have learned from art’ by Caleb J Ross

  1. Pingback: Stranger Will tour stop #15: BL Pawelek’s blog | Caleb J Ross The World's First Author Blog | calebjross

  2. I used to be a rather diligent photographer. I was obsessive about even the slightest variations or imperfections in a piece, and I worked in a darkroom so there were many. I spent, literally, days on a single image. At one point I put on a gallery show of 36 pictures, one from each frame on the roll and I printed them all without making duplicates or trials. I captioned each photograph with an equally short written poem.

    Some people who were familiar with both my visual and written work said it was the worst thing they had ever seen me do.

    I was overjoyed with the entire experience if for no other reason that the whole thing actually worked when paired that way and I do not know if it would have otherwise.

  3. Caleb J Ross says:

    I love that. Did you get pictures of the gallery event?

  4. Pingback: Stranger Will tour stop #15: BL Pawelek’s blog « Blog Orgy Tour

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