Featured Writer of the Month
is part of a powerful learning process.”
Steptoe creates books, but not through words, he tells stories through
pictures. He's the illustrator of In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall,
which won the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and an ALA
Notable Book. His latest work is A Pocketful of Poems by
is passionate about collage, the art of making unified images from
arranging seemingly unrelated pieces. "I really like collage because
it's a lot of fun. I get to work with all sorts of objects and mediums
and I don't have a set of rules saying what is a right or wrong
way to do something. I find this freeing for me as an artist it's
like playing. I tend to use a lot of found objects. One of the benefits
of using found objects is that they already have meaning to the
viewer," he explained. A five year old holding a Steptoe picture
book may not understand pointillism, cubism, or impressionism, but
he or she will recognize the spoon, sponge or bar of soap that might
appear in the pictures. "Then they have some connection to the picture,"
like writers, Steptoe is familiar with rejection and creative blocks
but he has a pragmatic approach to coping with those obstacles.
"If one is blocked," he said, "Go do something else. You need to
have a rest, have a break. You need to have time to let your energies
rebuild". By way of example, he describes the pattern of drum music.
Drumming is not continuous hitting but the combination of both striking
the drum and the quiet interval between each strike. It is the alternation
of sound and silence. "If you didn't hear the absence of sound,
you wouldn't hear the drum's rhythm," he pointed out. "What's more
important - the time you hear the drum or the silence in between?"
is even more pragmatic about rejection -"You just gotta get over
it. You can't take it personal. You never know why a person responds
to your work in a particular way. It may have nothing to do with
you or your work. It's up to you to get the best out of a situation.
Be willing to keep going even when people say 'Not this time.'"
For more information about Javaka Steptoe, go to javaka.com.