Sometimes a project goes so badly wrong, the only intelligent response is to mush it up into a proverbial ball…
Then tear the ball to pieces….
Then throw it all on the ground in a big heap…
Then jump up and down on the heap twenty times…
Then set fire to it.
…..and start all over again.
Lately, I have stretched myself and I have learned a lot. When’s the last time you could say that honestly? We tend to get distracted and veer towards the certainty of the mundane, the social media, the salt/sugar/fat, the pleasurable consumption.
This week on Chimpwithcans.com I am releasing my first podcast episode into the big bad world. I created it. I’ll let you all hear it. You can even let me know what you think of it. Just remember – it may not be for you, and that’s alright.
Every Friday I will release an episode. I’ll put one up on http://www.chimpwithcans.com every week for a month (4 episodes).
The internet is a huge all you can eat buffet – make your choices wisely!
That is the question of today.
Art as a consumable product. When we experience a piece of art, it is tempting to think that there could only ever be one version in the world. The song you’re listening to could surely only have sounded like this, could only ever have this tempo, could only be sung in this key. The picture you are looking at must have arrived fully formed – divine intervention flowed through the painter’s brush to the canvas in a single instant of inspiration. There was no practice involved and no research.
Art as a process. Of course the opposite is most often true – artists above all are experts at curiosity and playing with ideas. The curiosity and the playing results in countless versions of an idea until one day a version feels right (or is chosen by a company executive) to represent the artist’s vision.
Examples are everywhere – look at Bob Dylan’s countless versions of his most famous songs. Director’s cuts often differ wildly from the original film release. Look at Picasso’s obsessive research into the minotaur leading up to Guernica.
Curiosity and playfulness are where the real magic is. I think that this is important to remember, both as customers and as artists. These processes are not instantly gratifying, and can often be frustrating. But they are processes that we have to go through and we have to acknowledge to get the most from any piece of art.
Otherwise, there is a danger of art becoming a pre-packaged commodity. No back story. Nothing more to see.
What is the best song ever written? The best movie? The best wine? There isn’t one of course. Art is subjective, and yet we always want to package it, rank it, market it. Put it into a little box so that we all know where we stand.
If your wine scores highly in a snooty ranking system (link) does is mean anything? It’s comforting but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Sure, sales will rise and brand value may go up. But there is a problem with forcing a ranking on a product so varied and subjective as wine.
You may want wine for fish or for pizza or for a camping trip. You may want cooking wine or sweet wine or boxed wine for a million different reasons.
With wine, as with all art, it’s not a linear race. The very concept of a single winner is forced.
Some thoughts on contrast:
In the world of fashion, I’m told it is a good rule to follow to wear one piece of clothing as the focus for your outfit. Make the focus piece obvious (colourful and/or patterned) and make all your other clothes darker and more plain in comparison. For example a brightly coloured, patterned shirt as the focus, and plain dark pants, jacket, and shoes to support. It is the contrast which makes it work. If it was all bright patterns, it would clash and likely not be pleasing to the eye. The same if it was all black. No contrast. Boring. Slightly morbid too!
The same thing happens in food. Eating a chocolate, washing it down with a sweet soda and an ice cream with syrup on top. It’s too much of a good thing. No contrast. Food manufacturers have figured out the perfect balance of salt, sugar, and fat to tease our senses. There needs to be a contrast in tastes, and in food types to satisfy truly.
The same with music and audio. A piece of music needs to have light and shade to work. A whole song of thrashing guitar solo after guitar solo is just too much and becomes very boring. Too much bass in the mix gives you a headache. Use light and shade to build up to a crescendo however, and it will raise the hairs on your neck.
Contrast is the way forward!