Where is the art coming from?

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.

 

Atrophy

If you ever want to prove the rule of atrophy, just go on a holiday.

We left the house in mostly working order. WiFi, phones, alarms, pets, cars all up and running.

But when we came back last night, the gremlins had struck. The power was out, which had tripped our alarm, which had sent the dogs into a two day frenzy. Phone and WiFi has disconnected. The car was dead. And so on.

If you throw a bunch of bricks in the air, it’s almost impossible that they will land on top of each other in a nice organised wall. Atrophy is a natural order of things. It means that everything falls apart and bends toward chaos, unless it is maintained.

Just ask my dogs.

Mission

An important assignment, a mission is focussed.

It works towards the dream and vision you might have, but it is very much grounded in the real world. It is specific. Many missions may achieve a larger dream or a vision.

If my dream is to sell solar power to the world, my first relevant mission might be to become an accredited environmental engineer, or a solar technician.

A mission is an important task and it has a beginning and an end. It is a clarification of what is important and what is not. Do this, don’t do that.

Guided by the vision, a mission zooms in on the day to day stuff that needs to be executed before a dream comes true.

That’s my take.

 

 

Phone blogging

Writing blog posts from my phone is pretty easy.

I am writing this post on my iPhone and it will not look any different to the desktop posts I usually write.

I can tag the posts, edit and publish direct from the WordPress app on my phone. This means there is really no excuse not to post something each day.

A few short years ago, it was nearly impossible to self publish a piece of your own writing.

Publishing is easier today than ever before.

Planning a project

I have found a useful framework for planning a project. Its origins are mostly from the military. Its application to the business world, and in fact to any dream you may want to fulfil are most useful.

I will be outlining each section and then over the coming days running through what I think each one means practically.

So, the sections/framework:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Objectives
  • Values
  • Culture

There is an interesting mix of harder and softer stuff in there. Culture and values being softer in my mind than tactics or strategy.

I’m finding it useful to focus and to plan. Something I can always use help on.

 

Quest love

I asked the owl in the woods how to lead a good life. He turned his head sideways, looked hard at my face and then said to find myself a quest. But what sort of quest? I asked. He held up seven feathers to me as he said this:

Overcome a monster. Pull the dragon out of the cave and stick your sword through its rotten heart.

Spin yourself some gold and grow your riches. Pull the levers of wealth in your favour to grow from nothing to luxuries beyond your dreams.

Discover a lost land. Leave your home and find another one somewhere far where the sky is a different colour.

Return a prodigal son. Come back home from the journey of a lifetime and see it with different eyes to the ones you left with.

Make people laugh. “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come”.

Make people cry. “To weep is to make less the depth of grief”.

Die a thousand times over and come back stronger than ever.