Economic downward spiral. Right at the time some very creative financial titans have made-off, and that’s a bad thing. I heard Chuck Close the painter say something interesting recently, “An artist will lose everything and still go right back into the studio and get to work, contrast that with the fact that nobody at Bear Stearns offered to go in and work a year for free to keep their company going.” Is that a cheap shot? We need to see creative passion infiltrate our financial districts. Industry is what is going to carry us out of this mess and we need our corporations to get all Van Gogh on the bottom line. I wanna see more pliable, organic thinking middle managers free associate with some dry erase markers!
With this economic strain comes a sobering reality check on what is meaningful. Communities often commission public art to reflect what’s eating at them. The WPA of the depression era, the Works Progress Administration, left behind an incredible legacy of over 5,000 jobs created for artists who produced over 225,000 works of art for the American people. This seems like a foreign idea in our present times. I hope I’m wrong. During your next visit to your downtown post office, look at the murals, they carry themes of hope from a time in our country’s history when dreams weren’t allowed to be quashed by economic disaster.
Adversity elicits talents which lay unused in prosperity. You are are whittled down to your unique strengths, reduced to your fighting weight. So friends, investors, Git out there and help where you can,.. activate the creative mind!”
~ Prosperity discovers vice, adversity discovers virtue. ~ Francis Bacon
While contemplating art or expressing yourself creatively, it’s the only time you can really say “what is true for ME?” And this isn’t any passive question. you become fully engaged in this moment in time. You get to be here now. But instead we spend the majority of our waking life regretting the last thing and savoring the next. Or we have trouble ‘getting to that place’ and being in the moment because we are seduced by the tools themselves, distracted by pretty things and not finding substance.
Immersing myself in the digital realm certainly changes the game.
Recently I had the idea I might open a movie theater in ‘Second Life’ in order to screen ‘the Muse’. I created my Avatar and learned to walk and sit down, and met many other people. In real time. I say ‘real time’ tongue in cheek, because in this instance, what IS real?
I was invited to go dancing. What? Think about it. Watching yourself dance online. You purchase and ‘wear’ dance moves.And yet in ‘real life’, as people refer to it ‘in here’, you are sitting at a desk. As part of a community. MMM, kinda
How about this? A digital system by Rationalcraft can literally change your outlook.
A tracking device follows your movements and views of the golden gate feel genuine.
This certainly takes you to another place. I like this, it’s evocative. I think the Muse would like this.
It’s so difficult for most of us to allow ourselves the creative moment. To invite the Muse in.
Are we afraid we’ll ‘lose ourselves?’ That is both a threat and a promise, isn’t it?
Ahh, transcending time and place. Ironically, this is when we feel the most immediate, the most alive. How do we get to that place? By transcending place.
Turn off your inner critic, don’t sweat it. Just do it. This is where true meaning bubbles up, where the invisible becomes visible.
Editor: Every now and again, I myownself ends up in from of the camera, but I think this project is at it’s best when someone else, a kindered spirit, shares a sentiment that resonates and I can pass it along. The more voices included, the better and we can often hear our own thoughts amongst them. But still, there are those times when I’m compelled to sit down, stare into the camera and just say it!
Voiceover: Here I am in the opening to issue #3 of the Muse DVD publication two years ago. The Muse is the source material for this idea culture site and the 40 or so remarkable interviews published so far will ultimately end up online. Until then this blog begins the rapport. I got out of the habit since then of having myself on camera, but it is nice to establish who the heck is creating this idea culture venture. People told me to stop wearing the tie, but I like the respect it gave the subject.
As the editor of ‘the Muse’, it’s my intention to seek out conversations with people about the creative process as it is experienced by the people I meet. Yet inevitably I am going to run across my own experiences with the creative spark, which sounds obvious, but is somehow is unexpected as I turn my focus outwards.
Recently during a trip to the southwest, I experienced what I can only describe as a rash of coincidences which compelled me to write down the following thoughts in my journal, and I quote (myself):
I open a book of poetry and the poem on the page I read is so poignant to the group I am sitting with that I have to laugh. As I am in my workspace editing to gather images, they fall together in such a remarkable and satisfactory way, that it seems certain this is beyond my ability to plan. The joy that is fueled by this serendipity has me feeling thankful to some outside source, like a muse is casting a wand with a positive spell on my process. Are these validations telling me I am on the right path? Sometimes I feel like snapping “Okay, okay! I get it! I’ll never doubt you again!”
I have lived in different cities around this country and I know that this thinking may be considered a left coast tendency on my part. Certainly I cannot leave everything I do up to some outside fate if I am to keep my head about me. But I still teeter between such perspectives. Yet whether the lightening strike of inspiration comes from somewhere out of the ether or the diligence of showing up at the workbench day after day, I know that there are so many opportunities lying in wait on many levels if I stay engaged to the creative work and I know I have to keep after these good things.
This is how the opening sequence looked for the sixth issue of the Muse DVD Periodical, which is the source material for this idea culture project:
Voiceover: Often I’ve heard creative friends say ‘ideas are cheap’ I have millions of them,.. the tools of the trade for an artist are the actual ideas themselves and the tough work is separating out the wheat from the chaff.
Of course this is great fun, but there’s also this responsibility to see an idea to it’s true potential…
to coax a real gem out of the rough. But you have to be looking…
There are big ideas and small ideas, ideas as big as christo’s central park gates project or as simple as watching paint dry….
So go enjoy the sights, have your fun, go explore, activate the creative mind!
Plutarch – The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.
Voiceover: I often think about how roads I choose not to take remain these unknown opportunities.
Wayne Gretzky – You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.
Voiceover: But even more than the decisions I’ve made, there are things I’ve looked right past.
Mark Twain – You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
Voiceover: Part of the job description of being human is that we engage ourselves as we move through the motions of our days.
I call this my gerbil mode when I’m bustling along too quickly and I miss the certain color the sky is at that moment. Inspiration is all around.
Albert Einstein – Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Voiceover: Every day, small gifts, opportunities appear. It is up to us to receive them or not.
E. L. Doctorow – It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
Voiceover: Stay engaged, stay open. Trust.
As we move through our lives, keeping the creative mind activated takes work,..
Thomas Alva Edison – Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Voiceover: …but that is what our conversation is about here, isn’t it?
John Saxe – Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.
Voiceover: If you happen upon the Muse along the road, stop and say hello.
Charles Du Bos – The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
Music: David Larstein