The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
~ Gustave Flaubert, French Writer
I am thankful for…
- My mother’s sassiness, understanding, forgiving nature, generous heart, and keen awareness of exactly when I’m not telling the truth
- My father’s spirit, twisted sense of humor, warrior soul (Rest in Peace, wherever you are)
- My family and friends
- All the artists, musicians, philosophers, scientists, and everyone in the world for inspiring me
To help celebrate the weekend of giving thanks, take a look at Christine Wong Yap’s latest work, Give Thanks (2011), showing in the UK. I’m incredibly thankful for her. She is one of the reasons why I write. I’m definitely grateful for her guidance and being an incredible art hero!!
More criticism, less support…
In the past couple of years, I’ve found myself working with some really extraordinary writers, thinkers, and artists. They challenge what I say, what I think, and how I write. I must say, I went looking for these people. If one wants to be great, one ought to look for the people doing and creating phenomenal things as well as illuminating the public. Struggle, uncertainty, and failure is imperative. Yet, do Bay Area artists struggle to excel? Is it true Bay Area (San Francisco)? Do you tell people they look great in a dress when they look more like a pug wrapped in saran wrap?
Too much of something can become bad. Excess of anything is probably not a good idea in the long-term. I was having a conversation with a friend about the Bay Area and how many tools (across disciplines) for creative types to innovate and create some phenomenal work (whether it be writing, artwork, or music) is quite abundant. Yet, the Bay Area suffers from an abundance of, are you ready (wait for it) – support (or, coddling). Although support is a great thing, it can be debilitating.
Does bad art exist? Yes!
I want to believe everything made on this earth is inherently good and possesses value (because that’s the optimist and the art lover in me). Yet, for an artwork to truly captivate and take me on some ridiculous intellectual and/or psychological ride coupled with tremendous mind-blowing epiphanies, innovation and something reflective needs to exist. Do I experience that feeling? Truth be told, not so much.
We can bust on the Tiger Mom all we want but at the end of the day her kids can sight read music and excel in school while college students across the US struggle to write a basic essay. My point: We need more critical discussion and discourse. AND, for goodness sake, stop telling people their art work is strong and awesome if it isn’t. Improve it by discussing WHY it is strong or weak. Don’t just say something is amazing, derivative (lame), poorly executed, or just plain sh*t. DISCUSS and make people deliver on their intent.
We can all learn a little something from Statler and Waldorf… 🙂
The percussed victims of the new technology have invariably muttered cliches about the impracticality of artists and their fanciful preferences. But in the past century it has come to be generally acknowledged that, in the words of Wyndham Lewis, “The artist is always engaged in writing a detailed history of the future because he is the only person aware of the nature of the present”. Knowledge of this simple fact is now needed for human survival. The ability of the artist to sidestep the bully blow of new technology of any age, and to parry such violence with full awareness, is age-old. Equally age-old is the inability of the percussed victims, who cannot sidestep the new violence, to recognize their need of the artist. To reward and to make celebrities of artists can, also, be a way of ignoring their prophetic work, and preventing its timely use for survival. The artist is the man in any field, scientific or humanistic, who grasps the implications of his actions and of new knowledge in his own time. He is the man of integral awareness.
~ Marshall McLuhan, Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar – Excerpt from Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium-that is, of any extension of ourselves-result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology. Thus, with automation, for example, the new patterns of human association tend to eliminate jobs, it is true. That is the negative result. Positively, automation creates roles for people, which is to say depth of involvement in their work and human association that our preceding mechanical technology had destroyed. Many people would be disposed to say that it was not the machine, but what one did with the machine, that was its meaning or message.
~ Marshall McLuhan, Educator, Philosopher, Scholar – Excerpt from Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
This can be taken so many ways but I’m wondering what people do with the machine? If they can even begin to define their interactions with technology and where the meaning lies. Interesting question considering people automatically look at their mobile devices when they enter an elevator, or feel compelled to talk or text while driving, or feel lost when the power goes out. Again, is your interaction with the machine/technology the meaning or the message?