About Me

My photo
New York, New York, United States
Mostly visual art and air guitar.

Back Issues

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Appetite for Creation Part 4: Comfortably Dumb

        "Old work tells you what you were paying attention to then; new work comments on the old by pointing out what you were not previously paying attention to."
         - David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

    It has been said that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat past mistakes. Strangely though, nowadays the trend seems to be that far too many are relying on bygone successes (due in part to the woefully stunted collective memory of recent generations raised on attention-span-sapping mass media) in order to mask their own deficiencies as true innovators of original expression. Witness the current rash of Hollywood remakes/reboots/re-imaginings of established material both domestic and foreign then ask if this counts as progress. There is no doubt that a winning formula should be milked for all its worth, but sooner or later that horse will die and thus leaves one with few alternatives to being chased down by pursuing wolves or finding yet another way to keep moving forward. Sun Tzu had posited how tactics that yielded positive results before will no longer be useful in later campaigns; the same gold mine that is forever dug into eventually becomes a grave. Evolution is but a leap of faith away from extinction.

    The individual impacts that the Beatles and Nirvana had on their contemporary music scenes are just two examples of how substance will NEVER go out of style. Decades apart, each group presented monumental changes in artistic efforts which at the time (1960's and 1990's, respectively) had either only begun to be explored or already run its course. Forging distinctive identities through tectonic shifts in attitude, composition, language, etc., they shed enduring illumination on a myriad of political, social, spiritual and economic issues that lacked open dialogues on. Even though the instruments and channels of conveying such radical ideas remained fundamentally unchanged over the course of thirty years, it was undeniably evident that the reactions to and perceptions of current themes which these separate artists brought to the forefront via popular entertainment resonated with an appreciative audience. Rock and roll (born from the blues and its recurring motif of dissatisfaction with life) was once a vital catalyst in bringing about cultural upheaval, and art should continue to play the same role today.

    For good or bad, once a piece of art is born it belongs to the world - regardless of whether the finished creation was intended for personal analysis or public view, a unique contribution has been made that in its own way has altered reality for any and all who experience it. Similarly to how eighty percent of a salesperson's efforts will come to fruition only once, it is the meager one of every five attempts that proves sustainable as long as the creative juices keep flowing. In some disciplines practice might lead to overall perfection, but the trapping illusion of flawless art is one that exacerbates the fear of uncertainty and spawns countless reasons to hold back one's best work. Trial and error are essential steps toward maturity and even the powers that be can get things wrong once in a while, which explains the existence of Nickelback. No risk means no reward, and the biggest loser (besides Chad Kroeger) is always the person who neglects to try anything new or different.

9-29-11: Baltimore - Washington Parkway, MD (click to enlarge)

9-29-11: Baltimore - Washington Parkway, MD (click to enlarge)

9-29-11: Baltimore - Washington Parkway, MD (click to enlarge)
12-14-11: Industrial building in Long Island City, NY (click to enlarge)

12-22-11: Streetlight in Jamaica, NY (click to enlarge)

12-22-11: Streetlight in Jamaica, NY (click to enlarge)

12-22-11: Streetlight in Jamaica, NY (click to enlarge)

12-22-11: Streetlight in Jamaica, NY (click to enlarge)

    Instead of endlessly retreading familiar grounds for the sake of nostalgia, tradition and security, the most logical course of action is to leave one's comfort zone which is no better than a prison unless its inhabitant can devise a way out. An oft-used phrase states that no door is closed without a window being opened; even if it's a long way down, anyone can fly free when the right mix of wisdom, strength and courage is applied to the circumstances. This world stays flat only if the mind cannot comprehend another dimension.

Note: The images taken in this series are from a Samsung SCH-u540 phone.

No comments:

Post a Comment