Now that I’m sitting here trying to do it, I’m reminded of a quote I heard in a discussion on the music of Charlie Parker. “Being asked to talk about Charlie Parker is like falling off a cliff and then trying to stop yourself.” Thats kind of how I feel about art as it pertains to my life, I’m not totally sure how to say it precisely but I’ll try.
I’ve always had a single pursuit in life; making art. Wether it’s music, painting, photography, writing, woodworking, since I was a small kid making things has been the whole ballgame for me. I started out in art programs in grade school and middle school where I became comfortable with visual art. I was president of an after school wood working club in high school where I discovered woodturning and fine carpentry as a medium. After high school I traveled for years In touring bands, writing and recording music(something I still do and love). In 2010 I started the original Nighthouse studio with some friends in the Flat Iron Arts Building here in Chicago. For a time I lived in a converted school bus RV traveling the American west where I developed a love of photography and capturing moments through the lens. So if the question in describing myself as a creative is, “What does art mean to my life?” The answer is It’s been the filter that all my life experience has come through. Which to me, as you can tell by the tone of this post, is pretty fucking cool.
So I guess if I’m answering the question “what does art mean to my life” by just saying “Its everything” then maybe the better question is why? Why art? Why making things? Sure, its fun, but why is it fun? I think what it really boils down to for me is; I like solving problems. I’m not saying all the joy of art can be deduced to the satisfaction of simply solving a problem. It’s different for everyone. I’m saying the elegance of using the proper tool for the job can stir the same feeling in you that an artistic representation of an idea or belief can. When you disassemble artistic self expression into its basic elements this becomes a bit more clear. You’re charged with a task, you implement an action, and if the action is effective, you come to a solution. From that viewpoint it sounds like I’m describing fixing a transmission, but in application it’s a relatively analogous process. The task is that you want to evoke a certain emotion in others. The action you implement is the art you use to relay the proper information to evoke that emotion, and the more creative and nuanced you are with executing the action, the more rewarding the solution to both you as the artist and to the observers. Problem, creative action, solution. I think a lot of artists would wince at the machination of that description, but it’s an apt description of how art makes sense for me and an answer to the question of why I pursue it so heavily and perpetually. When I have an idea for something, digging into it and finding the best way to express it is the most gratifying part of the process.
For me, art is the heartbeat of my life and the reason why is I enjoy the process of rooting out the proper means to express an idea. There is a lot more to discuss on this and everything else I touched on briefly here so I will be updating this blog regularly with my own art as well as thoughts on creativity, music, the business side of being a creative, and all other things art related. So here’s a quote from Shopenhauer and a weird thing I made in 1st grade.
“But what kind of knowledge is concerned with that which is outside and independent of all relations, that which alone is really essential to the world, the true content of its phenomena, that which is subject to no change, and therefore is known with equal truth for all time, in a word, the Ideas, which are the direct and adequate objectivity of the thing in-itself, the will? We answer, Art, the work of genius. It repeats or reproduces the eternal Ideas grasped through pure contemplation, the essential and abiding in all the phenomena of the world; and according to what the material is in which it reproduces, it is sculpture or painting, poetry or music. Its one source is the knowledge of Ideas; its one aim the communication of this knowledge.”