Live Poet’s Society: Aloft

Beauty among ugliness -
Beauty among ugliness –

The following is a poem written by an artist I have come to not only respect but like – Check out his writing at www.bendonley.com – Or to keep him fed, hire him to be your SEO and marketing guru.

Question is:  Do people read poems anymore?  Are there any romantics or philosophers left to consume good words placed well?

I think this stuff is beautiful – sad and desperate – but beautiful.

What is your take on it?

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                                                Aloft

In the meantime, as a lily aloft in dead fields –

Thoughtful

Kind and beautiful one could be

Better

Becoming better

Instead of seeking greatness in human memory

Instead of chasing

Just being planted here

Watered from below and above

Bent by winds but never carried away by trends that prevail

Being okay with a day to day placement

Thankful

Less likely to bemoan this stay or to pursue a stray escape

Days will go and come and go and then they won’t

Lily no longer

Pressures to be a rose, long gone

To impress, long gone

To do, long gone

 

May this meantime not be mean time

May this meantime not be me time

May this meantime not be meaningless

 

I wait aloft in these dead fields, and not alone.

 

B.D.

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Don’t you ever feel just like this?  Like you are stuck in a spot where you don’t belong?  Like you are the only one who is trying to live out beauty when everyone else has decided to decompose?

I can so identify with the pain of this guy’s stuck-ness.  I can also identify with his desire for the days to come to an end so that all the pressures of this world can be taken away.

I’m a big Kingdom of God believer and I want it to come – I think he does too.  Anyway, regardless of what you believe as far as afterlife, I think we can all agree that this now-life is a hard one.  And I think we can also agree that if we are going to be here a while in the midst of “dead fields,” we might as well stand tall showing off our creation and we better find someone willing to stand with us.

There ain’t nothing like lonely, boys!

Okay – Do your art today – whatever it is – And do it well!

ArtCAT? Do we deserve a pass?

punch
I have a friend who has a very different mind than mine.  And a very different passion.
He wants to become a plastic surgeon, which he says is going to be his way of bringing art and medicine together.
“People will be my canvas.”
That’s what he always says with tongue in cheek, because he knows that in truth, “People will be his meal ticket.”
He is an “artist” who will never starve – that is, if he can get into medical school, pass it, not kill a bunch of people during his residencies, and not become an opiate addict or Fight Club style insomniac.
I think he will make it.
Anyway, he said something to me the other day as he headed off to attend his official  2015 mcat prep course with an armload of some “great study” books that are known as mcat examkrackers or maybe mcat animal crackers or possibly both.
Here is what he said that challenged me quite a lot:  “It’s funny to me that I do all of this mcat prep to even get the chance to become the sort of doctor I want to be.  But, you don’t do any sort of prep to become the sort of artist you need to become.  You just grab a piece of paper and write.  Or you grab a roll of canvas and start painting.  No wonder you artists starve…”
He was half joking and half raising a vital question I’ver never given much thought to:  As an artist, what sort of devoted preparations do I make to even qualify as someone who is worthy to do art?
I once studied art.
I’ve read books.
I’ve been to museums.
I’ve taken some online guitar lessons.
I’ve watched Rachel Ray.
I’ve attended conferences.
But, I cannot say with confidence that I’ve even come close to the sorts of prep that my friend has entered into.  This dude sweats brain blood over a standardized mcat test and will have to go crossfit hard and harder each step of his process.
Do I sweat over anything?
Should I throw myself into some sort of Cubist-Dostoevsky-Jimmy Page-Julia Childs-Krackers course?
Should artists have to prep harder to become worthy to be named artists?
Or should we just kind of get a pass?  Should we just trial and error our way to artistic genius?  Hope really hard as we create that our creations are excellent?
Maybe we should start a program that has some measurables…
Maybe we need a ArtistCAT to determine if we should even be admitted to galleries and bookstores and kitchens and stages…
What do you think about this?
Should I just punch my buddy in the face the next time he acts like his “art” has been earned while mine has not?
Should I just punch him for the hell of it?
Comment away my fellow artists – that is if you have the energy.  I know starvation can make you pretty weak…

Betterness? Don’t be Bitter, baby!

It’s not easy giving credit to someone else who does something better than you do – It’s actually quite difficult to just go ahead and say, “Yes, that guy or girl or guy identifying as a girl or girl identifying as a black elephant has created something I only wish I could create.”  And then to just leave it there – without qualifications or subtle digs to make yourself feel better about getting the silver or bronze medal.

Admitting it is key to one’s own freedom.

There are people who write better than me.

There are people who paint better than me.

There are people who design better than me.

There are dogs who cook better than me.

There are cats who play guitar better than me.

There are actors who will always act better than me.

There are rappers who rap better than me (“Say it, Kanye.  Every day!”)

On down the line.

Once you can just say it out loud and without making excuses for yourself, you can then get back to just doing your art as a humble supporter rather than as a mad competitor.

Saying that someone did something better than you is now equal to admitting that you suck at what you do.  It’s simply recognizing the quality of someone else who is doing their best to add value to a sick and polluted planet.

Admitting someone else’s “better-ness”  also does not mean that you have to quit trying – Just because someone else has struck artistic gold or found the direct line to an ancient/present/future zeitgeist, does not mean that you need to move on to something else.

I cannot live up to Rothko or E.A. Poe, but does that mean there aren’t color and syllabic combinations still available to me that might catch someone’s eyes or ears.

You don’t have to capture the Pulitzer or land something in the Louvre – You might just capture one mind and inspire it to do and be better.

Can you live with that?

I can.

I have to.

Too many blank pages and too much blank canvas out there –

Too much need for attempted beauty.

I give credit to Ben Donley for his honest blogs and to my favorite unknown author, Loud A. Smith, for waking me up to this reality.  We artists must stick together and encourage one another to keep at creation in all of its forms.

I’ll even end this blog with a shout out to Kimye for “creating” one heck of a cute kid – Go North!

Till next time…

northwest

 

The Love of Money is the Root of All Artistic Compromise?

DreamTaxi Marketing and Media drives artists like me to where we want to go.
DreamTaxi Marketing and Media drives artists like me to where we want to go.

The Bible’s famous statement that the love of money is the root of all evil seems to be quite true – not only on the macro level, but on the micro levels.

Are there exceptions to this generalization?

As with anything, there most certainly are exceptions – but the aforementioned statement has so much the majority of evidence and proof from about every biological, political, and historical record that the exceptions are like grains of sand on an interstellar beach the size of Jupiter.

Loving money drives direct and indirect evil in every industry and this evil via financial affinity does not miss the hearts of even the best artists.

One can easily see compromise in art as even its dedicated starvers get sick of starving and trade in their beauty making and become designers of what the masses demand.  All of us artists run at some speed – some slower than others in hopes of maintaining a form of protest to the almost imminent and required kowtow – toward salary – willing, even with loud groaning, to afford life.

But do we really have to give up our vision of art in whatever creative field we have found?  Can’t we instead become a night stocker at a grocery store or a night stalker for the FBI to get paid and leave our art in its pure state?

I guess it is the choice of each artist – I find it to be a tough one for me most days.

But, I usually side with the love of my art to lead me into some sort of deeper satisfaction than to side with my love of money – which might lead me to a nicer house and car, but leave me with a rather “evil” taste in my mouth.

What about you?

When was the last time you chose the love of art over the love of money?

How do you keep yourself from compromising your vision when the money offer seems too good to be true?

The author Loud A. Smith, a friend of mine, says about his book series entitled “Mesus“:  “I could have very easily turned this story into a crowdpleaser with a compromising tweak here and a dumbing down there – I could have made a lot more money from it.  But, if I had pleased the crowd to pocket green paper, I would not have been able to look at myself in the mirror.  And I definitely would not have liked what I put out there.  I may drive a 2006 Saab, but at least I didn’t drive myself mad by loving money more than my version of art.”

His Saab sucks.

But, his words don’t.

Comment away my friends…

Check out his world at Loudsmith Media when you can in the meantime…

 

Tongue of the Taster: Consuming Art

DreamTaxi Marketing and Media drives artists like me to where we want to go.
DreamTaxi Marketing and Media drives artists like me to where we want to go.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then why is it that many people who buy “beauty” based on their beholding are judged by experts and art critics as being “blind”.

Why do pieces of art even have official critics if “art attempting beauty” has been given individualized and subjective criteria?

The only expert in determining beauty is me when I behold a piece of art and my opinions of it only matter to me – (same for you)

Bring it back to supply and demand –

Our world demands critics and experts and beauty reviewers because it’s individuals are too afraid to accept the responsibility of determination – We want someone else to tell us how to see.  Thus, there is an ample supply of “seers” who are trained and educated to be our personifications of perspective.  “This is good.  This is art.  This is not.  This is trash.”

And most of us believe them.

Too bad really.  This belief leaves us fearful of making wonderful snap judgments about creations all around us.  We dare not devour the art around us because what if our consumption is based on an untrained palate for the palette – what if what we think is foie gras is judged to be Twinkie meat by the experts?

We do not need to be told what beauty is YET we “need” to be told what beauty is because we are convinced we are not gifted with the innate ability to judge for ourselves.  Our taste buds are specially made to taste beauty suited to us and satisfactory to us, but we dare not consume or be an art consumer, because there are not enough of the trained “tongues” to tell us we are not wasting our money on bad sight.

Advice from my grandfather when told that his clothing style was too odd, too strange, and too far outside the boundaries of “normal” taste:  “I set the style.  I think it looks good and thus it looks good.  I buy what I see to be cool and have the balls to wear it.  If you don’t like it, don’t buy it and feel free to look the other way.  But, I’m not changing.”

Basically a big middle finger to those who wait to see until someone else sees for them.

My advice:  See beauty today.  Ask no one what they think.  Buy it.  Become an art consumer for the sake of living out a cliche boldly.

I continue to give a shout out to the marketing and media creators at  Dream Taxi, because they make and consume beauty and art without social media acceptance to let them know it’s okay.  I will roll with them all day, every day.

The Attitude of Art: Famine is hard

logo copy

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“You talking to me?”  “You talking to me?”

One of the most important parts of Art is the attitude – The Attitude that goes into making art and the Attitude that goes into buying art.

We will deal with the Attitude of the artist in this post and then take on the consumer attitude of art in the next one.

As a creator of various forms of art, I try to stick to my subjective definitions of art so that I am not hampered by the “proper” ways to make something into “SOMETHING.”  Basically, if I decide to make something, I imagine it and then go for it like an architect who has a foundational framework but no real consuming blueprint other than the design living in my head.

This is how I create a form of beauty, which is pleasing to me.  If I can make something that is beautiful to me, even if it shades toward “ugly” or “distressed” or “odd,” I will be satisfied even if those around me or even those far beyond me (critics and people outside of the spheres of my influence) find it “un-beautiful.”  Keeping my art as art to me might make me financially poor, but it leaves me as the chief guard of my artistic vision and gives me the complete responsibility for how much I sell-out or don’t sell-out.

No one but the original artist can be blamed for compromising the design.

ADVICE:  Writers, sculptors, painters, chefs, directors, photographers, etc. – Do not blame the buyers, editors or the critics for “making you sell out your vision.”  Selling-out is on you and you alone.

I’ve had to deal with this crucial thing several times and I have found peace in this:  Buck stops here, baby!

Big Shout out to our creative friends at Dream Taxi Media and Marketing for helping us and helping others achieve their visions without compromise.  Much love to Loudsmith Media for having the guts to put out edgy design and content even when no one will touch it…

Quoting Loud A. Smith himself – “To starve takes guts.”