Friday, May 31, 2013

There Is Where We Got Carried Away

"I do not believe in unscrambling scrambled eggs." Every time somebody asks me how I did something, part of me wants to slap them upside the head. I don't know. I never know. That's why it's art. We should never feel obligated to explain our process. First, it cheapens the product. Once you know how the magic trick is done, you lose all of the effect. Second, it corrupts the process. Once you know how to give someone an orgasm, you ruin it by trying too hard every time. Third, it defeats the purpose. Once you bastardize art into a factory, it's no longer art––it's a combination lock.

"This is where we got carried away." One of our technology vendors made that comment during a demo this week. Put a huge grin on my face. Sure enough, the product they demoed was mind blowing. Mind. Blowing. All because they got carried away. They chased a whimsy and let their imaginations run wild. And it took them to places they never thought possible. That's innovation. Inspired by Walmart's augmented reality.

"Individuality resides in the way links are made." When I was in fifth grade, we practiced analogies. We'd compare things that were usually thought to be different from each other, but had similarities, i.e., knife : cut :: ruler : measure. I was smitten. Coolest exercise ever. Little did I know, analogous thinking would become an invaluable skill. The ability to notice patterns, make relationships between disparate subjects and connect unlikely dots is perhaps the most underrated skill on the planet. We just have to ask ourselves, "Did you ever notice that this looks like this?" Inspired by an interview with Anne Carton.

"With fame and reputation, you have to follow your own act." Robert Crumb makes a powerful point––success doesn't breed contempt, it breeds expectation. The audience is waiting to see what your next trick is, and they demand it to be better than the first. And if you don't deliver, they won't be happy. Tough crowd. My thought is, why not just find a new theater?  

"You don’t need to write a novel if you feel at home in the world." My wedding ring is made of meteorite. Fitting, since I've always felt like kind of an alien. But after reading this interview with Andrew Barrett, I'm convinced that the very feeling of alienation is the very fuel that makes great art happen. Thank god our society produces not-of-this-world folk who take ownership of their outsiderness and alchemize it into beauty. Humankind is overrated.