Art is a Self-Evolving School

One of the greatest teachers/teaching systems I’ve accidentally found is art – doing art – practicing art. Not the art itself – that’s only a byproduct in this case, a dead form – but the process. The process is infinitely more interesting than the art itself in this approach, because in one session – one “class” – you can learn multiple lessons. You can watch how the lesson changes from one to another, as if it is careening along an unpredictable sea. You can watch them like three-dimensional idea shapes floating by your perception; you can watch when they come up, and when they fade. And when they fade there is often a moment of absence, an absence of idea, a blank space (not necessarily meant to be filled by a man’s name), a darkness that is not “dark” in our current sense. In those moments, too, you see that any path you happen to go – any flow of ideas you sail down – is just one possible progression. But how do you divide yourself into numerous points of perception and go all ways?

Beyond forced grade school classes, I’ve never studied art formally, so a more formal, intentional approach is not the type of practice I’m talking about. In crude terms it could be said that I’m talking about the exact opposite. However, they’re not mutually exclusive within one person. You could just as well practice both. Only, they are very different processes. The kind of practice I’m talking about doesn’t focus as much on perfecting a technical skill, nor does it start with an idea of what it will be; it starts with an impulse only, perhaps an idea that hasn’t taken concrete form. The space for an idea. Oddly, the more you do it, the less you can say what it is. It becomes characterized only by its state.

I feel that you can learn any lesson in this school. It is – maybe up to a certain limit, I can’t know – self-evolving, or self-sustaining, or grows with you. That is, everything is in the classroom. In the moments when you are making art for no sake (whatever that looks like) you are as if suspended and, perfectly easily, without any effort or strain, you learn. All that’s required is patience and sensitivity.

Art can teach you how not to think but simply do, in a fluid rush that does not feel rushed. It can teach you to passively watch your style evolve and do nothing about it. It can teach you economy, that less is more if you mark in the exact appropriate spots, and how to recognize those spots. It can teach you exactly when to stop. It can teach you to take risks and be fearless. It’s a vehicle for destruction, for gentleness, for any emotion or catharsis. It’s a vehicle for messing up. Above all, art can teach you to be free, and by being free you learn everything else. In freedom you do something for nothing, for the sake of learning. Art can teach you to make something without knowing, at any point, what it will be. It eliminates the next step. It teaches you different approaches toward the same thing – toward anything. It can teach you how to keep an overview while working out the details. It teaches you lessons that you can apply to anything else. It slips in and out seamlessly.

Art – and analyzing art’s process – is also a great tool for procrastination.

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Putting up part 1 of my book, The Invisible Forest

I’m almost done editing part 2 of the book I’ve been working on for the past year, titled The Invisible Forest/The Impossible Life, and I’m putting up part 1. Download and enjoy!

The_Invisible_Forest

Here is a brief synopsis. (Each part can be read standalone, though part 2 would have no impact if done so.)

The Invisible Forest opens with a nameless man who finds something vaguely discomfiting about his good, ordinary life. One morning he abandons said life and walks along the highway and into the woods. Where the forest ends, another one that is invisible begins. He walks inside and interacts with a host of beings who tell him that the forest doesn’t exist while, at the same time, he learns more about it. Eventually he ends up right where he started.

Part 2, The Impossible Life, opens with an eccentric middle manager named Yan who has just awoken from a dream about a beautiful forest that has made a jarring impression upon him. He proceeds to spend his days trying to return to the invisible forest, to the detriment of his life and the humor of his coworkers.

Should you want to buy it for the Kindle, it’s on Amazon for $.99. And should you want a print copy, that’s on Amazon, too.

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One of those songs…

Best love song

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Thematically Linked

watcher Continue reading

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Drawings From Late 2014

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Marriage Inside the Tree of Love Continue reading

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No Elegance Inside Stress

This gallery contains 14 photos.

No Elegance Inside Stress

11/03-11/09/14 Continue reading

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Happy day. Found a playlist of interviews with some of my favorite musicians.

I discovered a great playlist on YouTube recently that does interviews with some of my favorite musicians and bands. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE41A65C99CED0F89

Loved the ones with Do Make Say Think, Cerberus Shoal, and James Blackshaw. Music from all of those was in the playlist I wrote The Invisible Forest/The Impossible Life to. Also Six Organs is hilarious and not at all what I expected based on the music he makes. One of the most mind-boggling things I’ve observed in the past year or two is how little correlation there is between the style that someone produces in art/music/what have you and their personality/affect. It could seem like two completely different people. At other times it makes perfect sense (which seems to be the case more often with singer-songwriters… or maybe I’m getting ahead of myself without conducting enough field research).

Some of the most turbulent, jarring, and singular (read: not calm) personalities I’ve known produce some of the most balanced, harmonious works I’ve ever seen. Conversely, I come off pretty calm in person, but my stuff rarely conveys such a feel. I suppose it could be related to the phenomenon of not making the kind of music you yourself listen to. I mean you could certainly try to steer things in a stylistic direction you like, but if you let yourself go free you really don’t choose where it takes you. It happens on its own, and you’re as if merely a filter of personality that bends the rays.

Anyway, a lot of the music from the aforementioned bands here not only became associated with the book I’ve been writing for the past year but helped create it, too. Sort of like a fertile ground or clearing space for the ideas to crop up from. I think this is what good music does. It creates a space behind the mind. Which I *think* is what James Blackshaw was saying in his interview, too. Watch it, that was one good interview.

 

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