[I'd like you to picture a group therapy session taking place in the local library private room and me, standing up in my usual Carhart tan colored work pants, t-shirt and ripped cable sweater, a stupid trucker hat with Henn written on it in gold bow letters, wearing my big-ass glasses that are “Classic Glenn” topped off with a 3 day unshaven scruff on my face]
“Hello, My name is Glenn, and I have been a "creative" most all of my life. It was easy for me to imagine things, see color and structure, objects and design, concepts and ideas with nothing, from nothing,…It isn' that hard for me. But ask me how to solve a hypothesis or edit a paragraph for grammar, as you can tell, I am totally lost. But this is the beauty of being human, not because of individuality or because personalities but skill sets. This is why I am here today”
“Hello Glenn, we welcome you, We understand”
Skill sets are the over-looked gemstones that most people bypass unwittingly. They spend so much time trying to find their purpose, why was I put on this earth? Why am I here? What is my gift? It’s tiresome. I find that so many people are fans of reality television, singing competitions, tattoo shows and so on are watching for the entertainment but quietly, longingly coveting the competitors talents wishing they had a voice to sing, a knack for fabrics, a love of drawing. Truth be told, I am guilty as well.
Let me give you an example. I have always been a big fan of Project Runway since the beginning of the show when Bravo network was just in it infancy and trying everything. I watched every week, cheering on my favorite design or designer, critiquing their work like my opinion mattered, choosing a foe who was easily out skilled by all that were competing and even getting angry that they weren’t voted off the show, Auf Wierersehen.
There I am, sitting on my couch every week professing myself as an armchair Tom Ford, but in my heart of hearts I felt I could compete as a contestant on Project Runway. Competently. All this without ever once designing a dress or working a sewing machine…it can’t be that hard right? Once again, my creative arrogance rears its ugly but beautiful head. Fashion design is not in my skill set…or is it.
I spend an awful amount of time analyzing the meaning of creatively. What is the meaning and purpose of art? When I state the word “art”, I won’t spend any time discussing the old, dragged through the mud “what is art?” or “what is GOOD art?” question. It’s arguing that your wrong to like the taste of vanilla because chocolate matches the furniture better, or that Jackson Pollack was fraud because he JUST spattered paint everywhere! To clear the air on Pollack, my view is simple, yes he did splatter, he did it well and you could of done it, but guess what? You didn’t. Good for him for being a all drunked up creative “searcher” that found a way into to the charms of the art world then made it work “bigly” and died in a car wreck, world famous.
This brings me to my point; Why? Why do we care? So what if it’s just paint drips everywhere, So what if Tim Gunn gives a designer advice just to “make it work”?
So what if Oliver Peck thinks the tattoo artists lines on a “Traditional American” anchor is wonky? We, as the spectating public are offering nothing. We are either supporting and critiquing other peoples skill sets, Why do we do that?
In the hours I have spent trying to find my own lane in the creative arts and the countless hours I have spent in adoration of others, actively pursuing their skill set, I finally came to somewhat of a good place. A place that may be uncomfortable, a place that is not lined in velvet with underground party invites, but a place where a straight line is more subjective than objective. That place is unconditional personal trust, call it Creative Abdication.
Let’s play a mental game. Imagine yourself, walking down a city street during a First Friday Art walk event in the newest, coolest part of town. Your on a date and your doing your best to be worldly and culturally adept. Your walk into a gallery filled with full style people deeply engaged in the art. You walk in the room filled with the mumbling voices and the beat of old school jungle-house music with a Ska downbeat, so far so good. You locate the bar that thankfully isn’t serving any wine with a kangaroo on the label and is instead serving a local made gin gimlet with artisan olives and preserved limes. You’re in.
Now comes the reason you’re here. What about the art? You and your date walk past all the beautiful people to gaze and peruse the magnificence hanging on the walls that was single handedly responsible for bringing the the local art world to their knees… with great expectations you look with excitement at a 99% plank piece of paper, a little larger than 18”x 20” hanging on the wall by two thumbtacks, with a placard stating the works title and description;
Title: Emptiness #06
Desc. “Artist stared at this paper from 6 different vantage points for 36 hours with two bottle waters, Pink Floyd’s “War Pigs” on repeat during the Hurricane Erma, artist weathered on scared” (Sept 11 2017)
So, How do you feel?
Are you intrigued?
Are you entertained?
Are you going to get laid?
Or are you just pissed off?
Trust me, I would of been any or all of those. What did this exercise have to do with Creative Abdication? Pretty much everything.
I have been to many upon many openings like the one I just described, unsure of what or whom I might find, either being taken or moved by the art that is on display or just plain aggravated that people are buying into this shit and this lame ass artist, whom is getting away with what I would call fraud and deception.
Let’s distill this down more. Why do we let all of this affect us? What were you expecting? This is where the abdication comes into play, to resign ourselves to the art, to the environment, to the experience, and approach it as you would an alien observer.
This is how I have decided to look at many things in my life, everything from politics to the kind of car I like. Compete open-mindedness, not holding judgement or expectations but looking at things and people as if they where on display in a natural history museum, interested but distantly intrigued.
To be continued, love