Art vs. Craft. Interesting vs. Snooze-fest (part 1)
Three weeks ago I strained my vocal chords in tech-rehearsal for a live show I’d be performing two days later. I had lost track of technique as I passionately let notes and volume fly recklessly… I was frustrated, stressed, pushing, trying to impress and express, with no regard or respect of my own physical instrument. Like a carpenter carelessly flailing a clawed framing hammer, I smashed my chords like he might crush his thumb…
It was as if I was painting naked on ice, while covered with razor blades.
[insert photo later]
I’ve mentioned my interview with a two-time Oscar winner in a few recent posts… And while much of what he said is still resonating inside of me, especially a statement he made about art verses craft. I would certainly misquote him if I tried to write what he said off camera, but basically it was something like: One mistake he’s seen people make throughout his life was/is considering songwriting an art, and not a craft.
Since, I’ve been looking at art verses craft… “Art” is something readers know I have questioned often. What is art? What is craft? Where are the lines drawn? Who draws the line? Why does any of it matter?
I truly believe with any form of creative expression, it has to be a mix. When I watch someone on stage or TV just being a craftsman, it’s much like watching someone build a house. It’s pretty damn boring to watch for more than a few moments. And, when I see someone expressing without any technique, while it can be exciting and dangerous, often someone, or something gets broken… It can be like watching an actual train wreck, or even worse, like watching someone go through therapy.
Balancing art with craft or craft with art… That’s the sweet spot of magic. Because of the craftsmanship, it can safe, measured and repeated, but because of the art, it is fascinating, unpredictable, and will never exactly duplicated or expressed in the same way.
Synchronicity vs. Coincidence. Skeptic vs. Believer. (part 2)
This might be one of those posts that, like an abstract painting hanging on it’s own wall, might make not make a bit of sense to ten people, but maybe it hits the eleventh person.
Or possibly I’m writing this down, just continuing to figure the same things out, over and over and over, for myself.
I mentioned Synchronicity in a Facebook post this past week…
synchronicity: Spending the morning fine tuning the writing for a one-man show and that same morning having a two time Academy-Award winner call you, and tell you that an idea hit him on his walk…
“Have you ever thought about doing a one-man show?”
Another synchronous moment happened this past Monday…
Sunday night, two friends raved about a massage therapist they had just seen, who practices acupressure and offers psychic insight along the way. Now, while I have a very strong, inner, New Jersey skeptic, ever since my trip to Burning Man two years ago, I do try to stay open, and adventure from time to time, even if it’s just fodder a possible future story.
Halfway thru our hour-long session the massage therapist declared she was getting a strong feeling that I was or should be a songwriter… Or that songwriting was in my life…
I had not mentioned my new friendship with Al Kasha (the songwriter I had been talking with recently), or the one-man show (with music) I had just finished re-writing. But, I’m sure she saw my music stand, headphones, Closet Singer paraphernalia, or some sheet music laying around. However, to make that particular moment odder, seconds later she commented on a pretty orange and yellow butterfly, apparently, flying just outside the screen door.
It was then I admitted to her that while I’d never consider myself a songwriter, I had written lyrics to a few songs, and one of them I had recorded was called “Butterflies In The Moon.”
Maybe nothing means anything… Or everything means something… I don’t know. More than likely it’s something in the middle. The truth is, if we open our eyes we are able to see butterflies on the other side of screen doors, and if we keep our eyes closed we’ll never even see the walls we’ll walk into.
Practice your craft, explore your art, open your eyes, try new things, be open to suggestions and new things… What harm is dancing around naked in your living room as long as the razor blades are put away?
One additional random thought…
You never know who is watching or when they’ll come to it… Last week some kid in a high school production of Oklahoma watched the Closet Singer I where I sang the song from that show… It seemed to inspire him. Last night a good friend and I did a mini-pub-crawl, and he told me something I had written inspired him to watch a certain movie, and it was eye-opening.
All we can do is offer…
Speaking of “offering…” I’m not really sure what this second half of this “offering” is… And I’m not ready to define it, or tie it up in a neat little bow for you… If all you just see is a random splattering of commonly used words displayed upon a digital canvas, so be it… But, if you are the eleventh, and happen to see something else, something behind the letters, grammar and spacing… Brilliant.
– Quiche Out