I have a fun and exciting opportunity to shoot some beautiful beachside scenery while on vacation. I'm really excited about being creative with my camera and just having fun doing what I love. I watched a few minutes of, "The Tree of Life", and screen grabbed inspiring visuals. Beauty is everywhere when you work hard to find it.
It was a Summer Sunday morning, Diane had gone out to pick up coffee and I was in charge of cooking breakfast and watching Logan. I decided to teach him how to help me cook breakfast, and that idea was immediately followed by the notion, "this would make a cute video". I ran off to grab my camera and when I came back, Logan was already spilling pancake batter on the floor. I won't lie, my first thought was, "of course? you can't shoot a video and teach a toddler how to cook at the same time All by myself".
For me, that moment of doubt, is what I love about being an artist, the barrier separating what's easy and what's worthwhile. The value can be a lesson of abject failure, practice with handling obstacles or sometimes it can actually be the ingredient toward the quality of a piece that really works.
This was a special moment, one that I feel like was captured accurately, and one that I personally will cherish as both a parent and an artist.
A privilege of our information consuming culture is how much creativity is used in today's educational material. Here are a few of my favorites examples of how I went from being a Beavis & Butthead obsessed "D" student, into a self-taught science-nerd.
I love inventing rituals on the fly. One of those is watching "Planet Earth" blu-rays on Christmas morning while opening gifts with my family. With the fire-place keeping us warm, a snow-leopard hunting in the mountain landscapes, opening presents with loved ones and staying cozy in warm pajamas, I can enjoy my own personal twist on this long-held tradition.
Episode one of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" reboot with Neil deGrasse Tyson is what inspired me to write this piece. When I was a child, learning was presented as an art-less boring chore that required WORK, meanwhile video games and movies engaged my imagination with creativity, personality and joy. But the scientists of today have become the entertainers, and many of our artists are incorporating science into their art. Astronomers are no longer seen as the anti-social nerd, trapped in a stuffy college lecture hall and monotonously reading from a 1950s text book, instead they are using every platform available to reach the public and pontificate on the wonders of the universe with the inspiration of their celestial muses. Art is the best gateway to knowledge.
I have to thank the greatest icon of my generation for wild-life enthusiasm, "The Crocodile Hunter", his animal planet tv-series aired everyday after school. If it wasn't for the access to his wonderful personality and love for the animal kingdom, I don't know how I would have defined my love and respect for our planets living-beings. It is to just "Otherize" the weird, scary and dangerous creatures of our planet. But in the 90s, when you turned on this channel, chances were good that Steve would be holding that thing you fear, wearing a huge smile and telling you something incredible about how that being thrives in their habitat. Knowledge became a new perspective to combat the fears of our ignorance.
In a world with the conveniences of high-speed internet and smart-phones, it is getting easier and easier to neglect the value of a long-from conversation. Podcasts keep me engaged in what feels like an open-source dialogue filled with compelling personalities discussing a variety of subjects. Running errands, yard-work, commuting to work, and exercising, our now an opportunity for me to learn, laugh and be inspired by unique conversations from around the globe.
I know the examples cited above can serve as a distraction from reality. I could find inspiration from people I actually know, I can explore the cosmos in my backyard with binoculars or engage pleasantly with a stranger in public because I'm not wearing ear-buds blasting the, "Welcome to Night Vale" podcast in my ears. To those valid concerns I argue that technology has inspired me to do more with my life, not less. Google taught me how to cook, cure back-pain, and remodel my a bathroom. Podcasts have inspired me to live healthier, care about politics and discover interesting films or books. Nature-series and documentaries have kept me connected to the experiences of fellow life-forms and the well-being of our habitat. So that when I do unplug from technology, I have a rich understanding of my surroundings, and new ideas to experience with them.
I don't want to over indulge on technology, but I don't want to take it for granted either; instead I just wish to appreciate everything and everyone that keeps me from being someone that isn't boring in a conversation.
Last night I discovered a musician that blew my mind. Her bio from Kawehi.com says (in its entirety):
"what you don't know won't kill you."
Music is one of my big artistic blind-spots. I had fun playing around with guitars as a teenager, I know a few Blues licks on a Harmonica and I can listen to Radiohead until the cows come home, but now music is something I'm either not paying attention to, or I'm stressing about what song to use in a video.
This wonderful and talented woman figuratively slapped me in the face and said, "Hey! This is art, enjoy it!"
With all praise and accolade for Kawehi stated above, I also want to sing the praises of the directors, cinematographers, set-designers and editors she uses in her videos. This is top-notch filmmaking. The next time I book a music video, I will be looking back on this work for inspiration.
I love talking about movies that inspire me to be creative, but this film has become a yearly exercise to appreciate the beautiful nuance capable in this medium.
I just watched the first fifteen-minutes and felt an emotional response to the visuals alone. I love how the style feels sincere yet subtle; and I'm fascinated by how it tip-toes near the line separating random nonsense and the poetically abstract.
What I'm learning from this exercise is to have patience while developing my voice. I need to be present and focused on personal growth, rather than chasing some prestige ideal of "good art".