Pulled from Everything Is a Remix
Pulled from Everything Is a Remix
John Stewart interviews George Carlin. 1997. Fucking awesome.
I like how Carlin refers to his alcoholic father (that he never knew) as brilliant, but “couldn’t metabolize ethanol efficiently.”
Not to mention his great insights into drugs, work ethic and how he saw himself as an artist on a journey, not necessarily just a comedian.
Simon Kuper on the difference between artists and people would say they want to be artists:
Over evening beers many years ago, a housemate unfolded his career plans to me. He was going to remain an estate agent until he “hit his number”. Then he would finally pursue his vocation and become a film producer. He never did, of course, but this type of fantasy is common among us wage earners, especially in early September when the daily grind restarts. Now we are “working for the man”, but one day we will make movies, set up an organic prune company, or finally write that novel.
It’s clich√© but true—the most important thing is just starting. I don’t care if it’s fitness or art or writing. Just start. It’s most likely going to be crappy, but eventually the crappy phase will pass and you’ll get better.
Ideas come from the Earth. They come from every human experience that you’ve either witnessed or have heard about, translated into your brain in your own sense of dialogue, in your own language form. Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. Ideas are probably in the air, like little tiny items of ozone.
Felt and emotionalized? Isn’t it sufficient to just say ‘felt’? Am I dick for nit-picking like that?
I’m sorry, but it’s like getting served a perfectly prepared filet mignon with a hair in it. Sure I’ll devour it, but I’ll always remember that hair.
When you’re involved in a visual design critique (or any critique for that matter) it’s not enough to say “I don’t like this” or “I don’t think this is working.” You have to explain why you don’t like a design or your critique is useless.
While I won’t go as far as saying it’s a requirement, it’s also good to get into the habit of making suggestions to what you think would work. Don’t just complain.
Be part of the solution, not the problem.
It’s easy to eat stuff. Pizza. Coffee with cream and sugar. Donuts. Beer. Cocktails. Those insanely awesome opera slices I used to get at Balthazar on Spring Street in SoHo (while you’re in the area, go over a few blocks to CeciCela for one of their ham and cheese croissants).
What’s hard is burning off all that food to get fit. It takes more than a few hours in the gym. It takes consistent effort over a extended period of time.
Artistic creation is the same.
It’s easy for me to consume online media. To read my Twitter feed, and my RSS feed and the links people send me over IM and the backlog of longreads I have in my Instapaper account.
What’s hard is creating my own content. It can be hard writing posts for this site. It’s also hard coming up with new t-shirt and poster designs for Stay Vigilant. Creating new blog posts and designs takes consistent effort over an extended period of time.
I need to eat less and create more.
In reaction to my last post, I was just wondering:
How many Samsung employees does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
1,000: One to hold a laptop playing a video of an Apple engineer screwing in a lightbulb, One to screw in the lightbulb and 998 others to redesign the bulb and socket to look like Apple’s.
J. Eddie Smith on creativity:
So you think everyone wants to be more creative? I don’t.
I don’t think it’s creativity most people seek. No, people want to be more like post-creative people. People are nothing if not jealous of the success of others, especially over here in the arbitrarily westernmost side of the planet.
Creatives just have this highly coveted form of social capital. Creative success echoes envy in six words: “Why didn’t I think of that?”
So spot on.
Another thing people who think they want to be creative fail to understand is the extremes involved in getting paid to be creative. What I mean by this is, as someone who gets paid to be creative (as an interface/web/app designer), it’s awesome when I create something I’m happy with. And the client likes. And they praise me for. And I get paid well for doing.
The problem is, sometimes the great ideas and great designs don’t always come out on command. Sometimes the designs I create suck. And the client hates. So I go back and I iterate. And iterate. And iterate. If you had good creative training, you understand this and accept it, but it’s still hard work.
Last year Andreas Markdalen wrote a post on frog design’s blog on what visual designers can learn from Biggie Smalls. It’s well worth a real.
Andreas breaks down the key take-aways from Biggie:
Process is one of the most important things you can learn from any artist, although my favorite bit of advice from Biggie is in the opening of Jay-Z’s track, My First Song (I wrote about this back in 2009):
Well, I’m just trying to stay above water, you know? Stay busy, stay working. I was telling you like, the key to this joint, the key to staying on top of things is to treat everything like it’s your first project. Know what I’m saying? Like it’s your first day, like I wasn’t even an intern or nothing. That’s how you try to treat things, like just stay humble.
Treat everything like it’s your first project.
Have you been staffed on a little dinky internal project? Or maybe a one for a really boring, life-sucking corporate client. It might be hard, but rock the shit out of it. Find something about the project you can latch onto to keep your motivation up.
I can’t say I’m always successful at treating every project like my first, but I try to.
When I fail, I at least make sure I have a side project to keep me energized (What do you think this site is?).