Brainwash and Art

I just finished watching the street art documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” again and as it did the first time, it got me thinking. (some spoilers follow. I do recommend watching the film before reading on.) The documentary starts out with our unusual documentarian meeting and getting caught up in the street art community. After ultimately failing to produce a documentary from his thousands of hours of tape, he is told to stop filming and try to make some art of his own while someone else tries to make something out of his tapes. He does this and creates a body of work that is a horrible dizzying derivative mess created by an army of contracted artists.

It is a very thought provoking issue because of the nature of the art produced. The filmmaker, who adopts the name Mr. Brainwash, ends up throwing off ideas in a manic frantic way and uses other artists working under him to bring the ideas to fruition. He is a DJ spinning and mixing together the work of others and then assigning someone else to finish the work. .

Here is a man with creative vision but no discipline. His creativity is broad but not deep. The street artists that helped create him regret the act. Shepard Fairey and Bansky are troubled by the outcome of their association with Mr. Brainwash.

I can’t help but be jealous of Mr. Brainwash’s bold confidence. He is unflinching in his creative process. As unoriginal as he is, he is bold and unrelenting. I wish that i had created a fraction of the art that he has made. I need to take a lesson from this man and be braver about creation and to make more good work. The other lesson is to not make sub-par copy/past work that has been created by others. There is a legitimacy to directors, editors, and producers, but there is a limit to how much authorship you can claim to a work that you have commissioned and not wrought with your own hands.

Bob Ross

The game-streaming site Twitch.tv just launched their “Creative” category. To celebrate, they are running a marathon of all the episodes of The Joy of Painting by Bob Ross. I remember watching this show when I was in Junior High. I was always enchanted with the seemingly effortless way Ross created these beautiful imaginative landscapes. I even bought a starter kit and tried it myself.

Sadly and in true typical fashion, I only ever made that one painting and gave it away to one of my aunts. I have never gone back to oil painting even though I still have the brushes and oils from that first kit. (I wonder if they are still good.)

Now that I am faced with this marathon of The Joy of Painting and with the story I am writing that features an oil Painter I am feeling somewhat compelled to revisit this medium. I can’t do it this month as I need to focus on writing but maybe next month

NaNoWriMo Again

It seems like last year’s National Novel Writing Month was not that long ago but it has been a year. Last year I couldn’t keep up the writing because of work and classes. This year threatens to be the same. In fact, in terms of hours, this year may be even worse. I have class after work Monday – Thursday. This leaves me with time to write on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only. With a little math, that leaves me 14 days in November, and If I am going to make the 50,000 word goal, I will have to churn out 3571 words on each of those non-school days. A daunting task to say the least.

I am going to go for it.

There is no penalty for failure. If I come short of the goal, then I can just add those words to the pile and still call it progress. I am going to continue on the book I was writing last year, Cascade. It was inspired by my trip to Banff in Canada to visit my sister-in-law and some of my wife’s college friends. It is fiction but not science fiction or fantasy as are most of my ideas.

I have never been short on ideas. I keep my story ideas on a OneNote file and go over them from time to time. I have about 20 story seeds there right now. My problem is stamina. Sitting down to write with consistency on the same topic is my greatest weakness. As you can probably tell from the frequency at which I post on this blog, my writing time, never really consistent, has dwindled in the last few years. That is the true challenge of writing for me. I know that I have a novel in me but if I can ever dedicate myself to getting it out is yet to be seen.

Today I head to the local National Novel Writing Month kickoff to meet the other writers in my area and get my head in the game. I have also made plans to start writing on midnight, October 31st / November 1st with a friend. I will get out as much of this as I can. I also have to remember to keep writing outside of November. It will not do to only write one month a year; I have too many ideas. I need to make this part of my life, and if nothing else, I can write a blog post every now and again.

Wish me luck

Mead Batch 11

Today my fiancee and I started a batch of mead. It is the first batch we have made in our new home and it is going to be the batch that we give out at our wedding in a little over 4 months.

Here are the stats:

  • 11 pounds Buckwheat honey
  • 5 pounds Wildflower honey
  • 6 gallons total beginning volume
  • Lalvin D-47 wine yeast
  • 3 tsp yeast energizer
  • 3 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1.103 initial specific gravity

I am hoping for something sweet to give our guests. If it is boring when it is time to bottle, I may sneak a little tart cherry juice into the batch.

From Writing to Ceramics

It is just past the middle of National Novel Writing Month and I am having some trouble. Just as I mentioned before, I have a lot on my plate. I have run behind and then lost my focus completely. I haven’t written in a few days. I don’t think that I can catch up at this point. I have spent my time on some other creative endeavors instead.

I spent significant parts of both days playing Pathfinder, and some other time making mugs. I feel a little guiltyRPG battle mat about the time i could have been writing. I wonder if there is a way that I could motivate myself to write without guilt. I am going to allow myself to get as far as I get this year without worrying too much about the specific word total, and next year when I am not working on buying a house, and when I have my own work-space, I will dedicate more seriously to hitting the goal of 50,000 words. Continue reading