Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Am I that transparent?

It's my blog. Let's talk about me for a second.

No really, though, let me ramble a little bit on what I want, what I believe, and where I'm coming from. Because there may be some confusion.

Don's got me pegged (sorry to single you out, Don -- well, a little sorry; these things are good for my readership, dontcha know): from the comments on my last post:

"I get where you're coming from - "Leave me alone to do MY thing, man" and as far as any of this is concerned, no one seems to be stopping you from doing just that..."

And, in a comment from his blog about actors jumping ship on shows, also dated yesterday:

"Bottom line, PR, you couldn't give two shits about any of this and just wanted to put on your rebel-hairshirt and cry "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!" I get that - my rebel-hairshirt is worn and likely older than you are."

Now, I'm not posting this to prove myself to Don, or to anyone for that matter, so much as to get incoherent streams of what feels true to me onto paper (cyberpaper, that is). This is really the only appropriate place to do that.

*knuckles cracking*

When you boil me down to the very simplistics as an artist, the first things that get stripped away are the outside concerns - commercial, social, economical, environmental, anything that is outside the form. I create because there are things in my head that I want to see that I have as yet been unable to find elsewhere. It's as simple as that. Not everything that I have been unable to find is something that I want to see and not everything thing that I want to see have I been unable to find. As an artist, I'm not concerned with those two sides of the Venn diagram. What I revel in is where Column A and Column B meet.

It never fails that the first question I get asked when talking about a project boiling around in my head is some variant of "Why?". And everyone gets asked that question. Endlessly. I realize I'm not alone, but no three letters bristle me more. The why is irrelevant. Why implies a greater purpose. Art requires no greater purpose. Art is a greater purpose. Why do I create what I create? Because it doesn't exist and it should. Why should it? Because it will be good. Why will it be good? Because I and doubtlessly at least a few others will take pleasure from its existence. Why should others care? What else can I say but because it will be good, because it will be something that they have not experienced before, because it will be a more expansive choice than not caring?

My art likely isn't going to feed starving children in Ethiopa, provide world peace, change a Bears fan to a Brecht fan or sell more laundry detergent. And if it does do any of those things, it still doesn't matter, because that's not its purpose. Art is art. Art needs to exist, and only needs to exist. There's no reason to expand beyond that. That is gift enough. And I have art in my head that does not exist. My mission statement, and my only mission statement, is to change that.

And so I can't get passionately behind all of this up-with-theatre social action on the blogosphere. I'll support it, sure, but it all mumbles together for me. And while I am in a similar position as Bob, it's also not the same call that he's making -- it's not that I want to see less talk and more action. The whole shebang just seems superfluous to me. On the one hand, art and its effects on us are inexplicable, but, at the same time, it seems to me that we're making the process more complex than it needs to be. Making art is a one-step process. In fact, Bob, here's my recipe for your collection:

A Recipe to Make Art

Step 1: Make Art.

That's it! It's that easy! Yeah, if one has other goals, then the process is a little more complex. But then it's about the other goals, not the art. And there's my problem, I guess. I'm not interested in these other goals. Artistically, I'm mainly concerned with art.

Everything else on here, as Don would say, it part rebel-hairshirt. But only part. It's also part philosophy. Most discussions I have on the blogosphere don't have much of anything to do with art, as far as I'm concerned. I'm cool with that -- I also enjoy challenging thoughts and having my thoughts challenged. That's one of the greater purposes of the blogosphere for me. But everything I argue I truly believe. Contrarianism is only a fault if it is a goal. "I meant what I said and I said what I meant" -- Dr. Suess knows his shit.

There. Make of that what you will.



Bil said...

I think I agree with this post. I don't feel a need to justify my existence to the rest of the world, and I don't feel a need to explain exactly why it is that I create. I create because I can and I want to, and you can either help or you can view the creation or you can ignore it entirely. That's up to you. I feel no oppression other than the fact that things cost money, but I won't put on my "More Passionate Than You" hat and I won't explain why I like what I like.

"Art requires no greater purpose. Art is a greater purpose."

Even this may be an overstatement. I would just say, "Art is." In the grand scheme of things, purpose is a moot point. Art CAN have a purpose, but it doesn't need to. Art is the Fonz.

And let me just call myself out before anyone else does – no, I am NOT a drain on the theatre community just because I'm not zealous and intentionally provocative and I don't own a pair of comedy/tragedy masks. Just because I don't feel that my creations are any more or any less important than the creations of, say, McDonald's or General Motors does NOT mean that what I create is not really fucking cool. All art has value and has an audience, including mine. I will work hard at everything I do, but I will not pretend that I am more important than any other member of society. Because I DO have passion. I'm just not loud.

And now that I've pretty much solved the Existential crisis of why anyone should do art, ever, we are all free to actually create something without worrying whether it's important enough.

All that being said, I think it's pretty obvious that I haven't really read anything else that's been going on. If there's something brilliant that anyone thinks I need to go read, point me there and I'll check it out. I'm all ears. You can even point me to your own "brilliant" blog. It's okay, I won't judge.

Paul said...

I will work hard at everything I do, but I will not pretend that I am more important than any other member of society. Because I DO have passion. I'm just not loud.

That's exactly what's needed around this joint that is theater -- more passion, less loud.

And much, much less "me, me, look at me, I'm makin' AHHRT".

Devilvet said...

Your recipe frightens and confuses me;)

Not really. You don't have to have a recipe in order to cook, but it seems that the best proveyors of cooked meals do have recipes even if they aren't written down.

I disagree that making art is a one step process. But, if that works for you then that's all that matters.

At the risk of sounding too senior a tone, I think that eventually most of us like to have a method,

Perhaps a method to making art and making art are not synonymus.

Method, Recipe, Craft, Talking Shop, Rehearsal, Band Practice...whatever you prefer...none are a one step process.

Paul Rekk said...

You make good points, dv, and to be honest, not of this post was ever originally intended to be a reply to your call for recipes; I just happened across that particular wording during my rambles and thought of you.

What that recipe really means to me is that the particular steps of any given artistic process are irrelevant. Make art and make it in a manner that keeps you invested and excited to be making art, no matter what (or how many steps) it is.