Foreign Emotions like Foreign Languages

You know how they say that blind people dream don’t dream in images, they dream through their other senses? If a blind person dreamed of an image, would they know how to interpret it?  When you hear a foreign language, you can’t understand it because you haven’t learned how to interpret it. When a painter walks up to the canvas, they are translating from a blind man’s dream. The feeling they possess is intangible and they bring it from gibberish to something that is hopefully comprehensible. An artist simply wants to evoke or express that unintelligible thought.

The difficulty is that many artists don’t understand that they are trying to translate something that doesn’t have a set way of being expressed. There isn’t a correct way to express happiness or love or confusion. Essentially an artist tries to replicate a feeling but cannot perfectly match it. They leave their personality and interpretation instead. It’s like a child trying to forge their parent’s signature, perhaps it looks generally the same but it’s noticeably imperfect.

However, if you learn many languages, you can understand a new language faster and more efficiently. If a painter learns how to draw, play guitar, sculpt, and dance, he will be better able to translate his emotions. Sometimes a feeling can be best expressed with a certain type of art. If I know how to write, maybe my emotion would be best expressed through words. Only knowing how to write would severely limit my expression.

On the other side, inspiration comes in a myriad of ways. As I’ve branched away from photography I’ve realized that art is very fluid. Paintings express memories in a different way than a photograph does. A song from a particular time in my life can hold more emotion than a photograph.

Why is it that we, as artists, always crave inspiration? Is it because we aren’t able to express things we don’t understand? We have these emotions but we don’t know how to show them to other people. It’s as though someone is yelling at us in a foreign language and we’re desperately trying to understand what they’re saying. We want to reply or do what they’re asking but we simply don’t understand.

Lately I feel like I’ve started learning new languages. The emotions I go through can be understood better even if I don’t know that language. I can somewhat make out what I’m feeling inside and how to transcribe it into something to share with others.

The point of this post is to say that don’t try to force inspiration. It will come and go through your life and in different ways. I don’t paint or draw but I feel emotions that could only be felt through painting. There are days when words feel like the best way to express myself. Just learn to be receptive to the world and you’ll see the elephant in the middle of the room: everything in life is inspiration and everything is an emotion. You just have to be receptive enough to take that feeling in.

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P.S. The layout is changing again, so please be patient with me as everything settles down!

 

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Passion is a Spice of Life

I’m a firm believer that variety is the spice of life and that the more willing you are to try new things, the more exciting your life will be. When you are able to go out and just be passionate, I believe that you’ll cross into many fields. As an artist, I’ve found myself shifting around from photography to writing, to drawing, to painting, and many other mediums. Some of the greatest creators are those who are able to shift from one field to another.

Emily Haines is the lead singer of indie alternative band METRIC. The group is famous for their songs “Help I’m Alive“, “Lost Kitten”, “Satellite Mind“. Haines has also been a part of Broken Social Scene, Stars, she’s produced her own independent album, and she’s done a few electronic singles. Each area that she’s worked on has been a bit different. Her work with METRIC is sharp and distinct while her work with Broken Social Scene is muffled. Her electronic work with Tiësto is totally different. You can tell that she’s passionate about music because she freely flows into different areas.

 

You can listen to “Gold Lion“, then listen to “I Shot the Sheriff” and see the variety Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) brings. The band Rehab can shift from the slow “Bartender” to rapping “My Addiction” and all the way to pop “Miss Jones“. There hits a point in this versatility that you realize many artists just express. It’s no longer about the art or the creation, it’s about the expression.

Variety is the spice of life and it seems that variety spikes the more we get into the flow of things. The more that we feel aligned with what we’re doing, the more willing we are to deviate from it. It’s as though the labels in our head disappear for a minute. We stop thinking “I’m a photographer” and we just take pictures or we get into painting. It doesn’t matter at that point because we’re not creating to create, we’re creating because we must. It’s something that is part of us.

If you ever find yourself crossing between mediums, don’t be frightened by it. Don’t think that because you’re a painter you can’t make music or draw beautiful pictures. It’s so easy to believe that a new field isn’t worth going into or that you shouldn’t be doing it. When you get into the right mood, you can do anything.

The underlying purpose of this post is to say, go out and do what you love. When you are passionate, you’ll find that sometimes you go crazy and color outside of the lines. That’s perfectly fine! When you’re crazy and doing what you love, you’ve already won. You’ve claimed your prize. Although the drawing is messy, it was never about cleanliness or beauty. It was about that feeling, that spice in life, the reason that you keep going.

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This post is mostly a note back to myself. For many years I’ve struggle with being called a “Jack of all trades” because in my head I only heard “master of none”. I spent so much time focusing on mastering one thing that I lost my passion. It’s only now that I’ve realized it was never about mastery. I crave passion and being absorbed in whatever I fancy (at any particular moment). That’s why I had a blog on music, art, art review, peace keeping, buddhism, and personal blogging. It’s why some days I feel like writing while others I feel like painting. There’s nothing in particular I want to master, I just feel passion for everything and that’s enough for me. I’m a “Jack of all trades” because I’m a lover of all trades.