Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Jackson Pollock

Google just reminded me (well at least informed me with lack of prior knowledge) that today is Jackson Pollock's birthday. I have always been a fan of Pollock and his ordered mayhem approach to creating. I studied him a fair amount in high school and performed a Pollock style painting with a fellow student on a large canvass. The other student and I worked on a section at a time, opposite of the canvass of one another. Every other day we would swap sides and transform what the other had been working on. At times it was incredibly frustrating to watch your work challenged and altered and sometimes completely devastated by another student. In the end we created a piece that was visually intense and full of numerous styles and influences.

It wasn't the most amazing work I ever created but I learned more in the process of this exercise than any other attempt at being an artist. In order to grow and evolve you have to be willing to let go, challenge your instincts, take heed to the advice of others and sometimes allow the hand of another to direct you. I have always heard the most difficult part of art school is when they begin to teach you to be separate from your work, often destroying your art in front of you and your classmates. The principle is that once the art is created it no longer belongs to you, rather it belongs to us all. People will interpret, alter and judge, you have to allow them to do so.

I tell this story as I often keep it in mind when reviewing albums. These musicians that I judge on such a whim go through an difficult process of creating, then releasing their work and allowing the world to judge. Imagine if everything you did at work was reviewed by critics and amateurs the world over. Every time these musicians perform they are being judged, can't be easy. Some learn to nurture the critics and allow them to pass with ease, never influencing who they are or what the create (Thom Yorke is a great example of this). Others eventually cave to the pressure of expectations and constant criticism (see Ryan Adams).

Just thought I'd ramble for a minute, not sure what my point is here, but you can rest assured that it is like really deep and stuff.

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