October 3, 2011
I’ve been shooting very random pics of people, places and things on my battered Blackberry then loading them onto Facebook. They are not very good.
Or are they? Upon further review these photos are some of the coolest pictures I’ve ever taken. Off kilter, blurry and of nothing spectacular, they somehow capture the inane beauty of life. If they were oil paintings I’d buy them, fancying myself hip and aware.
Mundane yet transcendent, the flotsam and jetsam of life made beautiful when isolated. My word for it: trans-mundane. I know I didn’t create or discover the ‘art of the ordinary’ but I feel like I did. Anyone can!
It’s like when you’re going through your photos, keeping the good ones and discarding the crap; you come across one that fits neither category. A mistake but it’s gorgeous, partly because it was unplanned, almost like God composed it when you were trying to do something else. Maybe He did.
Try this at home. Look out a multi-paned window and isolate your focus onto whatever appears in just one of the panes. Maybe it’s half a tree and the side of a building or an old gutter. Whatever. Now look at it again. Suddenly it seems like a perfectly composed landscape or still life; in other words: art. I think that’s so cool.
One of my favorite modern-era painters, Edward Hopper found tremendous beauty and emotion in seemingly ordinary things. The average painter could never do that. Yet, with a typical smart phone we all can!
In my other blog, The Rogues Gallery I feature artwork created by ad people when they’re not making ads. (Please, do submit!) Below are a few marvelous “found” photographs. Weirdly stunning.
Katie Sweeney, from her series Broken Umbrellas
Per my agent’s request, I am expanding a short story I wrote into a detailed movie treatment for Dark Castle Entertainment. Surprise: it’s a horror piece, an allegory about man and nature.
I post this news because it’s my news but also because the writing of said treatment comes at the expense of other endeavors, including this blog. While writing is homework for many people, it is nothing short of my passion. And like most passion, it’s all encompassing. In other words, once I start writing I don’t stop. It is like climbing a mountain. You want to get to the top. If I pause too long between efforts there is fear, perhaps unfounded, I will lose the motivation to continue.
But it’s more than that. Selfishly, I also do not want to stop. Getting in the zone (be it on a screenplay, novel or advertising campaign) is one of the most exciting feelings I know. My whole being is focused on the task. I think of nothing else. I want to spend time with nothing else. If this sounds like a love affair between man and story that is because it is. Obsession would be an accurate description.
I once read that former adman and famous screenwriter/director, John Hughes wrote many of his screenplays from start to finish without stopping for anything, including food and sleep. In longhand! His passion is obvious in the stories he created. But even if it wasn’t, Hughes’ obsession is completely understandable… to me anyway.
I started writing my treatment on Sunday and I’ve logged ten hours or more on it every day and night since. I will be done this weekend. Since I am not employed right now so-called real work is not a distraction. Yet, I am a husband and father. Though tempting, to not honor and take pleasure in those roles would be sinful. My middle child celebrated a birthday and my father is in town. I also take my children to various activities. In addition, I am equally fanatic about working out, finding one hour every day to do so.
Therefore, there have been plenty of breaks. Good, important, life affirming breaks. Yet, you’ll notice I call them “breaks” as if my real life was about writing and all the other stuff merely a distraction. I’m hoping other creative people can relate.
My solution has always been the same. It’s also the same message we tell our clients when they wrestle with branding versus selling: You gotta do both! It ain’t easy. In trying I sometimes make painful decisions, choosing art over everything else. But it gives me so much joy and satisfaction…
I wonder if some of you are “wired” the same way and, if so, what do you do about it?