Sunday, January 11, 2009

Thought for the Week 1/11/09


It should come as no surprise that I'm a big believer in creative visualization. One of the ways in which I do that is by assembling a notebook of images that inspire me, with a heavy emphasis on people cavorting about with abandon, as well as collages paying tribute to two of my role models, the visionary artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the creators of The Gates, among others, and that patron saint of ambition over talent, Jacqueline Susann. A few years ago, in one of my many efforts at self-improvement, I gathered 52 quotations that inspired me, randomly assigning them one to each week. I printed them out and put them in the notebook with the idea that I would look at one each week to keep me inspired.

I never did.

Fast forward to this year when I was thinking about what I wanted my 2009 blog to look like and I hit upon using those quotations as fodder for weekly postings, which feels more natural.

I mention this because an odd coincidence has happened three times now. Despite the fact that I gathered these randomly several years ago, when I sit down to look at the thought for the week, it's perfectly matched what's already been on my mind in the days prior. It's as if I knew what was coming and mentally prepared for it. I don't think there's anything particularly woo-woo about it. It seems to me that my subconscious mind has stored that list of quotations when I wrote it and is using them like a road map.

Which is a long way of saying that the thought for this week has already been on my mind. I turn 43 today and feel like I can't wait around for things to happen to me, that I simply need to proceed as if they will, to start being the person I always wanted to be. As I move into the probable second half of my life, I'm flooded with a sense of "if not now, when?"

It's for this reason that I admire Christo and Jeanne-Claude so much. Actually, I'm floored by the simple yet grand way in in which they make beautiful things that cause people to look at the world through new eyes. But I'm even more inspired by the way in which they live--how they operate as a team, how they pay for everything themselves off of the sale of artwork and not merchandise, how tirelessly they work.

Here's their answer to the question "How do you find inspiration and get past creative blocks?"

All our projects come from ideas out of our two hearts, and our two brains, (we never create works coming from other people's ideas).

We have completed 18 projects and have failed 37 projects. We could not get permission to create 37 projects, and we lost interest.

Those 37 failed works are in addition to the 18 we have completed. This means: 37 ideas we did not complete. After receiving refusals, we lost interest.

Since we create our works for ourselves (as all true artists do), once the idea is no longer in our hearts, there is no reason to do it.

Many of our 18 completed projects have been refused, more than once each, but we persisted because it was still in our hearts.

Some projects took many years of refusals until we could complete the project:

32 years for the Wrapped Trees 1966-98. 26 years for The Gates 1971-2005. 25 years for the Wrapped Reichstag 1971-95. 10 years for The Pont Neuf Wrapped 1975-85. 5 years for the Running Fence 1972-76, etc.

When could we ever had had a creative block ?

Words to live by.


Martina said...

Their work is pretty amazing, isn't it? Because my family lives there, I've spent a lot of time in Berlin in my life. Since discovering them, I've been sad that the year they wrapped the Reichstag was not one of the summers I spent there. Happy Birthday! May your next 43 years be filled with creativity, positivity, and the change you seek to be!

Fran said...

What an amazing gift you've given us, and on your birthday too! Thank you, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, youngster!

maria said...

¡¡¡Happy Birthday!!!

maria said...

By the way, I sure hope you will be luckier than your models, and will get;
-The third installment of our dear Edward Zanni and friends adventures.
-The DVD of Holidazed
- A book with all last year entries, on this blog

And will get them this very year. Before your next birthday.


MightyToyCannon said...

I've recently been watching the Maysles' Brothers documentaries on Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which are inspiring testaments to their work. Thanks for sharing your thought about them.

Happy birthday!

Roxie said...

Happy Birthday, Marc!!

David S said...

Very inspiring indeed! I'm always thinking about ways to stay creative and not get blocked, and these guys have really lived it. It often seems that instead of not being able to think of anything, I think of too much, and can't decide on the one next thing to pursue. Good luck to you in 2009 in this quixotic quest of creation. said...

Happy birthday, northern cousin! Happy 2009!

heddy said...

Your posting prompted me look up a favorite Jeanne-Claude quote: "I tell everybody I am a natural redhead, but I dye my roots black and white." It is another example of her quirky and fun thought process, and relates to your 1/9 posting.

Everything is related!

Tania said...

I, too, have a little book in which I write down quotations. My most recent entry comes from the designer who did the alterations on my inaugural ball gown. His design philosophy: "Hide nothing, but take what is there and make it awesome." Love it.

SeattleTammy said...

Happy Birthday Marc!

Have some cake!