It’s amazing how much creativity there is in the world. Check out this YouTube video which combines illustration and the zen of Alan Watts. Obviously, Watts’ thinking is more nuanced than this, but the general point of being playful with life is one I forget too often.
Here’s the transcript:
The existence, the physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. That is to say, it doesn’t have some destination that it ought to arrive at.
But that it is best understood by the analogy with music. Because music, as an art form is essentially playful. We say, “You play the piano” You don’t work the piano.
Why? Music differs from say, travel. When you travel you are trying to get somewhere. In music, though, one doesn’t make the end of the composition. The point of the composition. If that were so, the best conductors would be those who played fastest. And there would be composers who only wrote finales. People would go to a concert just to hear one crackling chord… Because that’s the end!
Same way with dancing. You don’t aim at a particular spot in the room because that’s where you will arrive. The whole point of the dancing is the dance.
But we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our conduct. We have a system of schooling which gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded and what we do is put the child into the corridor of this grade system with a kind of, “Come on kitty, kitty.” And you go onto kindergarten and that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade. Then, “Come on” first grade leads to second grade and so on. And then you get out of grade school and you got high school. It’s revving up, the thing is coming, then you’re going to go to college… Then you’ve got graduate school, and when you’re through with graduate school you go out to join the world.
Then you get into some racket where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make, and you’re gonna make that. And all the time that thing is coming – It’s coming, it’s coming, that great thing. The success you’re working for.
Then you wake up one day about 40 years old and you say, “My God, I’ve arrived. I’m there.” And you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt.
Look at the people who live to retire; to put those savings away. And then when they’re 65 they don’t have any energy left. They’re more or less impotent. And they go and rot in some, old peoples, senior citizens community. Because we simply cheated ourselves the whole way down the line.
If we thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at that end, and the thing was to get to that thing at that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.
But we missed the point the whole way along.
It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.
After several years of posting my thoughts and life events to Facebook, I’m making a conscious effort to withdraw from the platform as much as possible. This post is part explanation and part welcome. If you’re not interested in rambling, disjointed thoughts on social media, life in general and content creation, just skip this and go watch some cat videos. 🙂
You can click on each image to see it full size. A link to a PDF of this letter is at the bottom of this post, as are links to all the social media sites I plan on using in the future. And, the comments section is below if you want to say “hi.”
For this assignment, professor Jenny Chi wanted us to work in pastels and create a diptych or triptych – some multi-piece work. I decided to combine the still life with my autobiography and a less-than-subtle homage to a painter I admired.
I have worked in printing, design and photography for most of my life, so I wanted to use colors representing the 4-color printing process – CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black), and combine that with a composition from Piet Mondrian, whose work has been incredibly influential in design.
The painting I referenced was Mondrian’s Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Grey and Blue, 1921. Each of the areas of the grid was colored with pastel to match as closely as possible the original grid pattern.
Interestingly, there are no direct equivalents to Cyan and Magenta in pastel crayons. So I had to carefully lighten my colors with white when needed to make them closer approximations to the real colors.
My original idea was to somehow split the composition into several smaller pieces to meet the assignment instructions. Fortunately, Prof. Chi convinced me to leave the original drawing intact, and instead draw a color test strip that hangs next to the larger piece as the second part of the diptych.
Working on this project required a lot of calculations and planning before completing the drawing. It also contained the germ of the idea that would become my final project for the class.