Tag Archives: passion

Layers of Modesty Conceal the Glow

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Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there.

Out there – in the deep dark void that can be scary and mean and just not nice.  Sometimes out there is even better than you could have imagined.  I suppose you just can’t know.

This weekend I was hanging out with a great friend and were discussing (like we always do) the inertia that fear creates in our lives.  Every once in a while, fear is a truly important flag keeping us from being really hurt.  Most times it’s just in the way.

Who knew that one of the world’s most prolific street photographers never shared a single photograph during her lifetime and her brilliance was found out by accident through an auction of her belongings after her death (we found this story via TVGawker.com– once you get past the cliche announcer it gets pretty good):

Whether or not she was a brilliant photographer doesn’t even matter – look at how gorgeous her perspective is in the photographs!  So stunning – some of them are lovely stories in a single frame. But think about the hundreds of photographs that were ugly and awful – the shots that came between the beautiful ones.

You have to give yourself a shot no?  I mean – seriously – wouldn’t it be better to benefit from your efforts while you’re still alive – instead of waiting for someone else to acknowledge and benefit from your efforts once your dead?  (However, it’s obvious that Vivian Maier was an extremely private person and artist – but you have to wonder whether it was fear or privacy that drove her to keep her story for herself).

Just give it a try! That’s what everyone keeps telling me.  A wise man once said- inertia’s a bitch.  The tortoise in me is moving one step at a time.  But I have to keep moving.  I have a ton of entrepreneurial friends whom I really admire – they just do stuff! Even if they’re not quite sure what it is they’re doing….they are willing to give it a try.

Also, you have to do the stuff you’re not so great at over and over again, until you get really good at it.  As a musician, at first I always found recording to be really scary – I mean it’s going to be recorded forever!  But then, after recording little by little, it’s now easy-peasy!  But currently, shows are really scary, but they’re exhilarating too! A great show can really make you feel like you are a part of a story – or – that you would like to share your story. I’ll be doing my best going out there and doing these scary things – feel free to join me- it’s nice to have company when you’re scared.  😉

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Sing Bandana Singh performs Thursday January 13th at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave. Toronto).  Doors at 7pm.  Performance at 7:30pm  $10.  19+.
Music: http://myspace.com/singbandanasingh
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bandbandana
A Heroic Entertainment Production.

Discipline, Determination and other dreadful words that start with the letter D

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Art is exhausting.

Let me tell you – art is exhausting.

 

 

To be an artist you need to think and feel with intense emotion and dedication and then translate your heart and soul to the average non-artist who is too preoccupied with why your art doesn’t make sense – they think about the works instead of experiencing the works.

Do you know why, so many people fantasize but never actually become artists? Because it’s damn scary that’s why! We don’t idolize cocaine fueled rockstars,  famously suicidal painters or happily hedonistic hip hop artists because of their celebrity and scandalous lifestyles (at least not in the beginning); we idolize them because they have balls.  They get up there and they command, not demand respect.  They have presence, they have sexual charm, they have courage.

But without discipline and drive and determination (oh my!) artists can implode and ironically by being so open, so giving, so vulnerable – by being the very things they need to be in order to fulfill the sense of esteem and meaning in their lives – they lose themselves.

Artists need incredible discipline and self restraint balanced with freedom of self expression and experimentation.  This is no easy task.  To make things more interesting, many artists have supplementary jobs (what the non-artist would refer to as a “day job” although we artists do work, in the afternoon, mid morning, evenings and even wee morning hours as well).  Attempt to do all of this mentally and emotionally fulfilling/draining work and work a full time job at the same time – it can be an energy sucker.

Quil4 has done a lovely job of having a single post every month – I’m trying to get back on the 1 post every 2 weeks band wagon.  It’s not the frequency of the activity – it’s the persistence and doggedness of seeing something through.

I’ve been working on a 5 song – a  5 song EP for 2 years now – I’m almost done….so close! But the closer you get to completing it you start to wonder – what the hell am I doing?!  Why has this taken so long? What is the point again?  That’s when determination kicks in and the questions morph into: Why have I pushed through for so long? What compels me to continue forward? What is the next step?  Artists – we need to have that discipline, that determination, that drive:  whether a project takes two days, or twenty years as long as you complete it and do so with some intention – you will find success.  Now granted – there is of course the little business voice in the background also saying – so….2 years eh….at some point you’ll want to see a return on your investment and possibly start generating some revenue from your works specifically in the hopes of becoming independent of your supplementary job. Well – duh – of course silly.  Seeing a project through to completion also means being flexible – it’s taken me 2 years to get to where I am because I didn’t want to be sitting in a pool of debt to see my works come to life.  A rational decision – balanced by the experimentation and freedom of the works themselves.

Everyone is working hard these days regardless of what they do.  But if you think your artist friends are just dreaming madly into the night sky – hopefully you’ll think twice about that and possibly offer them a cupcake and some tea. Be kind to your artist friends! And Artists – be kind to yourselves! Remember – every little step helps -every blurry photo – every wrong note – every writer’s block – with every mistake, you learn –  with every mistake you are moving forward.

A baboon on the roof

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It would be a crying shame to veer completely off the engaging and relevant train of thought sparked by my illustrious fellow floggers (first time bloggers…just trying the word…I know, I am ignoring the “t”…but it just doesn’t fit!…now I am wondering if it sounds rude, mmm).

So I won’t…veer off that is. I like ellipses…you will get to know that about me…

Anyhoo…career choices and all the various considerations that go along with that topic occupy my addled mind daily. Like John Malkovich, my brain has a 9th and a half floor (in my case this is where the slightly off thoughts go to procreate). And though my anxiety does not take the form of a walrus (fabulous imagery inkling7)…it does do an admirable job of turning my plump and shiny creative drive into a raucously deflating whoopee cushion, taunting me with self-doubt and derision! Is my art good enough? Can I monetize my passion? Which one of my lovingly fostered obsessions is most marketable. (the one I can charge the most for, of course!) Oy!

Luckily for me, the clear winner in that dubious contest is an abiding, lifelong preoccupation of mine. (I will expand on my beginnings in a later post) I am almost afraid of admitting what it is…as every man and his dog claims the same pastime as their own. Somehow the proliferation of this art form makes it difficult to admit to doing it – for fear of being lumped into some mediocre, pedestrian, meh group of blahness. I make images…with an SLR…I am a photographer.  (and yep…my name, if you know about aperture, is kind of messed up…there is no fstop 10 – it just sort of happened, OK!)

It isn’t my day job…yet? (I am so excited…I have successfully pulled Sachin and inkling7’s musings into my first contribution. Holy, preamble!

So, to clearly state my humble intentions – due to my walrus (© inkling7)/whoopee cushion conundrum – I would love to use this space to share my art…with you. Instinct kicks in and I feel compelled to blurt out an excuse about not being a pro, or utter “I know I am probably not worthy, but!” That would do a disservice not only to me, but to the bravery of my co-conspirators (gave up on the word floggers…it definitely sounds dirty!).

In our midst here we have the brave and inspiring muso (who puts the B in our blog at the very least!), an undercover creative writer (who I am yet to meet, but am confident is a genuine mensch) and our courageously thoughtful (yes I know it is another word for brave…but inkling7 is that too!) writer and philosopher and all round tremendous individual. And photog (me) makes 4.

My first share: An image I am rather pleased with. I took this with my 70-300mm lens, from across the road. He was sitting on my neighbour’s roof…surrounded by his marauding troop. These guys raid the gardens and kitchens of any house in their path. Their only there for the snacks though…no one usually gets hurt. (unless an idiotic human makes the wrong move)

Guarding the troop is tiring work – and my choppers can be pretty threatening!

My thanks…

Plan B…

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Thanks to B for that intro and to Sachin for his insightful post, which was indeed food for thought!

Interests, aptitude or financial security – oh my!  Quite the dilemma…

No doubt it becomes an even more trying issue when you have a number of varied interests and aren’t quite sure which one you’d like to pursue, when you’re skills may or may not be marketable, and/or when you have a sneaking suspicion that a predictable/banal/secure job might crush your soul (just a little bit – even if only around the edges).

It doesn’t help either when that dreaded beast (Career) Anxiety (which I’ve often imagined would appear as a walrus toting a briefcase, should it be so inclined as to take material form – go figure!) lumbers over your thoughts, your plans, your imaginative inklings and does it’s very best to crush them under it’s lumpy, bulbous belly.  It barks and honks at you (“What if?,” “Is this the right choice?,” “Could this be an awful mistake?”) and refuses to clean up after itself when it leaves…..What a horrible house guest!

Well, I’m not sure what combination of “interests, aptitude and/or financial security” it’s best to go with (particularly in this economy!), but in hopes of finding some kind of answer, I’ve made a concerted effort of late to seek out the counsel of older folks – you know, those who have already settled into their careers and who seem satisfied with their choices.  Curiously enough, many of them have instructed me to follow my “passion” or to “look into my heart” to find an answer.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this advice.  Do you buy it?  What if your “heart” has taken a vow of silence?

One colleague with a very enviable career path offered these consoling words: “Don’t worry, I didn’t figure it out ‘til I was like 40.  You just gotta keep trying different things until you figure it out”.

I’ve decided to take comfort in that.

I suppose a career is as much a work in progress as is anything else… if all else fails, look for Plan B and refuse to be taken hostage by any walrus you should happen to bump into (particularly if it’s of the imaginary variety!).

First Post – Career Choice

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Hi, I’d like to thank Bandana for the intro, my name is Sachin and this is my first post, truth be told I was struggling on deciding what topic to discuss and as I was contemplating, it dawned on me that I would touch on something I’ve been talking to friends/acquaintances as of late being career choice.

I think it’s a very relevant and important topic that is often touched on but not explored, specifically as to the driving factors that effect one’s decision in determining what career path they will pursue.  Most of my friends are in their mid-late 20’s, some have recently changed jobs into a completely new field and others are considering going to back to school to gain more credentials and skills.

Based on my experiences and I think everybody would agree in general, money is more often than not a big consideration when choosing either a specific job or considering what career to endeavour into; the stereotypes that doctors, lawyers and in general professionals, do very well holds true and since most people work to earn a living, it would seem logical to choose a profession that pays well.  I think as a pretense, when planing what field you want to enter, money is a consideration and in fact in my opinion it’s a valid consideration, after all if you plan to raise a family and lead a certain lifestyle, your payscale can be a limiting factor.  On the flip side, I know we’ve all met people who have entered a job on a temporary basis, been very successful such as in a sales environment and because they are doing very well financially, do not consider going back to school or building on a skill set that they may be more interested in.

This brings me to an obvious second consideration which should be like/dislikes and interests.  I’m sure we all remember being asked in elementary school what our favorite subject is?  Of course the guys say phys ed and the girls say art (I’m joking, don’t want to get myself in trouble here), but on a serious note your initial interests may be in sports or something adventurous like being an astronaut or a fireman.  However, to use an extreme example to make the point, if you can’t hit an 85 mph curve ball, your probably not going to play professional baseball.

Of course that was an extreme example, in a lot of cases you can build on a skill set such as acting if your interest lies in being a professional actor.  But it does bring up what I consider a third factor that most should consider which is aptitude, this quote from Bill Clinton that I came across I think describes it best:

Sometime in my sixteenth year I decided I wanted to be in public life as an elected official. I loved music and thought I could be very good, but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz. I was interested in medicine and thought I could be a fine doctor, but I knew I would never be Michael DeBakey. But I knew I could be great in public service.[14]

So, I think it begs the question, which approach be it your interests, aptitude or financial security drive your decisions? and also from a practical standpoint is it more prudent to take a job in a field that is a compromise of all three?  I’d like to hear your feedback, that in fact was a much longer post then I had intended to do on my first one, I hope it provides some food for thought.