Creativity versus Art…

August 8th, 2019

I was commenting in a photography blog earlier in response to the question, “is an Artist born?” I think it’s quite a nuanced answer. Some of the conversation mirrored what I seem to be hearing a lot today: that creatives are artists. I am of the opinion that there’s a difference between being creative and being an Artist (although Artists are certainly creatives).

In my experience almost all people are creative given opportunities, resources and encouragement. Even without encouragement people will still be creative from time to time to get through a situation etc. Hobbies are often an expression of creativity. But, the Artist is a different beast. There is an obsession with theme and process, determination, and long-term conscious and unconscious observation being melded with an insight. All of this manifests in a pursuit of expressing and representing a vision or perspective. Often through alternative processes and mediums.

I posit that for the Artist there is no other path that is not a living death. There is an interesting documentary called “David Lynch: The Art Life” about David Lynch, often known for his surreal filmmaking but is an extremely prolific sculptor, photographer, painter and practitioner of assemblage. It’s very enlightening around this idea without being overly political.

Goodbye Old Friend…

July 27th, 2019

As is so often the case with the significant and profound relationships or events in a life, the conception is difficult to identify with certainty. The instant in time where Steve first entered my life is lost to my memory now because the impact that he had on my life has been so profound and overshadowed whence it began some 40 plus years ago. What I can say on reflection is that my time with Steve contained the most enjoyable and wonderful experiences I have had in my life to this very day.

I met Steve through music. As I said I don’t remember those initial specifics anymore, but what did matter was that when Steve, Gary and I played together that first time, it was a case of the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. We immediately knew that there was a special connection between us that operated at a level of consciousness that was beyond speech. Our creative processes complimented each other. Over the years of our playing together other band members or guests came and went but the nucleus was always the three of us. No one else we played with offered the same experience of being able to either preempt or immediately respond to a creative choice while playing or composing. The musicians out there will know what I mean when I say it’s a unique find. The ability to collaborate unconsciously, bounce off one another creatively with respect, assuredness and with consistency is an aspiration few bands achieve.

We played gigs together, split briefly, realized that what we had together was not to be had easily then rejoined. We recorded together, but it was performing live that we really enjoyed the most. In fact we didn’t record it if we couldn’t repeat it live. At that time we had dreams, hopes, a lust for life and friendship that I recall with envy now as the passage of time has eroded my dreams, hopes and life of lust.

As our twenties hit, life pulled Steve, Gary and myself along different journeys, but Steve would reach out to me every so often over the years and attempt to recapture that musical magic. Unfortunately my journey kept steering me away from people who cared for me and burned my musical bridges. In the 1990’s Gary died and along with him so did a little bit of Steve and myself. At that point we both realised that we’d lost something unique in our lives. Still it was not until the 2000’s that our friendship flourished again. What is amazing is that we could just pick right up again even after some years apart. But that’s true friendship: with solid honest foundations and respect, friendship will survive a drought. Interestingly we had yet another creative cross over, independently we’d both become interested in photography. So kindred spirits are kindred spirits in more ways than one.

When I think of Steve these are the words that come to mind. Genuine, authentic, loyal, extraordinary, creative, enthusiastic, respectful, kind, loving, paternal, dedicated, perfectionist, passionate, audacious, effervescent and absolutely a man of integrity.

Dear Steve, I think of thee with kindness, with kindness I think of thee.

Until later “big buddy”, ever your friend, Craig.

Delving into Unexplored Spaces…

May 4th, 2019

Lately I’ve been experiencing a renewed motivation in my photography. Much of this is with the encouragement and support of an artist friend for which I’m very grateful. She’s encouraging some collaborative projects and regularly suggesting trips and subject matter that she thinks will inspire me to create more works.

Much of her work has been either in Sculpture / Assemblage or Charcoal, rather than in photography. So it may seem there’s not much overlap; but the cross pollination and discussions around the ideas and inspirations for the subject matter and interpretation is stoking the fires of my creativity.

Knowledge is both the Parent & the Child.
I Will Not Be Swayed.

Above are two of the works that came out of a project earlier in the week. Human Portraits are not my usual fare, but we were both very happy with what we came away with from the afternoon’s session.

The Art Life…

February 3rd, 2019

I’ve been watching The Art Life, a documentary about David Lynch and “The Art Life”. It’s such a different picture of David Lynch than I’ve previously had, so much so that I was wondering if there are two David Lynch artists, the Director and the Artist. By that I mean literally separate human beings. But it’s one & the same. That aside it’s provoked some interesting thoughts. So food for thought.

Some of his inspirational “mottos”:

  • Coffee, food & art (work).
  • Compartmentalising life and those others in it.
  • Keep making “bad art” until you find your good art.
  • We’re deeply and constantly influenced by others all our lives. Keep making until you find your own art.

I’m so glad he’s refused to be part of the “hollywood establishment” because it’s inspirational to know that people can make it in their own way.

Raindrops keep fallin’…

February 3rd, 2019

Lately I’ve been pondering the origins of my love for the rain. Just when I started to be come enamoured of listening, being caught in, going out in, and generally just experiencing rain is something I’m unable to put my finger on, although some of my earliest memories are of enjoying rain.

Memories such as looking out the window on a rainy winter day and enjoying just listening to it and watching it fall. Others are of being out in it under a tree, waiting for it to lessen enough for me to be able to walk in it without getting drenched through. Or dashing through it when I was only 10 or 20 metres from my destination and the excitement of getting out of it, yet not. For me the rain seems only to have positive memories.

Rain just revitalises plant and animal alive.

During the day or during the night, inside or outside walking in it. Yes there are times it’s cold and miserable if there’s a howling wind, but despite all else it still tells you that you’re alive.

Beautiful and mysterious.

I really do love rain.

One, Two, Five and out…

May 21st, 2018

So it’s back to the drawing board for me. That old devil and I just couldn’t reignite the old flames enough for me to be able to hang in there when it was getting tough. To be fair it wasn’t anyone’s fault particularly.

I was into my third week of the commute to Melbourne. Training had technically finished but there was still no work in my designated region therefore it was a situation of going where the current work was: Melbourne suburbs and CBD. At that time I came down with what I refer to the cold from hell. It knocked me flat for the best part of three weeks, I didn’t have a hope while trying to commute. The two times I tried to go back to work during that period I was a heap on the floor by the end of the day. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Getting up at 05:15 and getting home at 19:00 each day just weren’t going to allow me to be able to fight it off. Anxiety and Depression were having a field day with me, they may as well have been pre-emptively dancing on my grave.

To top it off, around the middle of week four, Tiggakat decided to go for a walkabout without consultation. I was shattered. She returned about 22:30 on the fourth night after she’d disappeared, thankfully as healthy as I could expect being unharmed, simply hungry and thirsty. Clearly she had a story to tell me but I was just too human to understand. She has been quite chatty since her return.

By the end of week five I had to resign. There was still no clear deadline for a regional handover of work, and I couldn’t face another commute. Even if I’d been able to pick up regional work immediately at the start of week six, I was basically too much of a physical and mental wreck to even be able to accept and manage it. They couldn’t give me a timeline and I couldn’t in return give them a timeline on my health improving. End of a chapter.

There were a few small positives out of the experience: I can say without a single doubt now that I for one am unable to physically or mentally (in particular) deal with a commute to work of that type day after day. It’s beyond me now. Additionally I did receive some money before winding up, so I’ve managed to close off a couple of large bills. So at least I’m heading forward on the basis of zero again rather than a negative position immediately. Something to be pleased about and to have brought out of it all.

It was a grasp at an opportunity that just didn’t pan out for me but I guess needed to be accepted and seen through as best I could. Now it’s regroup, get healthy again and just move on.

Remembering Old Blues…

March 25th, 2018

It’s been over two and a half years since I left my last full-time position and quite regularly I’m left scratching my head some days how I’ve managed to survive it. The reality is that I wouldn’t have survived it without family & friends. I’m extremely grateful to all concerned.

It seems that an old devil has reeled in my soul again for another run and I’ll be starting paid employment again in a couple of weeks. There’s a number of feelings racing about in my head over the last week as a result of that news, not all of them good by a long shot. However it is income better than I’ve had and will help me get back on my feet. I probably still won’t be able to afford to put shoes on my feet but I will be able to afford to stand up!

A positive aspect of this role is that my record must have spoken for itself given that no referees were required. Perhaps that is a thing now, because to be honest if I was employing unless the referees were internal I’d consider them a waste of time and unreliable: from an employer’s point of view. I’m certainly not saying that I think that about any of my referees. It’s simply that if you’re picking referees that aren’t painting you in the best picture, maybe you should be rethinking your referees strategy.

What I am desperately focussing on are the mental health benefits of not having to worry about how I’m going to be paying the next bill that rolls in every week. That in itself should provide a huge positive in my continuing struggle with Depression. It’s definitely been escalating in a downward direction the last six months particularly despite the fact it was my cheaper season of the financial year. After all there’s only so much you can cut from costs before you’re at basically ground zero and homeless. Thanks to all my friends and family I’ve not slipped into that cadre since that’s clearly extremely difficult to escape once in it.

I’m going to have to continue to focus some efforts on generating extra income from my photography. But at least the pressure will be off to try and generate it via subjects and means I’m not really interested in pursuing from an artistic point of view. I won’t be able to get ahead with the money coming from this new role, but I aim to use it as a “floatation device” while I work on the photography and writing. It has certain benefits too given that I can avoid having to deal with Office Espionage and Politics as it’s a fundamentally solo role placing me outside the office 100% of the time. As some have pointed out, perhaps that is best for me these days from an emotional point of view.

Still In the Game…

February 8th, 2018

At this stage I think a quick post is necessary just so you all realise I’m actually still alive and this two month hiatus from posting isn’t more “final”. I won’t lie, it’s been damn tough the last few months: tougher than it’s been in a long time. Emotionally & Psychologically it’s been hell; I’ve been navigating some very rocky reefs just off a very dangerous coast. I don’t know if I’m out of those waters yet, but at least this week I’ve steered a more positive and productive course. Only time will tell. Time is the only true auditor of “survival”.

I have found some energy and I’m attempting to find some motivation to move on and get out of yet another crossroads where the vehicle (me) has stalled. In some ways it’s seemed like I can see the tick boxes running out at the bottom of the page for chances to start again. I will get a more enlightening post up soon, but for the moment I’ve made use of five minutes to indicate I’m still in the game.

An Emotional Shot in the Arm…

November 5th, 2017

“Today is the first day of the rest of my life…”

It sounds hackneyed and trite. I’d be the first to say that is exactly how I have felt about that statement in the past but it’s also true. I’m not sure why (yet) that statement sounds different to me today, but I found myself saying it early this morning while making breakfast. Is that a sign of hopefulness returning? I’m not sure, but perhaps it has something to do with the day I enjoyed yesterday. I attended a wedding; not something I do lightly as I don’t really believe in the legal construct of a wedding.

I do believe in the commitment that two people can share with each other which is why I attended yesterday’s wedding. It was between two people I believe love & care about each other and they wanted to share their day with those around them that they feel similarly.

It was the most relaxed wedding I’ve been to in over 10 years. That doesn’t demean the event in anyway, it was simply a reflection of the couple and their family and friends.

Somehow though I drove away last night feeling somewhat more “lively” than I have felt in quite a while. Although I was tired at the end of the day and running on very little sleep, I found myself strangely energised by the day and the people. I caught up with some of those friends that sit in the secondary circle and oddly found myself feeling valued again. Even though I’ve not seen several of them for up to a decade, they still managed to demonstrate to me that I’d made a difference in their life and that somehow I’d manage without effort to make a positive impact in their lives. That was valuable and enriching for me yesterday: perhaps it was the shot in the arm that my emotional state has needed?

Only time will tell on this one, but this morning was the most positive feeling morning I can remember in months. Hopefully I can channel this into some positive action forward!

Bobbing Like an Apple in a Barrel…

October 29th, 2017

Progress is slow at best (if at all) over the last couple of months. I’ve been having some horrific bouts of deep Depression that seem to be profound but concentrated over a few days but anything up to about 10 days. Then I seem to crawl back up out of it. It also seems to me that I have some sort of 3/5 week pattern going on. What I mean by that is that I seem to get maybe up to 3 weeks where I’m buoyant enough, then I will have between a week and a fortnight of strong and sometimes overwhelming Depressive bouts.

I’ve been working with a Psychologist again: yet another new one as both my previous choices have retired. The sessions seem to be progressing well so I’m prepared to consider that it’s an escalation before a substantial improvement that’s been transpiring over these last two to three months. But it’s been a very bumpy road this last six months. Yes, I seemed to make some ground earlier in the year, but now that is past things are not progressing as satisfactorily as I’d hoped. Things are just getting emotionally harder as the weeks go by again.

I’ve also had a few financial setbacks again, large bills mostly but I’ve also had to repay some money borrowed, inevitable but not the best time. I thought I’d be financially ok until the end of the year but that’s looking shakier now.

Surprisingly though the last couple of days have been much better. I’ve been making a substantial effort to not come down on myself for a shattered sleep cycle, and basically I’ve decided to just not give a fuck for a week or so about anything other than focussing on positives and trying to experience some happy periods no matter how “irresponsible” that may seem to me. At the moment a positive mood seems more important than anything else to my ongoing psychological survival.