Thursday, January 28, 2010

The War of Art and My Meat Couch

"Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others. If they speak at all it is to offer encouragement"

- Steven Pressfield in the War of Art

Here are two works of art I'm sure to most of will sound disgusting or baffling or insane or silly.

  1. A couch made of meat.
  2. The artist was eating felt suits because she was becoming a moth.

What's crazy though is that out of all the art I've seen in my life, which is probably an amount that is above average, these are the 2 pieces of art I've talked about the most.

The most? I can't remember the last time I actually shared my feelings on a Van Gogh with a friend or acquaintance. But I've been sharing a bit of the experience in seeing these very odd works of art with friends, acquaintances and strangers for the last 10 years.

The artist is Jana Sterbak. The name of her collection stuck in my head too: Metamorphosis. Here's a bit about her moth stuff and eating suits. And her meat stuff.

10 years ago when I saw this at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and until pretty recently I was loudly critical over it. This isn't "art". This is stupid. This is skill less or talentless?

But now, much more recently, I realize that even though I might not have understood it at the time, this art made some crazy impact. Maybe if only that I still remember it. Maybe if only that it was different enough to stand out among all the other pretty "normal" art.

Or maybe because it taught me a lesson that I need to be more accepting of other people's explorations of something different. Or maybe I need to be more exploratory and experimental myself in how I create things.

After all Van Gogh is awesome. But it's never had the impact on me of encouraging experimentation like Jana has.

So I'll end with this. A web comic. :) I just recently (last weekend) started taking a crack at doing some vector drawing on a computer. I have very little skill right now. But forever I've wanted to add imagery that comes from my own brain to accent the other stuff I create. The websites. The blog posts. The businesses.

A few people I've shown it to liked it. And a bunch of other folks were a tad on the other extreme :) My favorite so far was this:

"Either this borders on retardation or Its going over my head" - Robert

So here is episode 1.

If you feel like it, let me know if it's useful at all to you. I hope, maybe one day I can make a meat couch for Robert.


Steven Pressfield wrote a great book called the War of Art, which I'm in the middle of. The only reason I'm reading it, is because Merlin Mann brought him up while interviewing Seth Godin about his new book Linchpin. Merlin Mann hadn't read Linchpin yet and didn't realize Seth Godin coincidentally takes a great deal of inspiration from Steven and has a bunch of mentions in his book. Merlin's interview is worth a listen.

So I thought I'd take a gander at this seminal book for Merlin and Seth, before I read Linchpin. Seth, I promise, Linchpin is next!

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