Re-Learning Creativity From a Toddler

Every day, one of the things I am thankful for is the ability to create : to have been gifted such a vast canvas and be able to fill in what little details I have the time and skill to render.  This weekend, my 1.5 year old daughter taught me something about creativity when she sat  on the piano bench in our dining room.  Until this moment, I had always observed from her perspective as she had  played while sitting on my lap, but this time, I stood back and watched.  She was absolutely enraptured with her creativity.  What shocked me was the realization of her pleasure at her playing.  There wasn’t frustration.  There wasn’t self-reproach at her lack of skill, but only joy at exploring percussive action and sound.  As I watched, I honestly felt silly for all those times I played when I got frustrated because I’m not good enough, all those times the sound in my head didn’t come out of my hands, or worse, those times that I compare myself to the likes of idols who dedicated their lives to an instrument.  It’s too often lately I am competing against my imagination… here, in front of me, was a toddler at one with her imagination.

When is it that creativity becomes competitive?  Art becomes an act not just of inspiration, but of adversity?  Too often, I find myself looking at my creativity in terms of market potential (monetization) which is its own competition (capitalism).  What Minnette showed me in a few minutes revealed that not only had I lost track of the meaning of inspiration, but that I was defeating my own creativity by pitting my imagination against itself.  In the simplest, and purest form, the act of creation shows itself to be its own reward on the face and in the laughter of a 1.5 year-old.

 

This Day in History: Future U.S. President Andrew Jackson Kills Charles Dickinson for Publicly Calling Jackson a “Worthless Scoundrel, a Poltroon and a Coward”

English: Andrew Jackson - 7 th President of th...

English: Andrew Jackson - 7 th President of the United States (1829–1837) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I had a time-machine, one of the first people I would visit from American history would be Andrew Jackson.  I just came across this interesting post about the President and this day in history.

via This Day in History: Future U.S. President Andrew Jackson Kills Charles Dickinson for Publicly Calling Jackson a “Worthless Scoundrel, a Poltroon and a Coward”.

Hunt of Red October, Variations on Trotsky, Red Army Choir, Submarines

Today was another one of those weird days in the sub-conscious.

The Hunt for Red October (film)

The Hunt for Red October (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night, while working on After Effects, I had The Hunt for Red October playing on Netflix.  I hadn’t watched the movie for years.  It’s excellent, if you haven’t seen it.  One of my favorite moments is in the first 10 minutes.  The crew on a Russian submarine is speaking in Russian (no surprise).  The camera pushes in on a character’s lips, and suddenly the actor switches to English.  The camera comes back out and resumes.  Just such a novel device and at a moment that takes us from this disconnect of reading words on a screen to hearing spoken passages from the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita interpreted through the mind of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Father of the Atomic Bomb (and one  of the 3 people I would visit in a time-machine).  Such a beautiful moment telling the state of two nations locked in the Cold War.

But getting back on topic.: Today was another one of those weird days in the sub-conscious.

I woke this morning with the Red Army Choir playing in my head.  Something like this :

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This became the FM station in my head throughout the day : selections by the Red Army Choir.

Ironically, YouTube decided to play an ad which interrupted the flow:

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All I could think of was “The proletariat is right. The proletariat must always be right. And the revolution of the proletariat against oppression must go on . . . forever!”  That and Trotsky with a pickaxe in his head a la David Ives.

Alexandrov Choir and Yosif Kobzon sing in Wars...

Alexandrov Choir and Yosif Kobzon sing in Warsaw, October 2009 Polski: Chór Aleksandrowa i Josif Kobzon w czasie koncertu w Warszawie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I ended up waiting for Kathryn at her office building while she was wrapping up some research.  I decided to take the half hour and read up on submarines, beginning with the Kursk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_submarine_K-141_Kursk) and ending by reading on all the generations of Russian and American submaries WWII forward.  (Ain’t Wikipedia amazing?)

The only unfortunate thing is: in order to push in some more knowledge on submarines, I probably had to forget something.  Hope it wasn’t important.

 

View from my Office

I took this photo last Thursday.  It has not been doctored in any way.  As I was leaving my office, there was this very strange light over Stamford.  It had been very windy the past two days.  This was the end of the winds and with it came this blue sky above mixed with clouds to the south and west (we’re looking toward NYC).

Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913–2008

I revisted the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this past weekend and had the opportunity to see the Vanity Fair show I refered to in my previous post.  AWESOME!  Honestly, this was my favorite exhibit of any show I can remember in recent history.  There are some permanent collections at the Met that I love, but this show was just the best all around photo exhibit I’ve seen.  Of course, in my mind, Annie Leibovitz’s work dominated the more recent era.  (You can read about her here on Wikipedia).  Most of these shots encompassed film celebrities, however, there were also some ones that I didn’t expect.  There’s a shot of Bush and his advisers in the Oval Office ca. the invasion of Iraq that looks eerily comfortable but has the undertone of “We just went to war.”  There’s also a shot that hit me, that I think was hers, of Ronald and Nancy Reagan dancing.  It was just this very poignant and tender moment.

In the earlier photos, there’s a shot of Monet months before his death… DH Lawrence, Picasso, Gloria Swanson, Hugh Grant.  I know I’m not hitting on the best, because all the photos were the best and I just can’t recall them all.

Anyway, if you find yourself in LA, go!

Here’s the link to the show: http://www.lacma.org/art/ExhibVF.aspx

Over and Out.

Neighborhood Shots – The Burning Tree

The past few weeks, I’ve been trying to go out at night, when the streets are wet, to take photos around my neighborhood (see the “photos” link under the Main Menu).  The past few nights I’ve been particularly anxious to get some shots as the leaves have passed their peak and are falling quick, making some really interesting splashes of color.

I spent last evening with my friends, the Daures, down in Stamford.  When we took a walk, I seriously regretted not bring my tripod as their neighborhood has some interesting turns and windy paths.  Needless to say, when I got home (ca 1:00) I was too psyched to go to sleep.  I grabbed my tripod and walked the neighborhood until 3 or so.  Here are some of the shots I’ve pulled off the cards so far.  More are on the way.

Norwalk, CT - Burning Tree - by Seth Perkins

Reach out and make a friend