Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Time Enough to Dream

I am knee deep in the planning and research phase for my show in the fall, 7 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT.

The research phase is relatively easy. It’s just a matter of collecting information. I got books and research going on the atomic bomb, atomic testings, Oppenheimer, the Manhattan project, Kronos, Hesiod, Greek myths, masks, puppets, blues music, folk music, death, time, funerals, rituals, and theories about the end of the world. See? Easy to collect information. Sometimes you can have too much information.

The planning is much more difficult. Planning means making choices and as we all know, making choices is hard but its what making art is all about. Art is about what the artist decides to keep in the frame.

Somewhere in the early process, an artist needs to daydream. It’s hard to find time for that. Do you schedule it on your calendar? Most people think daydreaming is a bad thing. When we’re a kid sitting in algebra class, looking out the window and imagining other worlds (or just fantasizing about playing for the Yankees), we get yelled at by our teachers for not paying attention.

We’re told that dreamers aren’t doers.

Well, that’s all a bunch a crap.

You need to dream before you can do.

It's one of the best ways to get to your inner truth that lies in your subconscious. That's where the gold is. That's where YOU as an artist live. Otherwise you're just scratching at the surface. Playing it safe.

Some of my best work has come out of those times when my mind is left to wander. Times when I’m so bored by whatever I’m doing that my mind has just got to entertain itself somehow. I think this skill was cultivated in me at an early age when our family would drive four hours from Reno to San Jose to visit relatives for the weekend and then drive back again on Sunday night. This was before iPods and DVD players in the backseat. Sometimes I would listen to my Walkman (yes, I had a real Sony walkman with the old cassette tapes, that’s how freakin’ old I am…) and I let my mind wander, seeing images of characters and worlds act out stories in my mind’s eye. In a way it was like I was making mini-movies in my head.

Needless to say, I was not a very social child.


The point is that artists need their imagination. As Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Smart guy.

Take ten minutes today and go find a secret place to daydream. Don’t think.


1 comment:

Erin said...

Hey there, its Erin, I'm bored and was facebook stalking and I love reading people's blogs (I know I might be the only person in the world). But anyway, I have a couple presents for you next week! Both of which are first hand account books on the manhattan project. If you want any weird classified stuff let me know. My grandpa is senile now and his brain has "de-classified" them! He also has stories of Einstein and Fermi (he was friends with them), so yeah. PRESENTS!