The last few months have been wonderful for me. And simultaneously rather awful. But the awful stuff has inspired me, perhaps more than the good. That’s the nature of the creative process, isn’t it? To take the manure of life and use it to fuel new growth.
So many of my favorite artists turned adversity into raw material. Van Gogh was fueled by his isolation and mental illness into a turbo–charged creativity machine that cranked out another startling painting virtually every day. Frida Kahlo, whose body was crisscrossed with scars from polio and from being run over by a bus, turned her disabilities, her awful marriage, her abortions and miscarriages into the sources for her brilliant work. Hockney faced homophobia; Basquiat racism; Bacon, Goya, Picasso were all inspired by the terrors of war.
A couple of years ago, I looked in the mirror as I struggled to button my trousers and said, “You fat bastard, get to the gym.” I dutifully signed up for a gym membership, got a trainer and vowed earnestly to show up. My initial physical assessment was depressing. I was fat indeed. But, energized by novelty, I showed up at my first appointment with visions of a lithe me doing handsprings in my head.
God, it was grueling. I was red faced and puffing a few minutes into the session. I clearly had an awfully long way to go. How would I stick to it rather than retiring to a pint of ice cream on the couch? The financial commitment was somewhat helpful; I’d optimistically bought an expensive package of training sessions so I couldn’t very well blow it off outright. Instead I just started to space the sessions further and further apart, from three weekly sessions to one that I managed to fill with chitchat rather than cardio.
Five years ago, Koosje Koene and I started on an epic adventure to create a new creative business. For this episode of the art for all podcast, we sat down to discuss all that has happened, all we have learned, and all we hope to do with Sketchbook Skool. We were joined by our Dean of Students, Morgan Green.
If you are a fan of Sketchbook Skool or are hoping to start your own creative business, I hope you’ll find this discussion of interest.
NOTE: This is the last episode of Season One. We will return soon with the new season. For updates, please subscribe to the free Sketchbook Skool Zine.
A few years ago I was thinking about my tendency toward jealousy and my occasional bursts of wrath. These are among my less appealing qualities but I insist on hanging onto them nonetheless.
As I thought about these shortcomings, I realized that they constituted two of the deadly sins described in Dante, and that in fact, if I was completely honest with myself, I was guilty of all seven: Envy, wrath, pride, greed, lust, gluttony and sloth. Not in my life in general, but specifically when it comes to creative matters.
I decided to write a series of blog posts in the subject which I enjoyed and met with muted response upon publication here. Nonetheless, that series remained very interesting to me and so I decided to revisit them in my new life as an internationally acclaimed podcast host.
This week’s podcast is a fresh version of the seven deadly sins as they apply to creative endeavors, retooled and updated for a new generation, and scored lightly with well-mixed Gregorian chants.
I’m not sure if the listening audience will be any more interested in them than the reading one was, but I enjoy hurling things at the wall and waiting to see what sticks.
If you don’t think the deadly sins apply to you, spend a half hour with me and your headphones and let me know if I convince you otherwise.