Friday, January 22, 2010

We the Critics are Gathered Here...

We are all critics. We all have opinions and a desire to be right. We (humans) are also very complex organisms.

Today I listened to a documentary about the jazz musician Dave Brubeck. Early on jazz folks thought his creativity was totally out of place. Jazz was about swing back then. He didn't have any swing. "You don't speak our language, you don't belong!" is the gist of what they told him over and over again. He probably thought these people were amazingly close minded because he continued on his way, connecting with the sounds of music he heard in the most honest part of his soul, and connecting with anyone who would listen. History tells that a lot of people did listen!

Brubeck is a very successful artist. We are not all in that very public boat (flower, seed pod?) but we are all leaders in our own tiny little art gardens. When we look around at the art of others, do we look to see originality, insight, some element of truth? Or do we look with an attitude of "You don't speak my language."

When we look at our own artistic practices, do we think "I must follow the rules laid down by those in the know." Or do we know in our hearts that we are speaking a language coming from so honest a place that no regional philosophy can deny it.

Design is attractive. Truth is not always so. But truth resonates and makes one's life worth living, whether we are seeing it in the work of others, or in the art we create ourselves.