“Intentions and Elegance”: Overthinking about Art

I read a good book about a… harpsichord player. I found ideas. Here they are.

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The easy question is “What is it?”. Another question is “What does that mean?”, therefore “What does the artist want to say to us?”. This is a totally higher question, right? Instead of the work, you ask about the artist’s mind, and their will. Does art need a meaning, after all?

Where should we, instead of focusing of things in front of us, focus on what the maker wants?

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If you are a Bach (b 1685) specialist and you want to study or play Mozart (b 1762), you have to make a jump in time and music, and Mozart will appear very modern. But if you come from 19th Century, it will feel like a loss.

From where will you come, to study this or that?

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If you’re enthusiastic, do you master your work?

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Does elegance need the existence of another person? What about the idea telling that real elegance consists in not getting noticed. And Balzac says that to reveal some economy of means is inelegant.

It’s from Latin “elegans”: who knows how to choose.

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A pretentious simplicity, does that exist?

Goethe : When an intention is too visible, it irritates

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Who plays – and how – the tango of strength/delicacy?

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Purity of the sensation, or of the landscape?

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When you touch the harpsichord‘s key, the note appears, that simple. There’s no possibilities of ppp or fff. It’s “the note”, always the same intensity, it’s a yes or no thing.

Without any possibity of nuances, of touch, the subtleties must come from elwhere: the phrases.

Where else do we have this?

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Deep understanding” and at the same time, “spontaneity” (or precision/passion). Both. Same time.

Where? Sex? Conversation? Acting? What kind of skill is this?

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When a rule emerges, its exceptions appear at the same time.

In French: “Déroger à la règle” (The English “to contravene” and “to infringe” sound “to go against”, to fight, but the French one sounds “to take a hidden door”, to depart from, to invent my own path).

An artist who knows enough rules to depart from them: to explore/invent.

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What is a work of art with simultaneity of significations? Sorrow and courage at the same time; violence and sweetness; pride and vanity. What kind of richness is that?

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To admit” (it’s the same in French, admettre) is a curious verb: to confess, to acknowledge, to allow entry, to accept validity, to place, to permit, to conceide or recognize.

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A style emerges, how?

  1. Origin.
  2. Development.
  3. Blossoming.
  4. Refinement.
  5. Saturation.

Where? Examples?

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When can’t we prevent aggravation (or stop worsening)?

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Baudelaire: The restless crowd, whipped on by pleasure

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Do you produce differently (by other means) or something else?

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Is the existence of the past Law, or Force?

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Acknowlegment or recognition? Even gratitude, if you push?

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Which one is the most interesting? Beauty created by nature, or beauty created by men?

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Could you go that far, without the resistance of it?

Thanks for reading!

To be scolded against confitation

ONE

First, I had to search for the correct translation of the French “houspiller” – se faire houspiller : to be scolded, heckled. Okey!

But it does not work. To scold is to censure usually severely or angrily. To heckle is to harass and try to disconcert with questions, challenges, or gibes. Then what about to badger (to harass or annoy persistently), or to rebuke (to criticize sharply)? There’s also “to reprimand“.

The French “houspiller” is all of that, but it contains, I think, “constantly”, and also a slight of positive energy…

It contains : “Big friends or lovers constantly se houspillent”. It contains : they like it, they need it, it’s a game, a stimulating game. Old couples, they love each other but they se houspillent all the time.

“You have too many flaws and you’re a pain in the ass, and I love you!”

TWO

These weeks I read a lot about musicians. One secret of the Beatles seemed linked to the couple Lennon/McCartney, who were clear opposites. And later someone was surprised how McCartney and his one-legged wife were arguing, told it, was heared (oops) by Macca, who winked : “I love them tough!”.

The best album of this guy (2005 – Chaos and Creation in the Backyard) had a “real producer” (Nigel Godrich, who worked with Radiohead) who disturbed him, took some lead and suggestions.

“Nigel… refused to allow me to sing songs that he didn’t like, which was very cheeky of him.”

Although initially taken aback, McCartney appreciated Godrich’s tenacity and honesty.

Bono was asked by a friend “You seem to like to be scolded”, and answered it was cultural (Dublin seems very, very harsh!), that the group (U2) and him were often arguing, that his children were cheeky, and his wife very smart shrewd! And he likes all that!

Bono says that Prince was a genious who probably needed a strong collaborator who’d say to him “this is not good enough”, or “you’re wrong”, to make him fight! He talks about Mick Jagger/Keith Richards who were constantly arguing like children.

The real problem in a relation is not to argue, it’s when you stop arguing! The awkward silence…

THREE

So, what’s my verb? What’s that lovely thing when someone is there and never ceases, when needed, to heckle you or the relation or the work you do together as a “living team”?

Who’s this person?

What’s the word when we don’t have it? Comfy or confit? Confit like marinated comfortable and immobile in delicious well seasoned goose fat certainties?

What’s the words when we do have it, when we’re heckled, fighting, laughing, surprised, bothered, talked and tickled and, well, alive?

When? Why ? How?

Thanks for reading!

The U2 Syndrome – What do you do with a bad song?

Hi! I just found this title in my big list of more than 400 article-drafts, and I loved it. So there it is. Let’s find a tool.

I probably read an interview of Bono, telling about a big “problem” with songs : What do you do with a bad song?

  • You can trash it, or just keep the bits somewhere and wait.
  • You can try to heal the song, like a doctor, finding what is wrong or ill or boring here. Ask someone maybe?
  • You can take two or three bad songs and operate a graft, transplanting ideas on others – with the secret hope that some shocks, weirdies and surprises will come out of it.
  • You can rush and be casual and make is worser… then interesting? Hmmm…
  • You can keep it like that and hope someone will love it!

These tools applies to : “What do you do with a bad …?” (book, marriage, team, president, etc).

It’s option 3 that I often choose, like for my Chronicles these days. I pile drafts, and that’s all. If I entertain someone somewhere on the planet, I’m happy, though I’m a bit sorry for my bad English.

Thanks for reading!

Carpenter or Marquetryier?

In an article about a group the journalist called one musician the carpenter and the other one the expert in marquetry.

It’s obviously an article subjet “in itself”, a tool, a choose your weapon one.

  • A photographer likes textures, and another one thinks “composition”, lines and balance.
  • A poet thinks “long story” and parts, another one thinks about how he would associate words to spark an interesting meaning.
  • An orchestra director works on the big picture, and another one on timbre.
  • A teacher sees a course as a progression, or focuses on elements which…

Wait, isn’t the ideal tool to choose to be the both, each time?

Rarely we are lucky enough to have a McCartney who writes the whole Hey Jude song, AND a Lennon who says hime to keep the great, confusing, fabulous nonandverysensical phrase : “The movement you need is on your shoulder”.

Pure marquetry!

Therefore we have to tango between details and big lines, between a spoken sentence and the scenario, between a minute and a life’s choice…

“The movement you need is on your shoulder”, hmmm what does that mean? It’s maybe the subject of another article, right?

Thanks for reading!

So let it out and let it in
Hey Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you
Hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
La-la-la, la, la
La-la-la, la, mmh

Works that create an irrepressible need to express yourself

Works that create an irrepressible need to express yourself

Take music, for example, you can study it in many ways : historically, genres, energy, impact on society, lyrics, etc…

There’s a book I love (Francis Wolff, Pourquoi la Musique ?) which studies the impact of music on human kind. What music does to us.

Any work of Art can be studied that way, a book, a sonata, a painting or a poem.

What does it do?

  1. Emotion
  2. Remembrance
  3. A need to dance
  4. A need to know more about the artist
  5. A need to get more of her/him!
  6. Relief
  7. Calm down
  8. Focus
  9. Meditation
  10. Understandings of the things of life
  11. Knowledge
  12. Beauty sparks

 

Etc…

Some artists are so… peculiar that they can trigger this : “An irrepressible need to express yourself”.

Why? How? How does it work?

I read it about Proust, and I agree : it’s because his huge Lost Time group of books, besides being a fantastic work of literature, is also a big, constant river of ideas, of “tropisms”, little movements of the mind. It touches little parts of your brain you know very well but, well, nobody talked about it to you before. Therefore you have the constant impression that this guy knows you very, very well. It can become a drug (and it is !).

This puts you into a movement. You need to move, to work, to write, to tell. Your well set big trunks of ideas, in your head, begin to move. Things get alive. They want to get out.

Also, there’s the risk of mimicking the artist who triggered it. Get over it. Don’t care : the flow is here, ready to do its flow thing.

Work, work, work. And thank the person who, in the past, had the talent to open your desire to express.

Who are the person who did this to you?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Proust crée chez son lecteur un besoin irrépressible de s’exprimer.

Fraternal Miniaturists Architects

I just read a J. Drillon article comparing two skills (or can I say, “talents”, “assets”?) of Beethoven and Schubert.

Schubert is described as a fantastic composer of melodies. A melody for him is a perfect little thing, like a poem verse, closed in a shell.

But unlike Beethoven, who will from a melody build fabulous architectures, Schubert will wear himself out. It’s not where his talent is.

As he needs to develop, he will repeat, vary, remodel, dwell on.

Voilà, here’s my structure :

If you’re good in little forms, or fast things, what will  you do with bigger things?

And should even you begin? And if you have to, what are the paths in front of you?

If you’re a poet, what do you do with a novel to write? (Faulkner is a perfect example of a success in this passage). If you’re a photographer, what do you do with a movie? (Puzzle of a Downfall Child, from Jerry Schatzberg, is a splendid movie). Waging war, how can a good strategist become a good tactician?

What I’m interested in is this : if you’re a master of little forms, what should you develop to be good in bigger forms?

There’s a whole conversation to lead with that : Use your weaknesses? Dare more? Be casual? Ask for help? Avant-garde? Stop? Cheat?

What about Schubert, this “genius of exquisite miniatures”? For his symphonies, he makes some long with some short, and it is… imperfection! And it moves us : it makes his art… fraternal. He’s like us. It’s hard, but he makes it. Voilà.

Thanks for reading!

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Whyhow you should know your art

ONE

I talked with a woman working in a photography school.

“The first year, all our students work on analog photography only!”

Waow, in the the digital era, it’s a big deal, right?

Every cam today can keep hundreds or thousands of pictures on a little cheap SD Card. It’s so easy to try, trigger, take bunches of photos until you have a great one, that some photographers buy vintage cams to get :

  1. the splendid grain or texture of real film rolls
  2. but also the necessary meticulousness of the whole process

Choosing a brand for films, choosing settings for the cam, choosing how and when you take a picture, developing : all this becomes important, much more important : rolls are expensive!

This makes you focus.

Therefore it makes perfect sense to begin photography with analog cams.

TWO

Picasso or Klimt and many other painters began with the big knowledge of being great “classical” artists. Manet began to make what ignorants called “mistakes” (showing paintbrush strokes, flattening perspectives). Picasso told that he needed years to un-learn it :

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THREE

Martin L. Gore, composer/singer of Depeche Mode, explains that a song, before going to production with synths and beat-boxes, has to “sound” great with a single voice/acoustic guitar. Before. If it’s good, you can alter textures : the harmonic structure stays good.

TOOL

Where else do we find and use this pattern?

“Know the difficult core of your Art before exploring it, breaking rules or pushing it: you’ll be better”.

Thanks for reading!

Layers of WHYs

Is the art for you and your happiness? Or for others?

Let’s take photography. Why do I do that?

I wondered a lot already about his :

 

OK Here are 4 pictures. For the first one I had to : the cat was great, the verticals were profuse, interesting (light, reflections, shadows), the textures were puzzling (white, bricks, blue), and I love the stairs of books. Plus the darks were dark (I love underexposed photos).

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I took this one in Orsay’s Museum. Silhouette, vertical lines, the walls of Paris. I knew it was a great picture to “stop” the audience. The statue is so cool…

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Here I wanted you to feel the mood, ambiance. The concrete ruin of the war, my daughter in pink (in a coat). Feel the size, feel the wind…

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And here in Lille, the storm was coming. I made it blurry on purpose. The sky was dark, the night was coming, the lights were great, and the perspective cool (the red walls on the right). You can almost smell the first drops of rain, right? I hope so… Entre chien et loup (between dog and wolf is our way to say… dusk).

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So : I love dark & colors. I think on proportions, structures. I don’t do portraits. I do what I love. Each photographer works on something : the camera itself, the post-production, landscapes, animals, fashion.

There are shades and layers. What does the photographer want…

For himself, or for the audience?

In the end, I think we all do things in society… to be loved, to be liked, recognized, noticed… It’s maybe the core of all art.

No. Let’s go deeper.

While doing it, the photographer has fun. He looks for things, frames, moments. He is like a child. He plays. He is focused, busy, occupied, absorbed by their pleasant task.

That’s it, folk. The “child state”. This is pure bliss.

These are many layered reasons why we work, right?

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

Working with what is around

ONE

I heard about a comic-strip artist who works with 3 panels. He says that he was SO used to work in this format that it became almost impossible for him to make longer stories.

TWO

As I bought a new camera, I decided yesterday to take pictures “outside viewed from my apartment only”. Here are 4 of them :

THREE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xavier_de_Maistre was arrested – therefore he wrote “Voyage Around My Room”.

The Yoknapatawpha Rule – it’s when you write about what you know, what is around.

Fruitful Constraints & Creativity – that’s an old classic.

FOUR

There are two concepts here, who want to dance together :

  1. If you are limited by your capacities, your budget, or… what is around you
  2. If you DECIDE to invent limits and ties and constraints

You are creative. You HAVE TO.

Everything that goes wrong… goes right

TOOL

See me coming : do you need to invent constraints to be creative? Where? Can you invent? Do you have to ask someone else?

Isn’t a “given constraint” (Amor fati) a good thing? What about marriage? Or the size of a painting?

What happens when a modern photographer uses an analog camera, where he has to PAY for each picture?

What’s the difference between “What is around and you can use” (because you lack something, money or else) and “Working under invented limits”… just to be creative?

Thanks for reading!

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From remaking “Suspiria”

Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento. Today it’s a classic, grandiose and glossy. It’s also baroque in many ways : decors and colors are vibrant, the music is… not to be outdone.

Considered as a masterpiece, you have today to accept its… exaggerations. If your mind plays the game, it’s a very strange delight, full of great ideas.

When I heard about a remake I facepalmed, like many other movie lovers.

I’ll watch it soon but before that, I read interviews of other directors who reacted on the new Suspiria.

  1. One saying it was stupid to remake it because the first movie was such a milestone.
  2. Another one saying it was OK.
  3. The director, saying it made something totally different, with, for example, colors “à la Fassbinder” (the first Suspiria also happened in Germany).

Tilda Swinton, actress in the new movie, told something very smart (which made me write this article) :

As the story of the first Suspiria is very light (“An American newcomer to a German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a witches coven”), it can be used like an opera libretto.

I thought it was smart. I know dozens of “Manon Lescaut” or “La Bohème”, the Puccini opera, and each time it’s very interesting to see what they do with the characters, the decor…

What does Manon Lescaut want?

I don’t know I feel this is a good tool, but I need help. How can I formalize it?

  • “When you think remaking something is useless, but you have to find a good angle to realize it’s not”?
  • “When you have to think about something in a new way (borrowing from another field) to find a new interest in it”?
  • “Once you have a core, a spirit, you can weave things around, it’ll be interesting to notice the differences”?
  • “Working on decisions : let’s keep this from the original/let’s change that”?

Tell me?

What’s the point to remake something frame by frame (like they’ll do with The Lion King)?

Standing Up Revelations : Chronicle 54

Words I learned today : teal, pier, unfurling, to cling…

OooO

Following the article I wrote yesterday about creativity, I think that the most effective tip, the simplest one, is to walk. It just works : as soon as you’re outside walking because you have to buy a French baguette and two croissants for the breakfast with your lover, you have ideas. Ideas for life, obviously (solutions), but also ideas to write about if you’re a person of words.

I’m slightly disturbed in this process sometimes because I am a little photographer, therefore here am I with my eye, seeing lights and frames, watching trees, doors and gutters.

The creativity book told that walking for ideas works also inside, it’s the movement that works, even around a desk. I was not so sure then I remembered things, like this film editor who always worked standing up in front of his machines. He said that to create (and a film editor creates scenes) you have to “feel”, to be ground-linked, a state you do not have when you’re sitting on a chair.

I heard about many writers or artists (Flaubert for sure, Stravinsky maybe) who wrote/composed standing up in front of a lectern

And maybe bloggers, I suppose, know this : when your article is done, you post it then you stand up to sip orange juice or to shower or to check your postbox, and bim you’re flooded by new paragraphs, extensions, corrections and new words or pitched four words sentences : you have to run back on your chair with this rush…

OooO

An intern told me about some funny little UK series like “Black Books” and “The IT Crowd”. So I gave it a try (in English with English sub). I’m not used to this humor which is : casual, dares everything, childish and very smart at the same time – messy haired, hilarious, stupid, inventive, poetic and clownesque tout à la fois.

Apart from Friends, what are you’re best funny (unknown) TV series?

OooO

With Christmas coming I miss time but I’ll begin next week : to find 4 or 5 “Best Albums of 2018” lists on the web, study them, YouTube them and try to find nuggets and marvels…

OooO

I’m working a lot on GuruShots, a perpetual multi-challenges full of photographers. It’s really interesting to try to please this crowd while staying myself (and not bending my work towards the community hidden standards (which are ugly to me)). In a way there’s a part of manipulation, excitement (a single picture can get hundreds of likes within minutes), challenge (you have to build some pictures, like this tortoise one) and thinking (you have to prepare, schedule and decide about the little tools they provide you), all this to climb in the hierarchy.

When I write and article about a great photographer, I am flabbergasted : these masters would never win anything in GuruShots : too inventive, too dark, too strange, too empty. They are out of the box…

OooO

“One doest not fit” within his parents or the milieu they grow in (think : “Matilda”), it’s really annoying but also gives a rush to witness… I wonder how many writers came from that, writing to flee…

OooO

So it’s the old story of directors who give everything in their life then become to make bad films (Hitchcock, De Palma, Argento), but it’s not true for everyone (Lean, Kurosawa, Spielberg). Del Toro, I dislike everything, thus I watched The Shape of Water skeptically, and I’ve been amazed by everything : a perfect casting, great music and decors, dialogs, scenario. The traps were many (like to push too far the Jeunet/Amelie mood), and it’s been perfectly done.

Have a nice day! Thanks for reading!

Jean-Pascal

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Creativity for Bloggers & others

I took this picture in a French book and I’ll list the creativity tips for you. Apply them on blogging, then on sex, then on photography, OK?

  1. Call evidences into questions : have a “why?” conversation and use it on everything.
  2. Feed from everything : be curious, and be curious out of your field.
  3. Identify your “box” and get out of it : what is your routine?
  4. Go see elsewhere : what will you explore ?
  5. Steal ideas : and let others steal yours, observation & appropriation.
  6. Test your ideas (with whom?) : listen and improve.
  7. Jump into the pool, then learn how to swim : dare, have fun, experiment.
  8. Learn how to fail : get smarter.
  9. Pick yourself up… endlessly; create by mistakes.
  10. Highlight the process, more than the goal.
  11. Flexible and agile : be fast and elegant and gathering…
  12. Stay open, knock down walls : learn, listen to the propositions of life. Who are those who don’t think like you?
  13. Walk : inside or outside, even around your desk! Walk and see ideas blossom.
  14. Write, always write, even imperfectly, even if you feel you have nothing to say. Everyday.
  15. Disconnect and tame boredom.
  16. Do much, with little : even if little is “money” or “time”, or “ideas”.
  17. Work relentlessly.
  18. Love mess, love order too.
  19. Don’t judge (too early) : let your work grow, then you’ll see.
  20. Let go, and trust : de-control-freak yourself?
  21. Surround with the good persons.
  22. Keep your brain in movement : talk with younger people!
  23. Pace yourself. Nap. Don’t be jealous, it’s a loss of time.
  24. It’s never too late

Extend in : can I go too far? Then what?

Try this : prove they’re all wrong.

Then try this : apply to teaching, marketing, military.

What if you don’t have to be creative?

I’d add : listen to propositions, explore your other side, invent your golem

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Treating the Fringe

When you work, there are often two parts :

  1. One part you have to deliver – and you’re paid for it. It’s the “main thing”, your job.
  2. There’s another part, where you treat yourself, or where you treat your audience…

 

“you offer them a treat” : what’s that word which is a noun and a verb? What’s that verb which sounds positive and lovely to me, and at the same time which need “well” at times : to treat well…

Question : does “to treat” contain “to treat well”, “to give pleasure”, or not?

 

It’s a two-parts-pattern all creative people know well.

If you’re a teacher and you have to teach a complicated maths lesson for 2 hours, if you’re a director and your job is to make a film to promote a train station, if you order books for a library, etc :

  1. you can do it the normal, proper way
  2. you can do it in a splendid inventive way
  3. you can play a cursor between both

 

This “3.” is interesting. How do you do it?

  1. Do you begin with pleasure and complexity aimed to an intelligent marginal group, THEN you add elements to help others to stay on the road?
  2. Or do you build the average normal job, then hide smart elements to be seen and guessed by the clever fringe?

 

If your fringe becomes too large, you’re elbowing them, good to you, but you lose the next one, who will look at you as a smart arse : not good, right?

On the other side, if you treat yourself with too much subtlety, it becomes a “private pleasure hidden, just for you”. And why not? :

Luxury is insular

 

Overthinking over it – two examples :

I talked with a friend who, in a way, complained that when you work and you add great and complicated elements on purpose, for the pleasure of resolving them (for example, a sequence-shot when you direct a movie), only a few percents of the audience will catch it (moreover : to find where to put the cursor is a mess).

Pablo Picasso explains that when he works on a complicated project for a cubist painting, he has to develop very subtle and complex balances, colors, masses, energies, frames, etc… This, as the core of his Art.
Then he adds little easy elements (like a necklace or a moustache) and then names the painting accordingly. This to… guide or please the unschooled, while the connoisseur will see the real purpose…

 

Thanks for reading! Have a great sunday!

JP

 

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Picasso’s Tools for bloggers!?

Picasso’s Tools for bloggers!?

Nah, not his cans and brushes : Tools for the mind!

Here’s what I did : I picked a great book about Picasso, from Philippe Dagen.

It’s a great book because it’s not about “Picasso’s life”, and it’s not a “catalog of paintings”. He looked for structures, patterns, tools for the mind, and showed how in many aspects Pablo Picasso is a great artist.

I took a pictures of these patterns he detected, and I’ll casually apply them into the blogging activity. You’re free, after this, to apply this toolbox to poetry, teaching, marketing, photography, baking, theater or music composition. Life’s cool, right?

  1. Discover the modern
  2. Express by the primitive
  3. Build until crumbling
  4. Invent some new codes
  5. Hold all styles in one’s hand
  6. Let loom the monsters
  7. Stare at inhumanity
  8. Pit against the present
  9. Never finish

 

These are terribly pleasant injunctions, right? It shows we can build our own roads, windows, tools and door. It shows we can dare, be casual, open, multiple. It shows we can play, have fun, plug things, juxtapose concepts, dance, be fast, and intelligent, and plugged to the now.

Have fun!

 

 

What does the photographer do in sterile new neighborhood?

What does the photographer do in sterile new neighborhood?

One question the thinker asks is : “Why do you live here?”. Do you live in a quiet old village, or in a quiet new clean street? Left, or right?

Out of the obvious :

  1. On the left, you’d better like your neighbors – and where do you park your fucking car?
  2. On the right, how do you breathe, where’s beauty, where’s life? What would you add (pot of flowers, old things?) not to die in a few days?

Well, it’s too easy, right?

Therefore the entry for my article is the photographer. What do I do? It’s all concrete, straight lines, everything’s smooth!

Hmmm. I could look for cracks, mistakes and flaws, that’s funny, like a revenge of the world. So there! Places like these are like tanned fashion models : entirely boring. And you’re relieved when you notice a flaw : a bit too thick calf, a little scar…

Well, OK. I could try to find line harmonies, colors and clouds, find the “mood of the place”, but I’m not Stephen Shore, sadly :

Another possibility is to cling onto nature : the sky, grass (1), or find a little demon watching (2), or walk just enough to find an old barrier (sigh of relief) (3), or, well, play with my cam in a minimalist mood (4).

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What would you do?

Thanks for reading!

IDM & Math Rock

Hi everyone, I discovered the word “IDM” yesterday (stands for “Intelligent Dance Music“) and it made me think of this idea of “Math Rock“. Let’s ask Wikipedia about this one :

Math rock is a style of indie rock that emerged in the late 1980s in the United States, influenced by post-hardcore, progressive rock bands such as King Crimson, and 20th century minimal music composers such as Steve Reich. Math rock is characterized by complex, atypical rhythmic structures (including irregular stopping and starting), counterpoint, odd time signatures, angular melodies, and extended, often dissonant, chords. It bears similarities to post-rock.

This definition is enough to put a big smile on my face. Crimson and Reich, wahhhh!

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Math_rock
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_dance_music

 

When I think about Math Rock I think about the groupe Battles. Atlas indeed is like crazy crimsonian :

 

Yes, if you listen to Crimson fury after that, you’ll find the links. And there’s fun in listening to the parts (the guitars weaving, the crackling drums, the bass…) :

 

OK if you’re in the mood you can Google “best math rock albums” or “best intelligent dance music albums”. And get a headache?

 

So let’s extract the pattern : In a field, there’s a movement named “math something” or “intelligent something” by the public, which shows a creative complexification of a field.

(Yeah some’ll think it’s all “elitist and derogatory towards other genres” – so there!)

What if you “mathed” something? Intelligent poetry? Math marketing? Photography? Love? What is this :

“complex, atypical rhythmic structures (including irregular stopping and starting), counterpoint, odd time signatures, angular melodies, and extended, often dissonant, chords”

…applied to teaching, writing, sex, blogging, or business?

Is there a way to grow, blossom and climb, propelled by intelligence instead of brute force and traditional tools?

Etc…

 

Thanks for reading!

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Jazz your creativity (the cinematographer’s example)

I’m watching a GREAT documentary about cinematographers, named “Cinematographer Style” (it’s there : https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0847474/ and it’s 7.1 on IMDB, which is not bad at all if you know what it means).

110 of the world’s top cinematographers discuss the art of how and why films look the way they do.

What impresses me is that the director trusted the WORDS of these cinematographers (yes, directors of photography, the guys responsible of the image in movie making) so much that he never shows extracts of movies. You just have these geniuses talking about what they do.

And they’re clever, they’re smart, they’re THINKERS!

Something emerges of this :

There’s a dance between :

  1. They are skilled and they have ideas and a vision and they exactly know what to do.
  2. They adapt, they watch “the moment”, what the city gives, what the actors give, what the sun or the clouds give. They are opened and they dance with the necessities and what happens.

I also love these guys because they lecture us the splendidest way, and they’re always dancing with two sides of reality :

  1. They are artists but they are technicians
  2. They use natural light and artificial light
  3. They have a strong personality but they have to follow the director
  4. Thinkers but practical

Well, that’s all. Watch it if you find it and have fun : apply their words to your field. Learn from them. And if you’re interested, watch the films they worked on!

It made me happy, because they are generous thinkers…

Thanks for reading!

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Exploration of explorers’ works. Let’s Robert Altman & Werner Herzog, for a while

“There’s hope but not for us”, said Kafka. I don’t know why I think about this when I think about Robert Altman (in fact, I exactly know why…).

Cut prices time, I just bought an American big book about Altman (the director or M.A.S.H.) :

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I remember being amazed by the choral qualities of the splendid Nashville or the toxic Short Cuts (weaved from R. Carver’s short stories), being bored (but couldn’t stop watching) with The Long Goodbye, the modernity of Three Girls, the sound of McCabe (and the snow), laughing with MASH, the cruelty of The Player or Prêt-à-Porter.

I also remember that I ALWAYS loved reading about him and his work. You can not label him. He explores.

Googling “Best Robert Altman movies” leads to good pages. Article or comments give elements :

  • Let’s face it. You either “get” Altman or you don’t.
  • Pretentious asshole who’s work was so far removed from the wrapping of “genius” that his siciphants and fans labelled.
  • It’s hard to rate Altman’s films because you need such different criteria for each of his films to be fair.
  • Paul Thomas Anderson has frequently testified to Altman’s influence on his work.

 

https://www.indiewire.com/2014/10/robert-altmans-top-15-films-190632/

https://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/ten-must-see-robert-altman-films/

Yes, there’s a hopelessness in Altman, and Nashville is an American one…

 

Well also I watched Burden of Dreams, about Werner Herzog‘s movie Fitzcarraldo. I was amazed by the will of this man (on the left photo). His gaze. His German strength. A crazy will, a gorgeous, beautiful willpower.

Thus I’m downloading all his best documentaries. Here are some on IMDB :

https://www.imdb.com/list/ls066303643/

 

(I won’t go in the jungle, but I’m interested in this guy’s obsession – astronomer/astronaut, remember?)

 

Exploration of explorers’ works. This will be an interesting summer…

 

 

Have a nice day!

 

 

There’s ALWAYS hope
it’ll never end
when it’s worth it, right?
It’s all about willpower.

Tools from an Opera director

To direct an opera is certainly a mess! You have to deal with a “text and music” system, then with musicians, singers, light, settings, the past… all this with a vision, right?

I read an interview of Claus Guth who directed a La Bohème (Puccini) in Paris this winter. Here are his ways :

  1. Two years before the opera, he takes the book, reads it, takes some notes, and… put it back in the drawer for resting.
  2. He listens to the music in loop, for days. He’s happy to not understand the words (he’s German, Puccini Italian), and writes the ideas he gets : irrationally, emotionally, viscerally.
  3. Then he works : searches about the opera the composer the writer the historical backgrounds…
  4. After months of thinking about it, he gathers his team to talk around a table, to get ideas. A concept emerges…
  5. One year before the opera, they try things with scenery, settings.
  6. Then he retires, alone, for a few weeks.
  7. He begins to work with singers and confront them with what he wants to do. Some play along rapidly, some have to be guided… to be creative.
  8. According to him, the main thing is the music. If the text is good but he doesn’t like the music, he can’t do anything. But if the text is weak but the music good (which happens often in operas), he will work on it, on elevation…
  9. He likes to keep rehearsals secret, wanting the audience to be surprised at the premiere.

 

La Bohème is about poor artists in Paris in the 1830s. For me it’s the best opera ever! Therefore I’m never annoyed by directing transpositions in other styles, the fifties, or other countries, etc. It can be ugly, but it’s most of the time interesting. I really think that we can do anything with a masterpiece : you’ll never hurt it really. Playing with archetypes, putting’em into other universes, it’s often amazing!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_boh%C3%A8me

I have to say that I already watch dozens of La Bohème happening in the streets of Paris and in frozen attic rooms (2nd picture). Guth decided to put it in space (!) (1st picture), in a lost spatial station, playing with a game of souvenirs, double characters, etc…

As they say in Libération, the French newspaper, it was “sidereally staggering” ( http://next.liberation.fr/theatre/2017/12/07/une-boheme-siderale-et-siderante_1615146 )

“we were flabbergasted (under the scream and catcalls) because we were suddenly seeing the bohemian lifestyle, from 1840 or 2017), on stage, all naked : artistically battybonkers, suicidal, not looking for approval, desesperate and sparkling like in a dream plunge to escape the misery of life”…

 

It’s true that the idea of Bohemian life (being a poor artist, with casualness and freedom (and parties and alcohol) it implies) is a problem : there’s a lie, a too big differences between your ideals and the reality…

 

 

I wrote this article to throw a few tools on my little table :

  • In Art, one pleasure is to compare readings, interpretations of a same piece.
  • It’s maybe creative to take a long time to work on something, with weeks or months of rest between work. Simmering.
  • Explore a masterpiece casually – without holding all the cards, just to see what it triggers in you. Then explore, read, and watch how what you fiund weaves with what you imagined.
  • Collaborations and conversations : sources of ideas.
  • Strength given by pauses alone. Watch things grow into you.
  • Find from where you can grow things (here : music) when a system in not entirely satisfying.
  • Keep things secret to have more impact.

 

These tools are somewhat obvious. Where will we apply them? Poetry? Photography? Couple? Teams? Companies? Literature?

 

Thanks for reading, and sorry for my English…

 

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Should we know about the Masters?

I heard about an old French movies critic who was wondering about the fact that many cinema enthusiasts where like stuck in their time, knowing nothing about the Masters of the past.

That’s a good question, right?

It’s the same for other Arts. You can be a good photographer without knowing much about big photographers or movements in the 70s, or in the 50s, the 20s, whatever.

I do ask myself though. Who are the masters? What did they bring? What can we learn from them?

I do think it’s not really a problem, though. In Cinema, you can enjoy Nolan without knowing Kubrick, you can watch The Sopranos without knowing anything about Coppola’s The Godfather.

It’s a “me” thing, I beg.

It’s because I think that the main string in Art’s harp is this question :

“What newness is brought, here?”

Novelty is pulsing along the long course of human creativity. This is what I seek. As Zola says before Manet : “What I seek before all else in a painting is a man, not a painting.”

For example I love Stephen Shore‘s photographies, but I also love he’s a thinker, that he says that a photography has to be “solved”. I love to know what were his… concerns, and how he tried to find solutions, etc…

I’d say this is a trait. Thinkers. They like to do things with passion, but they also like to think about it, about the links with other arts, other eras, other times. Links. Links. Links. What grows. What dies. What moved, or rotated. Links. Links. Links. Words and analysis…

I like to know who are the Masters of the past, and who they were, how they were working, what they discovered and shared. Not necessarily to try to be better, my, oh no.

Just to have a map of the ground I’m walking on.

Thanks for reading!

 

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