Artistry

“Here’s the only thing you need to remember from this talk: ‘Study something you love to death’—I mean ‘depth’! [laughter] ‘Study something you love in depth.’ I just gave you an hour, so tonight give me 45 minutes. Spend 45 minutes tonight studying something you love. Watch the first five minutes of your favorite movie 7 times. You will notice new things.” – Paul Karasik from a lecture entitled “How to Read a Comic”

I’m continuing my battle against cynicism and becoming jaded.

A part of winning this fight is dropping everything that’s uninspiring and focusing intently on what makes my inner artist boom with glee. So last weekend I spent over an hour searching for this post I came across a few months ago that encouraged budding artists to forget trying to learn everything and to just study a couple of inspirations in depth.

I couldn’t find it.

But I did find this post by Austin Kleon that had the above similar quote. This is some of the best advice I’ve received.

Only recently have I accepted the importance of not wasting my time by doing things I don’t like. A lot of people skip and move on from songs they don’t like, but they can feel obligated to finish movies, podcasts, and books.

Just don’t. Life’s too short to not be amazed and gripped with anticipation.

For this reason, in addition to cutting out listening to the news, I’ve narrowed down the number of podcasts I listen to from around 30 to 9, I’m rewatching Bo Burnham’s SPECTACULAR movie Eighth Gradeand rereading The War of Art.

Yes, it’s mad inspiring.

Don’t let others’ portrayals fool you, living a good life is tough for pretty much everyone.

 

 

My artist is writerly and enjoys sophistication, hope, sincerity, solitude, and the intimacy of small, thoughtful groups.

My artist has clear influences: the vulnerability and heart of Brené Brown, the entrepreneurialism and distinction of Seth Godin, the whimsical craft of Austin Kleon, and the cultural grounding of Bo Burnham.

But my artist is not them.

My artist is unique to itself.

This uniqueness must be nourished and accepted without compromise to live the fullest, most contributing expression of my life.

Nourishment involves constant experimentation.

Its affinities manifested through this iterative process include the love found in the writing of E.B. White, the curiosity of Krista Tippett, the collective shame of adolescence, and the authenticity of Thoreau.

It is not drawn to others’ poetry because of the time it takes to decipher the abstraction, the negativity found in the writing of Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the manipulation found in books about selling and business.

I don’t know what we should be doing with our time.

If I were to guess, I’d say figuring out what it means to live a good life, advance truth, and discover what’s fulfilling.

In sum, to understand wisdom, love, and happiness.

This is antithetical to the idea of focusing on how to get ahead of others, how to take advantage of them, and how to compete.

It’s better to fail in a career and be true to yourself and kind to others than to reach the heights of institutional success by abandoning your values and being selfish and manipulative.

Work hard. Stand in your conviction. And don’t be afraid.