A while ago I wrote “the 24 rules of Lie”.
While the title is a bit of a joke…a certain camp insincerity is just a natural part of being British. There is real meaning in the rules themselves.
As I said on the page they are not rules in the sense of dictating to you. More to remind me of who I am, where I am going and to help me not re-make mistakes of the past.
You can take from them whatever you want to. As I always say that I am not the kind of artist who wants to tell the audience what to feel. I would not insult you so.
But outside of art…..there is life outside of art? surely not!….there are some basic truths at the heart of things if you are willing to go far enough. And as they say “you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts”.
Something I say in philosophical conversations is “don’t get off at every station along the track. Ride the thought all the way to the terminus” I should add “before you speak” to that. I like to get to the root of things, the point where everything is connected and infinite. At which point I lose interest in talking about it LOL.
So for each of these rules there is real truth, both universal and for me personally.
I have decided to elaborate each rule with how it became important to me, what I must remember.
So without further rambling lets start with rule number one.
*1. If you try to imitate someone else’s style you will waste precious time and always be second best to them.
This is pretty self explanatory isn’t it?.
No one can ever be a better ‘you’ than you. Which is the kind of Oprah shit that people just say, and post in vomit inducing memes on facebook without thinking about it.
But before you tune out think about it some more.
I will share an experience of mine.
Years ago when I was in my early teens I was in a few bands. It was a ton of fun but I really wanted to do something different.
I had ideas but couldn’t find anyone (and almost everyone I knew was a musician) who got it. Half of them were only in bands so they could get laid and were not interested in taking any risks creatively for fear of losing their cool.
The other half were ‘proper’ musicians and would tell me that what I wanted to do made no sense ….”you can’t do that/that’s not how it’s done”.
I am self taught in all my arts, and though it made sense to me, I assumed that they knew something I didn’t.
It really put me off on my own projects.
There was a lot more going on in my life, as there always is, nothing is ever cut and dry with clear cause and effect. But suffice to say I was not doing what I wanted to be doing.
A few years later I was clearing out a pile of music magazines.
As usual when doing this kind of task there was more reading than cleaning going on, and I found an interview with Trent Reznor.
Must have been after downward spiral, possibly circa ‘the perfect drug’ because he had that facial hair that made him look like an extra from the three Musketeers.
He talked about when he started Nine Inch Nails. He could not find anyone to work with. He believed the musicians who told him he could not do what he wanted to do….thinking exactly as I had, that they knew something he did not. Like me he lost time to this, and wasted energy on things he didn’t really believe in.
Eventually though he said “Fuck it! if Prince can do it so can I!”. So he went solo and did it his way, living on peanut butter sandwiches and rarely sleeping….the result was Pretty hate machine.
So here is someone I admire, who has been told the same things by the same kind of people. He felt the same way I did, but he got past it and became an icon.
Sadly though, Trent has skills I cannot pretend I possess, so his route was not an option for me but now I have a new drive.
And I remembered being inspired as a kid by Wagner – he used to say that no one part of his operas was more important than the rest. Everything was one work of art from the music to the sets to the costumes to the lighting. And as such he was involved at every level.
So I decided to try and do what I could on my own and to combine my visual artwork with my music. Before then I had , again, accepted what everyone says and felt that I had to choose one over the other. To be a performer OR an artist. But to me it is all one thing. Especially as I literally SEE music, as colour and texture and form and movement. The music is, to me, an extension of the visual and vice versa. One artwork.
“Yay! Lilly!” you might say Kittens “Took you long enough to get that,
you mad bitch, but good on you lets go!”.
Well don’t get too excited yet.
Choosing to take on all of the work myself led to a whole new
community chest of anxiety issues. Sigh, facepalm.
For reasons that seemed to make sense at the time, but damn my claws and call me Bunny if I understand why now, I decided I had to be proficient in instruments that do not come naturally to me….total waste of time, don’t do that. If it’s a chore it can never be art.
Aaaannd there is a proper way of doing animation. Now the first pieces I did were done on instinct and I loved everything about creating new worlds and making them live. But again I am intimidated by those with ‘proper’ training and even ashamed to show my free flow instinctive work. So I waste more time trying to force myself to work to a storyboard and to always know in advance exactly what is going to happen next.
Then I read “Lynch on Lynch”. David Lynch that is. I discover that the way I work naturally, the way that gives me joy and just makes sense to me, is the same approach as David Lynch. He is one of my favorite directors (to put it mildly) and to find out that films I love were made without following the correct procedure!. The people who told me I was wrong, were wrong.
Can you believe it Kittens?
Pretty sure most of you can. The things we put our selves though because we doubt that we could just be right. If we are not justified by someone else we so rarely believe our selves.
It is absurd.
Part of it comes from the way we are taught to think from childhood. Always deferring to those who ‘know better’ always comparing our selves to others. When you say it it is obvious but even the smartest among us can catch our selves doing it.
So know yourself, be honest with yourself, don’t be afraid, don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t waste your time trying to conform to something that does not feel right. And always remember that what comes naturally to you, though we all have a tendency to undervalue it, can never be replicated by anyone else.
Have a fearless day Kittens.
P.S. while this might sound like it contradicts my saying that in order to break art rules you have to know what they are first, it doesn’t. I didn’t figure out the ‘rules’ by making myself work in a way counter to my instincts. I did that by study and experimentation.