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The fickle nature of artistic temperament
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JingleJoe



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject:  The fickle nature of artistic temperament Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Calling myself an artist makes me feel really pretentious but I am an artist, damnit! I am a creator and have the temperament so often associated with creative people; madness. I am certain many of you too could be described in the same way.
Do you also feel the near bi-polar highs and lows of inspiration and motivation?

I am very much into electronics, and subequently the synth DIY section here on electro-music.com ... but sometimes it feels like my inventions and electronics are the crappiest and most worthless things ever made. Other times I am full of inspiration and energy and I am certain I can create the greatest synthesizer ever! Well maybe not the greatest, who can compete with the ARP 2600? But pretty damn good anyway!

So whats the point of this thread? Maybe I want to get some vindication that people will like what I make, whatever the case, tell me how your artistic temperament is manifested?

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audiodef



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

We are our own worst critics. I think that's the practical definition of "artist".
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JingleJoe



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

audiodef wrote:
We are our own worst critics. I think that's the practical definition of "artist".

There's the thing, I'm not too hard on myself. I look at my work and think "it's pretty good" most of the time, but sometimes everything feels futile and even then I like my own work.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think most artists go through phases of despair and doubt about their self-worth. I'd much rather have a good dose of humility than hubris, though. It makes for more genuine art.

As for the art of circuit building, it's a lot like sculpture. The end product is definitely an expression and not simply for the function it serves. To me, it is relatively rare to and a gift to be able to both build the instruments and make music or sound sculpture with them.

I have been composing music for 40+ years now, and building circuits for almost the same amount of time. I have frequent bouts of self doubt with both, and having a community of like minded individuals is certainly reassuring.

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JingleJoe



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well I'm feeling much better now Smile I allways feel better after just completing an invention ... speaking of that I have some recording to do!
Thanks EdisonRex, I am rare then Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I almost want to stop calling myself Inventor because Creator is more appropriate. We are all creators, whether we create by raising a child or soldering transistors together or any other means. It's inherent in our being.

Inventor, however, carries with it implications of business intent including get rich quick daydreams and other such nonsense.

I have dreamed since childhood of inventing some significant thing, some amazing thing that would change the world in a positive way. Not as a means to gaining wealth or power or anything like that, but why?

Today I have finally realized the reason and it is so very simple. When I was a child in a typically dysfunctional home, the single most effective way to gain approval and attention from my otherwise argumentative parents was to create something. I would work sunrise to sunset in a trance-like meditation over plastic models and paint and glue and plaster and trains and planes and cars and all such things that fill the mind of youth. The crowning moment of achievement was when I would bring the creation to my parents and receive a thorough dose of love and attention... until next time.

Today i am still doing the same thing in Second Life at show-and-tell events, and also here at electro-music via circuitry, software, radio, and forum. I guess old habits die hard, so it's not going to change nor do I want it to change.

As to thoughts of some project being "the best" or "good enough", and any resulting self-doubt, i would recommend freeing yourself of those notions. In fact, that's one of our principles here that I've had to learn: there is no better or worse, only different.

So enjoy the moment, the second followed by another second and another, cherishing the opportunity to create. It's a gift - and a mighty fine one at that.

Les

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audiodef



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well said, Les! Smile

Let the joy of inventing and creating be its own satisfaction and motivation.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I define the word inventor differently; I see it as someone who creates new things or ways of doing things. Many of us creators aren't really doing anything revolutionarily new, heck all my circuits are basically half of someone elses with a bit of ohms law/capacitor time constant thrown at it to make it work for me. Not really inventing but definately creating.

I'm not concerned with being the best, I am free from that notion, what I am not free from is feeling like my creations are no good.
I've allways been a creator, simple as that. My family are no support though, infact sometimes I feel like- (I'm about to go all deep and emotional Rolling Eyes) -like I'm 3 years behind myself because of the lack of thier support.
And thats what could really help with my artistic melancholy state: support.


I'm a creator to the core, an old school hacker at heart Wink I am only alive as long as I can create.


P.S. I used to play second life too! Made loads of castles Very Happy Now I prefer minecraft Laughing

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sigh...
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"A creative person makes lots of things,
An artist knows what to throw away."

Don't know where that quote came from, but it has stayed with me for a long time now.

I think it is true that artistic, creative, inventive, fantastic mindtypes are often locked in an internal battle against inherently cynical, doubtful, questioning, depressive forces of the psyche. I think it's a type of self regulation of the mind. As with most self regulating systems it sometimes under or overcompensates. It's a constant balancing act which needs to be tweaked carefully and often.
As for that sense of futility which sometimes looms above my creative instinct,.... well, I've learned to treat it the same as other symptoms of depression. Recognise it, accept it, try to learn something from it, and then carry on doing the things I like to do in spite of it.

I like to see myself as trying to absorb the darkness. So that I can assimilate it, make it work for me rather than against me. Try not to lay the shadow at someone else's door. Blaming others for the darkness will not bring about a cure, and you may be giving away some of your most potent and profound power.

Well,...
that's how I see it anyway.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
"A creative person makes lots of things,
An artist knows what to throw away."

Don't know where that quote came from, but it has stayed with me for a long time now.

I think it is true that artistic, creative, inventive, fantastic mindtypes are often locked in an internal battle against inherently cynical, doubtful, questioning, depressive forces of the psyche. I think it's a type of self regulation of the mind. As with most self regulating systems it sometimes under or overcompensates. It's a constant balancing act which needs to be tweaked carefully and often.
As for that sense of futility which sometimes looms above my creative instinct,.... well, I've learned to treat it the same as other symptoms of depression. Recognise it, accept it, try to learn something from it, and then carry on doing the things I like to do in spite of it.

I like to see myself as trying to absorb the darkness. So that I can assimilate it, make it work for me rather than against me. Try not to lay the shadow at someone else's door. Blaming others for the darkness will not bring about a cure, and you may be giving away some of your most potent and profound power.

Well,...
that's how I see it anyway.


That rings true to me. My problem is not knowing what to throw away.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't know if having ups and downs are restricted to artists or people who do creative things... But I am sure I am missing the point.

I do think though, that we as humans do like to emphasize certain caracteristics in ourselves, and in doing so, unwittingly put ourselves in a worse situation than we have to... I have a personality, sure, but I do not believe in talent, horoscopes, myths about "the artist" or other boxes that we so conveniently like to put ourselves and others in. I do instintively make these mistakes of course, but long term I hope to be more flexible than that, and also hope to be the best that I can possibly be, by correcting myself and telling myself that I am free of any categorisations that exist out there, all there is is me and my comfort zone - something to challenge and break out of. Being depressed is definitely a comfort zone, apart from being a personal little hell. Coming out of it has not been easy, but slowly, over the years, I have found that everything is possible and even if I am no alchemist I do no longer find it hard to be creative whenever I wish or need to. I believe that life thows at you the exact things that you need to deal with at any time and that letting go of all expectations and personal agendas and going with the flow is what makes a better human being, let alone an artist. I am still a pretty shitty human being, but I am improving at least, and hoping to never stop improving for as long as humanly possible. And then some.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good words, Rob. You're OK in my book. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've been trying to craft a nice contribution to this thread. I write a few paragraphs, then just delete it all.

An hour has gone by with nothing to show for it.

This is how I compose music. It is tortuous. Amazing that I have finished anything.

To finish compositions is one of the hardest things I do -- through shear force of will I complete them.

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emdot_ambient



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

An artist who is unable or unwilling to practice self-evaluation isn't an artist, just an egotist.

In my opinion the actual activity of any artist isn't expression of feeling, but self exploration. That involves questioning not only what you're doing, but how you're doing it, why you're doing it, what its relationship is to culture, society, history, to your spiritual or emotional growth...to your own development and value as a human being.

Anyone involved in that kind of process will go through periods of self-doubt and self-admonition, along with self-approval, inspiration...and ultimately re-appraisal. You will challenge your preconceived ideas and "natural" tendancies, find them lacking, rearrange your thoughts, feelings and ideas...then do it all over again. You might ultimately end up back where you began. But it's the process, not the result that really carries meaning.

...Now everything I just wrote seems like total BS Sad

Wink

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

emdot_ambient wrote:
...it's the process, not the result that really carries meaning.

I really appreciate your post. It really spoke to me. Thanks!
emdot_ambient wrote:

...Now everything I just wrote seems like total BS Sad
Wink

Would if I could express my thoughts so well! Smile

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

@emdot_ambient -- hope you don't mind -- I shared your post with my FB friends.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Share away. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My perspective is that it's neither expression of feeling nor self exploration, but exploration of the universe.

The good hikes out there always leave trail heads for more expansion later.

I think, the older I get, there's less and less personal about it, despite processed banjos and blues harmonicas and whatever idiosyncratic media may cross the radar.

It's all just the universe, with a relatively small piece of it exploring, while it lasts, various corners of it. Farting around, as Bacchus quoted Vonnegut here.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

emdot_ambient wrote:
In my opinion the actual activity of any artist isn't expression of feeling, but self exploration. That involves questioning not only what you're doing, but how you're doing it, why you're doing it, what its relationship is to culture, society, history, to your spiritual or emotional growth...to your own development and value as a human being.


I'm also not into expression as a goal, and I'd probably take it a bit further and say the subject I think I'm exploring is the design space of music*, rather than my personal ideas, abilities and limitations. I keep coming up against my limitations because they're there, and I try to push them a bit further each time. This learning process interests me, but I really wouldn't like to think of it as part of the content of my art.

I seem to remember something Kyle Gann wrote a while ago, suggesting that it's important to make the music the way it deserves to be, rather than determinedly stick to some agenda that you or your audience might have already had. Sometimes you might see things in a partly-finished work that inspire you to change the scope of the project - to put your original ideas to what you can now see is a more appropriate use. As many of us here are free of commercial pressures, we get a good chance to do that sort of thing.

emdot_ambient wrote:
But it's the process, not the result that really carries meaning.


How do you find it listening to your old pieces of music? Are you able to enjoy them as works in their own right, or does remembering your own process of creating them become more important? When you hear other people's music, do you prefer to know a lot about the history that went with it? I only ask because, even though I remember a lot about my own learning/working process over the years, I seem to find it almost as easy to get fully 'lost in the experience' of listening to my own music as anyone else's. Not something I ever thought to question before!..


* that is, the little regions of musical design space, that are within my reach and where it has occurred to me to look...
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Interesting thread. In many ways I generally feel that the "art" concept doesn't apply as well on music as on, say, sculpture or painting. But in the scope of these forums, and in the english language (the word "art" doesn't translate perfectly to my language) I more feel that it works, as it expands into electronics, and stretches time so that a performance can ast for hours or infinitely long.

I don't have any worries or woes connected to the act of creating stuff, but then again I'm not comfortable with the art concept. If I don't have to be called an artist, that's fine by me.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Jingle Joe - If you haven't noticed it, you are brilliant, as are the people who have answered you in this thread.

We all know the dark feelings of self-doubt. A primary purpose of this place is to support each other.

I think this fickle artistic yoyo is much like the Universe itself. It is so huge, that nothing is really important, relatively anyway. Even the Milky Way ain't all that much. In some ways, almost everything is meaningless. But, paradoxically, everything is profoundly magnificent.

Ohm... Some Buddhist saying goes something like: "The road to enlightenment is guarded by two lions; one is confusion and the other is paradox." I'm not sure, but I think the point is that you can't get past by fighting them, you must embrace them and take them with you.

More relevant to a Liverpool native perhaps, John Lennon said. "Everybody's fucked up." Wink

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JingleJoe



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

More relevant to a Liverpool native perhaps, John Lennon said. "Everybody's fucked up." Wink

That made me laugh Laughing thanks Smile

It seems like some of you chaps are defining what art is or what it is to be an artist. I wrote an essay once called "What is Art?" Thinking "Yeah! This'll be great, I'll uncover some sort of mystery!" all I found out was that I don't know what art is and neither does anyone else and that it takes more than 5000 words to define it. But you can identify art when you see it, so I just class things as good art and bad art (or art graded A and F: Art and Fart for short)

I'm not into defining art or artists, I just make stuff.

P.S. as for this process vs end result thing, both are as important as each other. Work is more fun than fun, but the end result is too.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:40 pm    Post subject: "artistic temperament," Lol! Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is a great thread! I need to talk to you folks and realize I'm not alone.

Problem is that I practically live to sit in front of Ableton & play my controller & synth. It is like an addiction. Let's say it's an Escape. I don't have to think about the world going to hell in 10 handbaskets, or Old Age, or Work... I can get lost in a riff!!

Even at places like the dentist, I can play music in my head and visualize MIDI controllers and synths with lots of blinky lights. I can beat insomnia by thinking about Ableton and how to make effects work. It is the ultimate non-emotional, non-upsetting, non-painful world. (well sometimes it is painful, like when I can't get a gadget to work.)

I don't have much of a social life.. I look at "matches" on the dating site & realize I would be more bored on a date with 99 percent of people than I would be at home in my studio. Is that Sick or what?? Or maybe this is just the definition of the Ultimate Geek. Rolling Eyes

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:08 am    Post subject: Re: "artistic temperament," Lol! Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

laura woodswalker wrote:
Even at places like the dentist, I can play music in my head and visualize MIDI controllers and synths with lots of blinky lights. I can beat insomnia by thinking about Ableton and how to make effects work.


Yes, we all know we're ill when we start dreaming in signal paths. Wink

adam

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