Saturday, February 6, 2010

Part II, as it were, of We are a Sensitive Lot.

And what, I hear you saying, does the above image have to do with artists and their sensitivity? Well, I think we are ever so much like pirates of old. We don't really fit into the world we are forced to inhabit, we like to dress strangely, and we attempt to get along on a limited basis. And we have a code, well, guidelines really.

And the code is really strange because on the whole we are all against rules. The first rule we broke was laid down by Mom and Dad - do not become an artist. Get a real education. One that will support you. But we escaped them to wind up (some of us at least) in art schools where we were given Rules of Three and other compositional aids and never add powder to water or mix your own green. That last one can be self-teaching.

And there developed in some remote Isle del Morte a whole group of artists that proudly announce they don't follow any rules. And when us pirates find them we indoctrinate them into the code. "Your work is so good but if you would just . . . it would be so much better." You have made it when you can peer down your nose at another artist giving you this advice.

A friend of mine from the other world (not a pirate) who teaches communication skills gave me the phrase, "In my opinion . . ." And I never use "you should" but always "I find." We are great detectors of truth except possibly when it concerns our own talents. We can discern the cut of the others jib and take our lessons from it without being taught or preached at. We should always honor our own uniqueness and not strive to imitate.

I love the line from At World's End where Captain Jack Sparrow says, "No, the world is the same as it was, there is just less in it." I think the really sad thing about technology is that it has killed the krackon. We no longer value art as much. We are even trying to make a business out of art. Yes, it is nice to make a living out of what you love doing but it isn't all about the ship but what the ship represents - freedom and the wind at our backs, the horizon before you, and being able to wear your own kind of hat. I would like to think "the song has been sung" and we are becoming more and more aware that what is "good for business" is not necessarily good for the world. Or good for us. And as pirates, have come to realize we need each other if for no other reason than keeping a weather eye on the horizon.

Art guidelines or code or rules are not to be used to tear each other down and puff ourselves up but to help and guide - ergo guidelines. And us over-sensitive pirates need to weed out the truth from the trash. Advice should be given lovingly when asked for. It should build others up and not tear them down. We are after all into creativity. Not demolition.

BTW, there is going to be a Pirates of the Caribbean 4!


  1. Oh, this is rich, wonderfully wonderful and -ArrHarHar - rings true enough!

    My writing prof once told me always to have a 'method to my madness', backing up my rule breaking with a practical structure that could always be argued for its 'sense and sensibility'. Perhaps this phrase now sounds trite, but then it was fresh. And I remember it to this day, as we all need foundations for our 'castles in the air'.

    It's all a fine balancing act, indeed. And it's true - oh, I had to laugh - that we, the rule breakers, began making our own. You're so witty, Jacqui! For writers one need look no further than to the 'hamburger paradigm', or 5-paragraph essays of yawning prose guaranteed to put any good reader to sleep at the first support of the main idea. We folk musicians have all been DAD-GAD'ed to death. Yet, there's even some semblance of structure demanded of open tuning. And any performing artist raised on method has yet another 'M' for madness to thank.

    So, yes, you are so, so right. We should never ignore any or all of our sweet muses while keeping weathered eyes glued to one another's horizons. ;¬D

  2. Aren't some rules made to be broken - or rather don't they cry out to be broken?? Rules restrict creativity surely?

  3. Yes, rules to cry out, Bee, to be broken that is why they are guidelines and not rules and definitely not laws.

  4. I like your concept of guidelines Jacqui. Guidelines offered from effort and experience are worth considering, whereas ironclad rules are counterproductive. I always find myself wondering who decided what the ironclad rules were and what qualified them to be the arbiters of truth.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.