Today’s Sunday Letters article is an extract from The Artist’s Manifesto chapter three and looks at the contrast in letting it happen versus making it happen. The popular advice and resultant often unchallenged perceptions are that if something is to materialise in our experience then we’ve got to make it happen. It’s as if our precise detailing and planning are paramount and without them, we fail. But this is a false idea.
Welcome to Creativity. Creativity is an inherent aspect of what it means to be human, therefore it must be given a central role in society. I am very passionate about creativity and you'll see it is a central theme of the site. These articles are dedicated to helping your realise and develop this critical function.
Finding a quiet space in which to create is perhaps one of the single most important prerequisites for creative work. This is true now as it has always been, despite the popular modern convention towards collaborative workspaces. Spaces where we allow ourselves to be herded like cattle into boxes by corporate entities who pretend through their willful managers, to care for our wellbeing. They don’t.
What is an artist? What is art? How is an artist defined and who exactly gets to set the definition? Is everyone an artist like Picasso said or is it that creative genius is reserved for those fortunate enough to be blessed with talent at birth as the ancient Greeks and Romans believed?
I’m gonna let you in on something… sometimes I don’t work well with other people. Maybe it’s my artistic temperament or maybe I’m just an asshole.
Does it make you happy? Work I mean. Are you content with your lot? Our western industrialised culture says that you shouldn’t be. To be content, to be happy where you are equals lack of ambition and stagnation. “Become a better version of you!” The 30-something internet self-development man says. To be ambitious in the modern sense is to believe in a future where life is better somewhere other than here and now Therefore life is not good where we are.
Last Tuesday I paid a visit to Eddie Doherty, Handweaver in a small town called Adara, Co. Donegal on the northwest coast of Ireland. I had been in his shop a few days before, just browsing, not looking for anything in particular. When I saw the set-up, I immediately thought that a conversation between us would make a good episode for the Podcast.
I received an email the other day that promised me “success hacks”, shortcuts, quick fixes to the realisation of my dreams. “Ooh, wonderful!” I said. “Finally, the solution I’ve been looking for. God knows I’ve tried so many”. “Maybe this one will work”. Or maybe not.