Preface to The Artist's Manifesto
The following is an extract from the preface to The Artist's Manifesto due for publication 31st March 2018. You can get a free paperback copy and other rewards when you choose to become a patron of mine. Rewards tiers start at as little as $1. Become a patron here.
The roughly 3700 words of The Artist's Manifesto original document were written in May 2017 and outline my entire creative philosophy for life and work. It was through the writing of this manifesto and 130+ articles on larrygmaguire.com that year, that I outlined the nature of what I have come to believe it means to be a creative, what we should stand for, our relationship with the world and the overall meaning and purpose of life from the creative's perspective. The contents of this book outline my understanding of the fundamental essence of that which is required in consciousness in order that you and I may create something meaningful, beautiful and everlasting.
This book is a bringing together of The Artist's Manifesto original document and the best of those 130+ related articles. The contents of this book are not simply cut and paste from the original. I have taken those articles and clarified their message so that they better fit the overall philosophy that The Artist's Manifesto represents.
Many shorter articles I had written in 2017, although not suitable for this book, have subsequently allowed me explore particular ideas further. I have expanded on these ideas and provided you with additional content not published anywhere before. It is fair to say that although this book is a compilation of previously published material, that material has been reviewed and improved by me personally and represents for me at least a brand new and more concise outlining of The Artist's Manifesto.
The reader should note that when I refer to things I know, believe, understand, realise etc. it is from my own perspective I say these things. I do not claim to know anything for anyone else for it has come to my awareness that there is no universal understanding of this physical existence that can be claimed true independent of you and I. Knowing and believing to me are entirely subjective and lie at the base of all experience and creative endeavour. In other words, there is nothing going on but you.
You and I may share an experience, however, how we both process, interpret and hold that experience in memory will be different. Although you and everyone else appear to exist to me at a physical level, at the level of mind beneath conscious thought there is nobody but me, and for you, you. You exist in your own right and everything you make, think, say, do and experience is relevant and valid. From my perspective all there is is me and I am talking to myself. That's what is going on here.
You see, you and I are the same thing playing out in physical reality. You are a mirror of me and I am a mirror of you. You make me and I make you. We play this game. We get to choose what to focus on and what we focus on grows whether we like it or not. In reading this book it is my hope that creative people like you and me can establish in our state of being a fundamental and resolute foundation for the things we make and the lives we live.
In doing so we may make this world a slightly better place.
This next section; Why I Wrote The Artist's Manifesto, is a broadened version of that which introduces the original artist's manifesto document, and here I offer a little more background to my experience in the ten years leading up to writing the book. It may seem a little self indulgent but I believe it's important that you understand what occurred in the run up to 13th May 2017. So I understand if you choose to skip on to chapter one. However, this preface I think may offer you some perspective on what I later came to realise as fundamental to the creative process.
Why I Wrote The Artist's Manifesto
I am an artist. Because you’re reading this I guess you are too, even if you are not presently calling yourself one. I’ve always been an artist. I felt it just like you do. Although for a very long time I avoided admitting that to myself. Since I was a child I had that feeling of something bigger and broader calling me, waiting for me. It was something inside me, a feeling that I couldn't explain.
It drew me to weird people, to freaks, people with tattoos and crazy hair and crazy clothes, to bars with alternative music, to lyrics of songs and to arty non-conformist things. It brought me to the hidden meaning in words and sentences, to a deeper reality that escapes most of the world. It all just felt like it was my place.
When I was a young teenager I would take great pleasure in doing nothing, smoking, staring out my bedroom window at the sky dreaming of things the older ones tried to convince me were not important. Once at a parent teacher meeting my form teacher told my parents I needed to concentrate more instead of staring out the window. My natural creative instinct was discouraged in favour of a one-size-fits-all model for life.
Nothing unique there. Most kids are steered away from the things they love to do and convinced they should follow the universal template for life and work. In this creative's opinion it is that approach that has brought about many of the social issues our society struggles with today. So instead of following what felt natural, I chose to fit in, to be normal, to get a job, to follow the pre-written rules for life, work and success.
But it didn’t last.
All the while I was trying to fit in – and it should be said, not doing too bad job of it – something else was calling, quietly, whispering to me to follow it. I had no choice, it expressed itself through my work by default. Every day I went to work as a young apprentice I was committed to making the best things I possibly could. It was automatic. Attention to detail was paramount for me and although there were those who recognised it, many of those around me didn’t understand.
As I got older I had an urge to do my own thing, to use the skills I had acquired as an apprentice to determine my own future. So I built a successful business around my technical skills and it provided me with a good income for a long time. I insisted on the best from myself and my people, but something wasn't right. I had become caught up in the pursuit of business success and I forgot the basic principles that I knew inherently as a child.
Although my standards started out high I began to ignore them for the sake of just getting things done. I began to disregard the principles I had held important for so long in pursuit of the next job, the next big thing. Coupled with that, my customers, employees, my associates and the industry I found myself in wanted less than I was prepared to give. So I gave up trying.
I was working in a world other people made and I was bound by the rules of that game. On one hand I had this need to make unique things to a high standard, and on the other hand I had this idea that I needed to follow the rules of the business world and be in receipt of their applause. In many respects my industry had no place for quality and attention to detail and it simply didn't want to pay for it.
This was like trying to ride two horses at the same time and it didn’t work. I ignored my inner creative voice for many years and made many wrong decisions along the way. After a long time hammering a square peg into a round hole I finally realised the senselessness of it all. The economic slow-down arrived and by 2010 there was little or no work. So I closed my business.
I had completely lost my sense of self. Everything I had built over the previous 15 years and the status that came with it was gone. I tried to get back on the horse and start again but I had lost the drive that had got me there. A second business followed the first down the drain only a few years later. I threw my hands in the air and said, “to hell with this”. I was done.
On one level this period was a bit of a car crash, but on another it was the best thing that could have happened. It was the beginning of me coming to understand something that I didn't really know before. As such I'd recommend fucking up wholesale to everyone.
Since I published this earlier this evening I have made some edits already. And the final print version is likely to differ somewhat more from the above. That's the only thing that's really real – change.
Regards for now…