Friday, April 27, 2007


Here goes. My first blog entry. Will it be the first of many, a sporadic offering, or an edition of one? At this point, I really don't know. But I'm guessing, sporadic.

Blogging, with its solipsistic potential to be an exercise in talking to everyone yet being heard by no one, fascinates me. It can be a lot like a fart in church: lots of people hear it but they all politely ignore it.

Or, since I'm an artist, a more apt analogy might be painting a mural on a subway tunnel wall, where thousands will pass but no one will look.

Well, no matter. I'm here, the result of a wandering mind searching the mental landscape for something more interesting than that which it was supposed to be focusing on, which was completing an illustration. It was an illustration that didn't include the normal stop in the Thinking Cap Department. No, this one bypassed that and went straight from the sleek conference room table of a "Creative Committee" to my paint-encrusted painting easel. All I had to do was draw it out and color it in. No brain required. In the world of creativity, Concept by Committee seems to defy the otherwise logical law that two heads are better than one and, analogously, that four heads would be even better. But it never quite works out that way. Instead of sharpening an idea to a fine point, the sharp edges are filed down to a prosaic dullness. But this was advertising illustration and advertising illustration pays, and so I followed the crisp, greenish scent of newly printed cash, leaving my scruples and pride in a pile by the curb.

But... how did I get from curbosphere to the blogosphere?

Blogs had been in the back of my mind for a while. They seemed to be all over, coming out of nowhere and suddenly buzzing through cyberspace like swarms of locusts. One would occasionally smack me in the forehead, I'd think about it for awhile, and then move on. But soon they became impossible to ignore. Even, apparently, as I worked. And the illustration I was working on — that not-so-creative one — involved swarms (herds, actually) of animals. And so maybe it was there, as I worked, that the two thoughts intersected. Charging herds of animals. A swarming flock of locusts. Painting. Blogging.

And so as I painted my herd, I was thinking that the illustration could have been better had another concept been used; to me, the ideal process for creating an illustration had been subverted by committee; I felt a need to say that to someone... but there was no "someone" to say it to; I was alone, finishing the illustration on a computer; computers are one click away from the internet; the internet is swarming with blogs; blogs are filled with opinions and observations... Swarms. Herds. Opinions. Thoughts. Blogs.

And so I clicked.

[ These sorts of connections, between two seemingly unconnected things, can actually lead to something when one's brain is wired for creativity. This is masterfully explained in the book The Act of Creation, by Arthur Koestler, who goes on to explain many other aspects of the act of creation. ]