The War of Art

November 26, 2013

“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.”  

Art has always been a drive in my life- But I’ve always found it painstakingly difficult. Constantly questioning and evaluating/ re-evaluating my work and choice to even make work. But was there ever really a choice?

It’s more of a compulsion, than a choice. My eyes connect things in a seemingly random landscape of shapes and sounds and draw from it what they may. It’s easy to be belittled and forgotten about in a world of competitive talkers, not walkers. Everyone these days talks such big game, and has such very little to show for it. It’s a massive problem of mine. Do I learn to speak up, or just accept myself as I am ?

“The sign of the amateur is overglorification of and preoccupation with the mystery. The professional shuts up. She doesn’t talk about it. She does her work.”  

Today has been a really inspirational day. My usual film teacher, who is a complete deranged lunatic ( and not in a good way) was off sick, and his replacement was a woman, so poised and organised. So very sure of herself and her craft. Her work spoke for itself too: poetic and beautiful, as well as technically perfect. Although I do genuinely believe anything looks better on 16mm film.

To add to that, I met the producer of Eternal Sunshine of Spotless mind, and Get him to the Greek- we were showing his & Billy Bob Thornton’s film ‘Sling Blade’ and he stopped by for a Q&A. (Cali, I love you.)

Sling Blade was unbelievably raw, Billy Bob Thornton was so in character I didn’t even realise it was him until the credits rolled! (and I am a demon for recognising a face).  David L Bushell was the producers name- I had no idea what I was stumbling in upon as I snuck in the side door, 45 mins late (but with a very satisfied stomach after making some spicy Hawaiian Mango burrito/ egg fried rice concoction). Just being awkwardly English at first and then reaffirming myself into my newly Californianised way of casuality, slipping back in my seat (half because I was buttoned into my jeans Olivia Newton John style, half because I’m always very aware of the effect of my large head on others). Realising I’m a bit late, then remembering I’m not even in this class, I’m just really into the professor.


I left the lecture hall, freshly inspired for the first time in a long time. Can I be a producer? I’ve been straying away from ideas of being in the film industry as a career the past 2 years now.

After a very unpleasant attempt at film school (probably due to the ridiculous lack of serotonin in my brain, or the 3 day acid trip) I left, scathed, only to deduce filmmakers are just horribly egotistical, elitist twats - I’d given up any hope of ever being able to put up with them. But does it have to be that way? I think I was going against who I was a person the first time round, now I really want to give it a go, and play to my strengths. 

A book Bushell recommended, ‘The War of Art’  states:
“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”  

I’m a shy, reserved person. I don’t get my point across by screaming, doing a stupid song and dance about things. Every day is a new challenge in just speaking up and getting myself heard. My change in direction in life from film to do art, was definitely the right one at the time for me. It led me here, and right now to this moment. Which is quite an important one as moments go. 

I realised that real, genuine people still exist out there who have a genuine passion and compulsion, a drive in life stimulated by nothing other than an unexplained force in them to want to create & express their view on the world. These people have stories with real soul that need to be shown to the world, stories that would otherwise be overshadowed by mainstream, dull, lifeless flicks. I judge every film by the principle- did the people making this film feel the need to make it- is it their favourite film, their most important story? If its isn’t- then why bother? What are you adding to the conversation.

I need to take action.

"Just don’t wait"

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