What makes work timeless?
Is it the fact that it can be stamped to a date, time or place?
Is it that it ushers in cultural remembrance or transcends culture to create a cult of its own?
Right now the plethora of work that is pushed through social media is staggering with "95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram per day." Most these fall into different perspective camps of "my life" "my perceived life" "my creative expression" "my gathered curation" or "my cultural reference" or "artistic world view" or.. the list goes on.
Now this is not a backlash at the current state of media, but my pondering at the question, what is our focus as artist on, trending relevance or timeless renaissance?
As artist its easy to slip into the spiral of the trending relevance, to make work that appreciated at this moment as its style is seen everywhere. The Question arise are we creating work that speaks of our own perspective or for the perception of "likes." I also often see artist after awakening from being influenced by current trend, swing the opposite and start creating from anti cultural opinion. Creating work for the shock of it, to declare a point of view and not a resonating piece of work that causing a new perspective to grow but a jaunting opinion that causes the viewer to take a side.
With all this said, what is my conclusion? At this moment to be honest I'm still figuring it out. How do I as an artist step into the third camp creating a timeless renaissance (a rebirth). I'm often asking the question when looking at work like Convergence by Jackson Pollock, Hogan Heres by Albert S. Ruddy, "A Christmas Story" by Director Bob Clark or Rocky Balboa, written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone or the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien, how are these pieces of work so timeless? I'm often awe struck by, how every time I revisit these classics, depth and character is added to my viewing and the relationship is encouraged about the world and my current time and place. Could it be the hero's journey that Ryan Holiday talks about in his book Perennial Seller? The fact that we are draw to works or the body of works that show the climb and the rise of the artists beyond his current limitations? Could it be the relational struggle of the artist himself or the constant good triumphing over evil?
It's something that I'm searching for in my own work. To create pieces, words, images, designs that take the viewer further into goodness and add value to them in the circumstance that they are currently at.
Maggie and I spent some time In Los Angles of over weekend spending our day over in the Art District and Grand Central Market.
BE THE BEST RIGHT NOW!
I know this might sound like an "of course" but it is such a crucial point to be made.
See this photo above of my friend Antoine in the jungle, this was made in my living room. No lie.
I saw this amazing Joey L photo of Luke James and wanted to accomplish a photo of the same perspective, in my own voice.
I took this idea of an jungle prince and we drove around my town scavenging greens out of landscaping barrels.
We next, built this set in my living room and shot it. Three month later it was used as a reference for a film that I directed with Sony Music.
Why is this story relevant? Because it cost less than a hundred dollars to make this shot and lead to a huge deal later on. As I'm in this industry, I'm starting to hear the same excuses and they revolve around, not being able to take the next step because of "X" or "Y" asset. Ronnie Fieg made this so clear in an interview, he said, be the best your can be at that moment. Shep Gordan said "make history now"
It's important as we are building our careers, that we look to give 110% at all we do, because this is our proving ground. No one is going to give us a hand out.
So make the most premium experience, art, product, design and thing that you can at this very moment. The world is going to judge what your do with it. It will teach you to be scrappy, It will teach you to be resourceful and how to see value in things no one else does.
It will allow you to build relationships with value and not on demand. It will give you skills that you will use later.
We need to stop looking at who we want to be in ten years, but at who and what the best us can be at this moment.
Thus, create the best now.
You who working their fingers to the bone writing that story,.
You who pour hours over a design to help a company thrive.
You who burn the midnight oil so your employees can have an end of week pay check
You who scream and strive to speak for those not yet spoken for.
You who work night after night for your loved ones to have a roof over their heads
You who crafted, shaped, built and scraped everything to gather just to push the status quo
You who who are reading this. Thank you for working hard.
Thank your for putting it all in, for getting up early and staying late.
Working is part of our lives, its in our blood and provides us satisfaction or suffocation.
This is for you, you loners, you trailblazers, you faithful, you caregivers, you builders, you with big shoulders, you with loving patience.
Thank you for working hard to make the world a better place and pushing me to put in just 5 more hours on a holiday to build something bigger than me.
Being a "creative or an artist for a living" is an interesting phrase to me. Why? Because you have to place your work in to a category where you are judged every single moment by people in and out of your industry and then from their point of view forced to give a rational explanation on how you can deliver safely and without risk the same level.
Being a creative is messy, art is messy, its daring. If its not pushing new ground is it still art?
I digress, back to the phrase "a creative for a living." I've often succumbed to the ominous path many of us trail down, the value road. What is the value of my at. how do others see my art, what is the worth of my art, can my art bring my paycheck in?
The crazy thing every assignment that I've directed when we went into the unknown and looked to create the crazy, we have come back with something beautiful. So with that said we as "creatives for a living", we also need to bring life into our work. That means we need to be humbled by our medium, we need to surrender ourselves to the path of learning how these mediums interact and can be transformed.
Thats what this photo is for me. There has been so much in the news about color, about which side about does your heritage dictate your actions. So working on this piece with Antoine Bradford, I wanted to create a series of image that show his beauty and life and create an image that felt living. To me this is my best work yet and I look forward to seeing how this moves forward.
As always your fellow Journeyer
As I'm sitting here, its summer and I have a cup of tea brewing as Miles Davis is playing the background. Its interested what each of these pieces have in common, their filling a need. I think that something that hasn't been discussed enough lately, gosh I sure have missed it.
As a director and as a photographer my job was to step into a situation and service the need of the person who supplied me the situation. Wether is was was American Express looking to create images that would target young professionals that travel, or Buzzfeed looking to create an editorial on the new revolution of music listening, or Fjallraven to bring a new look and feel to a heritage brand, my job was to SERVE them. To deliver upon my prior proven skill set and bring something to the table that cause a person to stop and look at what they had spent months building or formulating.
I think in this time of influencer, we become in our own eyes as show stopping celebrities, walking around on this notion that because I have such and such following that the world is my oyster and that it will always be this good. Neither is true, we live in a time of approaching market correction ask Tony Robison, but I digress. My point is we as creative are in the service industry to help an idea come to fruition, a conception to completion. At Motif No.3 my job is to serve my customer, to create a brand that they can relate to, build an experience with and a product that allows them to feel part of a tribe and service at purpose. I am a servant to the ideas of my customer, I'm learning not always the needs, thecae they might not have those need yet. "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been." - Wayne Gretzky
So the next time we're sitting across the desk from an art director, or a writer, or a potential client, its not about why I'm the best, but how I can best service the need that their looking to solicit.
Hope this helps.
This weeks inspirations takes you from Los Angeles with David Alhadeff's Casa Perfect, to Melbourne, Victoria with Bobby Clarks gorgeous painting, them to the abstract spaces of Ann Janssens.
Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, click the links and be inspired.
Bobby Clark : Link
David Alhadeff: Link
Sergey Makhno Architects: Link
Galleri Nicolai Wallner: Link
Artist Ann Veronica Janssens : Link
Also published in MAGAZINE NO.3
"We know more and have explore more of space than our own ocean."
With this in mind I created this images to feel like an astronaut in space exploring, but adrift in the water. There's is purposely no point of reference, no barriers just endless exploration and opportunity.
This was commissioned for Stutterheim
I'm wearing their: STOCKHOLM CHARCOAL
Taste and style are inconstant association with each other but they are not the same thing. One is a personal vision, the other is a time proven voice, that can be delivered over and over again because that person understands the science.
I'm learning that we all have various degrees of taste, but style is taste developed over iterations. So that what this series of images is and that all my energy and efforts are being put to.
I've been placing myself into many situation that would stretch and open up my personal creative taste as well as, the pursuit of speeding up the process. How do I create more and more situation were "happy accidents" happen, allowing my style to develope and then turn into skill.
That's where I'm at now, in the constant pursuit of taking my taste and through passion project after project turning that vision into style.
VLOG 2 | Downtown days.
MUSIC: GREAT DAYS JOAKIM KARUD
This is the first Vlog I've done.
The premise of this vloging serise is to jump in and start creating videos and learning from that experience.