This is a fascinating and touching glimpse into the ongoing art installation of Austin, Texas resident Vince Hannemann (aka the Junk King) who since 1989 has been collecting thousands of discarded objects and turning them into a giant cathedral of junk. In 2010 the city closed the structure claiming it was unsafe and demanded Hannemann obtain proper building permits for his “auxiliary structure”. He was then forced to remove nearly 60 tons of materials before finally obtaining the approval from an engineer. Over seven months hundreds of volunteers stopped by to lend a hand and the cathedral has begun expanding once again.
Reposting this John Cleese lecture that Merlin posted because some assholes had it taken down off Vimeo. (I was on the road, so I didn’t grab the hi-res copy, but I did download this YouTube version, so…) I watched it twice last week — both times before I was scheduled to give a talk.
Creativity is not a talent, it is a way of operating.
Before, I’d only seen this lecture of his, which I quoted in STEAL: “We don’t know where we get our ideas from. What we do know is that we don’t get them from our laptops.”
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
Oh, man this is so freaking delightful: a 54-minute documentary on Ed Emberley, shot at various locations, including his home studio in Massachusetts. (Above: shots of him drawing, showing off the black and color layers of his books, drawing his life story in real-time, and standing next to a life-size woodcut of Paul Bunyan!!!)
I love his lines that begin the doc:
Not everybody has to be an artist. The big thing is feeling good about yourself. That’s more important than the art part.
And what he has to say about audience and writing/drawing:
If you like my books, you’ve never met me, [but] there’s something about you that’s just like me, and that’s the person I can speak to. If I try to speak to everybody, I speak to nobody. I only can speak to the Ed Emberleys there are in the world—whether they’re girls or boys, whether they’re grownup or small—my duty is to present me out to the other mes in the world.
It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play; it is really possible to say the highest things in praise of it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. To be at last in such secure innocence that one can juggle with the universe and the stars, to be so good that one can treat everything as a joke—that may be, perhaps, the real end and final holiday of human souls. When we are really holy we may regard the Universe as a lark.
1. Drawing. Being able to draw sufficiently well to communicate your ideas is critical, especially for future makers. You don’t have to be Rembrandt, just learn proportion, perspective, and how to represent 3D objects on the 2D page. Chalk and a sidewalk, pencil and paper, an Etch-a-sketch if you must.
17. Storytelling. We survive socially by telling each other stories. Encourage children to tell stories and release their imagination through whatever toy they have in their hands. Dolls, stuffed animals, wooden trains, Lego, Play-Doh, it doesn’t matter.
There is something common to everything we call the arts. What is it?
It’s not aesthetics. I’ve seen a squatting guy at a Minnesota ‘Renaissance Faire’ perform Romeo and Juliet using just a cigarette butt and a bottle cap for the actors, and I’ve seen Romeo and Juliet performed by Shakespearean actors in full period costume, and both times this ‘it’ I’m talking about was there.
This ancient ‘it’ has been around at least as long as we have had hands. It’s something I call ‘an image’ and this class is about using our hands — the original digital devices —- to understand the location, function, creation and use of images.
When we are kids we might call this interaction with an image ‘playing’ and when we are adults we might call it ‘creative concentration’ but it seems that there are similarities in the state of mind that comes about during the creation of and interaction with an image.
This state of mind is not plain old thinking. Its existence is tied to manipulating something in the external world, usually with our bodies, our hands or voices – a piece of cloth, a series of musical notes, a drawing, a written piece of dialog- The route to creating images seems to be more physical than thinkable. A reliable way to understand and experience images is to make things in series, which is what we’ll be doing in all of our writing and picture making sessions.