Tag Archives: artists

Friending the Enemy ArtStyle

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two lies Resistance.”

art-inspiration-artists-lives-01Steven Pressfield knocks IT out of the park in his revolutionary book : “The War of Art”. If you haven’t picked this up yet- well it’s time that you did! It is EPIC. A short read, compact, Yet packing super adrenaline laced power in it’s 163 pages that overflow with pure, inspiring, motivating, creative truths! Clearly Pressfield knows what he is talking about and lucky for us decided to write it down and share it with the world!

stephen-pressfield-war-of-art-quote-02Any creative who has not read this art Bible is cheating themselves, because the core message gives us art people the mental tools we need in order to combat, maim, and ultimately kill RESISTANCE! Only then will you be able to pursue your dream, your “Vein of Gold” – as Julia Cameron, author of another artist Bible “The Artists Way”, defines it, in spite of the naysayers, the threats, the enemies of distraction and procrastination attempting to thwart your passion, your path, your power.


art-inspiration-artists-lives-05Pressfield lays it out so clear, so concise, so real. He has lived it, learned it, earned it, and loves it. You will read this book many times, until you get it and then you will read it again just to confirm and inject some needed art plasma into your vein. Of Gold.

Picasso-Fernande-Olivier-04Right now I am reading a wonderful memoir by Fernade Olivier, in which she describes her relationship with Picasso, in their early twenties, in Paris, painting in his hole-in-the-wall studio, known now as the Famous Chateau Lavoir, freezing and burning, in Monmartre during the early 1900’s. Talk about resistance! It was an ongoing challenge he fought 24/7 /365! Painting while starving and just barely managing to survive.

For the artist this is an eternal, persisting life story. Whether it be surviving the environment, social picasso-guernica-painting-inspiration-03condemnation, or internal resistance, there will always be some challenge to overcome. The more invasive the artists resistance is, the less he or she paints, dances, writes, photographs, acts, composes! This for the artist can be lethal. Pressman describes this hideous conflict in his book of knowledge, and crystallizes the absolute necessity to detect, defuse, and destroy!

Many artists died by their own hand, while drawn into the abyss of other temptations, gazing into the prism of fame from a distance, the challenge is often to great to overcome and continue to create.

art-inspiration-writers-block-06Because it’s NOT an easy path, yet sooooo rewarding in ways that the 9-5’ers can not, will not understand. So it’s cool beyond belief. If you have the Steven Pressman mojo helping you fuel your drive and keep you going, in spite of walls, mountains, waves attempting to obstruct your momentum and prevent you from the personal success and satisfaction that is your destiny!

lao-tzu-quote-artist-inspiration-07This is crucial fuel in the Artist Arsenal of dynamite necessary for our propulsion into that exciting world where creativity and resistance are the ying and yang, the oil and water, the yes and no, the dark and light. Resistance does NOT work.

Stephen Pressfield says it best:
” The Enemy is a very good teacher” Artists need to make friends with this enemy, learn from it, and prosper!”

Where Nothing is Real

Let me take you down
Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry fields forever

Strawberry: symbolizes spring and rebirth, as well as righteousness and love.

Strawberry Fields. “Where nothing is real……”

Nothing becomes Something the minute the artist takes brush to canvas. In the musicians case it is the instrument the lyrics the notes the composition forming a harmonious blend of message and music transporting the listener to another level.

john-lennon-strawberry-fields-nyc-art-blog-dorsay-03The artist produces from that mystical source where nothing is real,  making it real, by producing the form in real time on canvas, stage, paper, or thru instrument.

It’s reality then becomes a shared quantity transcending its original thought. The source idea reigns supreme, as the illustration is witnessed and enjoyed.

John Lennon wrote many songs, and yet Strawberry Fields is one of his most popular. The lyrics, the tune, the magic of the message, cast a spell on listeners everywhere!

john-lennon-strawberry-fields-imagine-nyc-art-blog-dorsay-02Strawberry Fields, is a small tranquil place in Central Park directly across the street from the Dakota , the residence where John & Yoko lived before he was assassinated by a crazy fan in December 1984 Is one of the most popular tourist destinations in NYC, it is a strange combination of the old and the new where musicians strum guitars to the beat of vintage Lennon, kids take photos at the “Imagine” plaque, and old hippies, aka baby boomers, relax on benches, observing the scene, as they reminisce of latter days, where they partied, made love, danced, and dreamed to The Beatles infinite musical repertoire.

nyc-art-blog-dorsay-07It’s a cool place to visit now,  yet also a sad place, because it has become a shrine to a man who was killed because of his talent, his fame, his celebrity, which made him loved by many, hated by many, the object of envy, and a target for the crazies. The dark side of fame. And it is. The artist is creating protected, as a lone wolf, obscure and free, until he is discovered. Then everything changes. Fame becomes the enemy, the friend, the desired, the despicable. “Be careful what you wish for.” The artist then becomes a victim of the world, the society out there whose love he craved, whose admiration he dreamed of, can become the vampire draining his life’s blood. How to know?

No one I think is in my tree
I mean it must be high or low
That is you can’t you know, tune in
But it’s alright
That is I think it’s not too bad

john-lennon-yoko-strawberry-fields-nyc-art-blog-dorsay-04John was way too open and trusting as he and Yoko hung out in Central Park, strolled CPW, treating NYC as their new best friend. Yoko is still a resident at the famed Dakota! They had a love affair with NYC. How could they ever think it would be the city that destroyed his life by the act of a random fan ? They couldn’t. But it wouldn’t have changed a thing. He was still the John of Strawberry Fields Forever, Imagine, Lucy in the Sky, the White Album, and so many more, a cornucopia of music, giving the world new musical vistas for eternity!

Killing John Lennon. The man yes, the music Never!

modigliani-nyc-art-blog-dorsay-06Art IS forever. The artist is the venue, the tool, the  channel. But the Source from where this gift originates is so much more. The inspiration, or as writer Julia Cameron describes it – the “Vein of Gold”. This is why Van Gogh could keep on spilling his paint on undiscovered canvases hidden for many years after his premature death, why Picasso could create while freezing or burning in the squalor of  Bateau Lavoir, why “Le Dounier” – Rousseau  could paint while being mocked as an  object of ridicule while toiling days as a lowly clerk,  why Modigliani could paint masterpieces, while wasting away from illness in his Paris Garret studio, that are now being auctioned at Sotheby’s for over 100 Million !
beatles-nyc-art-blog-dorsay-07That Vein of Gold is a powerful lifeline to the artists creative source nourishing and providing an infinite abundance of wealth! John was struck down, and yet his Central Park Mecca remains 35 years later a place where he is very alive!
The artist remains eternally alive through the work he leaves behind.

John Lennon. Not a perfect person. Yet a perfect icon for future generations to “Imagine” as they visit one of his favorite places in the world.
Strawberry fields. Good Name. Good Song. Good Place.

Always, no sometimes, think it’s me
But you know I know when it’s a dream
I think I know I mean a yes
But it’s all wrong
That is I think I disagree

Strawberry Fields Forever.

The Gatekeeper in You

artist-life-inspiration-01Gatekeeper: a human who controls Access to something, like a city gate. But according to Webster the term is also used metaphorically, referring to people who decide whether a given message will be distributed by a mass medium. Like the internet for example.

Gatekeeper is an app that protects your Mac from adverse enemy apps. It is a protector, a barrier, a watcher. It keeps out the enemy and let’s in only friends.

Do you have a Gatekeeper in your art life? That conscious barrier allowing in only supportive art friendly visions and creative inspiration, while keeping out the malware lurking, waiting to intrude and destroy? If you don’t you should, because truth be told, every artist needs one. So easy to be pulled down from your creative high, to the dusty barren humdrum existence most experience, so easy to give up and resist your given road of reward, while tuning into the static, aiming, at you from society’s darts and arrows. KEEP IT OUT!!!!!! It’s mission is to contaminate, wound, and kill. Your dream. Which is YOU.

artist-life-inspiration-quote-02Your personal Gatekeeper stands alert aware and on guard, to any threat attempting to thwart your creative destiny. Don’t be a sitting duck waiting for the avalanche of naysayers, doubters, and haters praying for you to fail, give up, join the herd, and ride the train into oblivion with those who just don’t GET IT.

Warhol says that art is “anything you can get away with”. He was so right, wasn’t he? But you have to start with that conviction at jump, in order to carry you thru the dangerous gauntlet into success. Your Gatekeeper keeps those Debbie Downers and Doubters out of your Matrix, allowing you to persist and pursue your calling. Cluttering up your flow with the negative crap so many artists deal with from the outside only slows you down, dries up the creative juices, and prevents you from making art, leaving you barren and dry on your own proverbial desert. Which is exactly how they want it.

artist-life-inspiration-quotes-03The Gatekeeper let’s in your support team, your allies, while banning your enemy’s frozen facade of pretend interest. Artists work alone because art is not made in a crowd, with the voice of the multitudes cheering you on. The spirit is the individual creative glue that keeps the artist attached firmly to his/her vision. You are the art and the art is YOU.  It’s not part of a crowd. You are not one of the sheep in the herd following the pack off the cliff!

“Make the paintings for yourself and if some one agrees with you it’s a coincidence” Julien Schnabell from his book “C.V.J. It seems like plenty of people weren’t exactly digging his broken plate canvas spectacles. Yet he was his own Gatekeeper and did them anyway until somebody Got It!

artist-life-inspiration-04You can be your own Gatekeeper. Letting in who you want and banning those you don’t. Those who agree are IN. Those who don’t DON’T matter.

Most of us are in the Approval Admiration Club. The EGO loves to be Loved. It’s a trap for artists who also love to be loved yet being in the creative club of the soul, there is no guarantee that will happen. We may think our paintings are interesting but so what? If we rely on the opinions of Others we may be very disappointed and dismayed. Yet does it Matter? I say NO. IT DOES NOT. Anyone who claims “Artist” as their name does so without the approval or authority of OTHERS. The commercial game is an individual goal, a marketing game, based on the success myth where money is King and popularity is Queen.

artist-life-inspiration-05How we think about our art gives our personal Gate Keeper power. It can tear it down or build it up. Like the Gatekeepers who serve computers, there purpose is to keep out the hacker, the virus, the poison, and so do we, if we choose, share that purpose, continuing on our creative path preserving and protecting our chosen work.

Shakespeare had this locked down. As did Blake, Miller, O’Keefe, Picasso, Cassatt , Kahlo, ManRay, and today – Steve Jobs, Camille Paglia,  Zuckerberg , Sheryl Sandberg, Larry Page, and countless more creatives now thriving and working in a high tech state of the art world the past innovators could only dream of.

artist-life-inspiration-07So, being a Gatekeeper is serious. It allows you to continue on your artistic journey, keeping out the naysayers, the doubters, and the egomaniacs who can only relate legitimate work to dollars, popularity, and prestige.

Somehow I don’t think Van Gogh was thinking of these concerns while painting his psychedelic vision of Starry Night. Or Munch, expressing on canvas his eternal Scream, or Hopper’s stark scenes of solitude!

artist-life-inspiration-quote-09From an Arab proverb:
“The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”

The genuine substance behind the artistic illustration. Upholding these questions helps the Gatekeeper choose their friends and dismiss their foes. The gate is open to the positive life source pushing and sustaining the artists blood.

Stand guard at the gate! Be your own Gatekeeper!

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