I thought I would share with you a creative manifesto I wrote somewhere in 2010. Now, I know the word manifesto can get some people in a tissy, immediately associating the thought with extremist groups and the Communist Party; however, this was something I wrote to give myself a creative direction. I’m not the only artist to have done such a thing.
In short, please don’t think I have gone crazy. Further, my opinions have changed over the past three years, and I hope to address that in a future post. I am hoping that, maybe, these words will resonate within you, and you too will start to see that, deep within you, you have your own working beliefs about your own creative process.
The Lighthouse Manifesto
The Manual for a New Culture
I do not pretend to have all the answers, for I, like you, am in a constant state of growth and learning. I simply provide you with my view point – one of infinite perspectives and One, too, that is always morphing.
My intentions are benevolent – with the Universe’s best intentions at heart. This being said, this comes from a limited human consciousness, a consciousness that could never begin to understand the complexities of an unfathomable infinity.
1. I write this to give myself direction, to condense years of opinions into a concise book. More than anything I desire to supply the spark for a meaningful career.
In the past year, I have wandered with little direction, knowing inherently that my potential is immense – yet barely scratching the surface of my capabilities. I lacked direction. I lacked inspiration. In short, the year following graduation was one of depression and consumption.
I believe that if I am able to find meaning within my life and thus my work, my life will be full and this general feeling of emptiness will subside. Or, at least, I hope. I pray.
I am ready to feel good about life. I am ready to smile. To bring others UP! To inspire. To be inspired. I am ready to be happy.
And thus, I begin my manifesto — to inspire myself and subsequently to inspire others.
2. I have been given gifts, many of which I too often take for granted.
These are not my abilities. Although I was born with an artistic inclination, I believe I can fairly say that my brilliance was not born into me. All of my talents took time, instruction, and practice. That is, it was not solely me but the help of others that which made me Me.
These others I shall classify as God, All-That-Is, ∞, therefore I look at my gifts as God-given. In a communion between myself and God, I became that which I currently am and it is through God that I will evolve. With this said, it only seems logical to use these talents to honor the infinity that constantly breathes life into me.
Now I don’t mean being some evangelical Christian-Buddhist-Hindu-yadda yadda poo poo, but, simply, being me. The Universe likes to laugh. The Universe likes to have sex. The Universe–although secretly perfect–seems to thrive on our imperfections, on our incredible ability to be unique, while also being a part of the Whole. The Universe, at least I believe, wants me to remain myself with my certain sensibilities because it spent 24 years [now 27] of its infinite time molding me into my current form.
3. The idea, however, is to turn my attention, my unique perspective away from this constructed personality and put it directly on the outside world.
The time is now to forget myself. We don’t need another twenty-something only interested in promoting him/herself. We need to realize we are not the important Bit (Face it: there are billions of people in this world. Why is it that your one of billions is more special, more unique than another?). We have been given this unique perspective to experience the Whole, not just our one bit. The Universe desires to know itself — its infinite self through infinite eyes — and you are those eyes.
I am a firm believer in Evolution…of spirit, of consciousness, technology, self-expression, etc. Our world does not benefit from the constant revisiting of tired ideas, forms, styles, structures – even words, sounds, visions.
The current state of consumer art is one of remakes, adaptations, sequels. This is evident in film, plays. Our biggest musical stars are rehashes of artists that came forty years prior. In my mind, we are deep in a cultural stagnation. We have stalled. We are stuck…largely due to our cultural worship of the $.
The great irony is that we are living in a time of infinite possibilities. Computers are making anything possible, and making it possible for cheap. It seems, however, that no one is realizing this quite yet. Our gaze is still stuck on the money and that alone is making it impossible for the one thing that brings about Evolution: Risk.
If we wish to grow, we must be willing to take risks– to try new things, to piece together seemingly disparate ideas, to push the boundaries of what we currently think is possible.
There will come a time when the cost of production will reach zero. When this occurs (and it is already happening), it will not be the rehashings that hook our attention but it will be the things that we have never seen before. It will be the risky, the daring.
With risk, there comes the heightened chance of “failure.” I do not believe in failure. My “failure” might be the fuel for my next “success”…or it might plant the seed in another’s mind. Either way, it was the risk that created progress. In this project or the next. We must be pushing forward, embracing our past while looking for opportunities to do things in a new way.
Inside all of us is a Truth. Even Truths. It is the seeing through of a cultural lie we have been raised upon. In my eyes, we as artists must be willing to embody our Truth, to bring life to that which we know is true. This too requires bravery, risk to speak out against a widely held belief, but if we wish to create a better world (which is the whole purpose of Art, is it not?) we must give our Truth to the world.
Whatever it is that you desire to be, you already are.
You do not need a record deal to be a musician. You simply need a song. You do not need a development deal to be a filmmaker. You only need a story. Etc. etc.
Computers are making it possible to live our dreams. Fifty years ago, there was a gap between amateur and professional. Now, there is no gap. Production values in the ‘amateur’ set are approaching (if not meeting) the professional. The only difference lies in the distribution, the outreach of the artists.
For that matter, to my ears, I do not believe we need to concentrate so hard on production value, but again, on the adventurous, the risky. There is inherent aesthetics in low fidelity art. Embrace that if that is what your life situation is handing you.
It is my naive hope that, over time, the incredible, the inspiring will rise above the clutter. It might take years, but if your art is fresh, it will be found and respected.
You, too, must work on getting it found. Get out of your bedroom and play on the streets. Book gigs. Give away burnt CD’s. Do whatever you can do to be heard. If what you are doing is worthwhile, people will listen.
This holds true for all art forms. If you are an author, is is easier than ever to publish your own book; a filmmaker, to release your own film; a photographer, your own book of photography. If you can dream it, there is a good chance it’s possible to create…for cheap.
It’s up to you, however, to figure out a way to entice another person to spend time with your art. In our world of increasingly infinite options, this, to me, seems to be the missing puzzle piece, the holy grail of the DIY movement.