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Sunday, February 19

on aesthetic and effort

I was GTD and listening to the audio nowcast today and they had Dave Pensado as their guest.  (AudioNowCast ep 115)

He was great throughout, but at about the 37 minute mark he really layed down some knowledge.  It was so clear and lucid that I marked it as it was playing back and came back later on today to transcribe it, so here it is (emphasis mine):
I noticed that guys that I respect so much that I admired their abilities, they didn't get get good because they tried, they got good because they couldn't help it.  The just couldn't help working 25 hours a day while everyone else is out getting laid...

There's something about our profession that's just special, and I know that's a chauvinistic thing to say, but we call came up the same way - hard work and at some point the harder we worked the luckier we got, that old saying, and that creates a certain camaraderie amongst us, you know? 

You'd think we'd all be jealous and envious, and there is that element in our profession, but by and large what you see on the show is genuine love for this profession…at any cost. 

I mean we've all sacrificed.  Family…health… everything for this.  And we'd do it again knowing the outcome.  Its just so much fun you know...

But making records and the creative process is, we talk about all of the technical stuff all of the gear…but at the end of the day they're selling their taste and taste is a function of your life's experiences.  If you're Donald Trump's son it's hard to sing the blues authentically.  And we're a product of our life's experiences and I think that's why some of the people are so fascinating because they've had some incredible life's experiences and that creeps into your work and I like that.

-Dave Pensado

And of course that's really reminiscent of the Ira Glass quote that came out a little while back (and circled the internets quickly):

What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
-Ira Glass

I find both thoughts to be incredibly lucid and IMO, the common threads between to two thoughts are that

  • taste is formed through life experience, therefore the more one experiences in life the more refined one's taste may become.
  • refined taste raises the bar on the acceptability of our own creative works
  • the better one's taste the harder one must work to achieve acceptable results
This all may be very self-evident, but I think its interesting how clearly two completely different sources can articulate the same fundamental concept.  I also think that this concept mirrors my own personal experiences.

An allegory to this would be that heavily observing and consuming the art of others may not be the straightest path to a well-developed aesthetic.  Instead, doing things like traveling, learning new skills and meeting new people may actually develop one's aesthetic more quickly.  This is because going out and actively experiencing life forces us into situations where we examine and measure ourselves more often, which is really the key to defining the things that we like vs the things that we don't.

I feel like I have some travelling to do...

1 comment:

Stavrosound said...

This is on-point. I can attest to this immensely, especially what resonates is the " cant help it" part. Thanks for sharing!