Wednesday, May 31, 2006

from Ted O

This is a test to see whether I can indeed post a note to Rayna's blog. If it works, then presumably I have successfully entered the 21st century.... From Rayna: Ah, despite yourself, you have left the world of Luddites. ok, Ted O - I'll bite! One of the things you say in your book is that if you lead an interesting life you're on track to make interesting art. Huh? In my family, growing up, 'interesting' was dubious at best. And I think 'may you lead an interesting life' is an old Chinese curse. Setting aside those two things, how do you define 'interesting'? Rather subjective, isn't it? There are people who lead very routine, ordinary, even dull lives but make stimulating, thoughtful,with layers of meaning (ok - interesting) art. And vice-versa. How do you account for that? And how do you propose we put ourselves on a collision path with interesting experiences? Maybe it is more that we need to be able to perceive the 'ordinary' as interesting...

8 comments:

martha in ny said...

welcome to the twenty first century!

Shirley Goodwin said...

I am somehwat confused as to why Ted is posting on Rayna's blog. But I have to say, while I haven't read your book Ted (I'm on the other side of the world), I LOVE your photos.

Shirley in New Zealand

Rayna said...

Ted is posting so we can discuss ART, the making of art, how we find our audience, creativity, and anything else you want to talk about - whether you have read the book or not. See my addition to his post.

lizzieb said...

So Ted...My biggest question is What is Meaningful Art" Does that mean that it has a meaning in it, a social commentary or visual statement about something or other? We frequently have discussions about only art that comes from soul has any meaning or that making "pretty" art isn't really meaningful. I find that I spent 30 years working with some of the worst people around (sex offenders) and now I just want to make beautiful colors and lines and shapes and hopefully others will enjoy viewing and thinking about those lines and colors and shapes.
Is that meaningful art?

lizzieb said...

I have to correct myself...it's art work that matters not art work that has meaning...but I guess my comments are still the same.

Mary Beth said...

But I know so many people who lead really un-interesting lives: no hobbies, no interests, no groups, no volunteer activities etc. I am not exaggerating this. I work with a lot of people who are 15-30 years younger than I am and so many of them just go to work, go home, watch tv, drink.

I don't think "interesting" has to mean climb huge mountains or discover unknown plant species.

In my own life I think interesting means noticing the landscape and light during my commutes and walks; taking an alternate route and getting out to enjoy the view; talking to strangers and learning about their lives and ideas; trying something new now and then; and most importantly, doing what I have to do to make time for what is most important to me.

Beverly said...

This is great- thank you for putting all this together, Rayna.
Interesting life- I think it has more to do with attitude and desire to learn than anything else. I agree with Mary Beth, too many people out there have no interests, no hobbies, never crack open a book,- all of which is totally incomprehensible to me. Being able to roam the world at will wouldn't mean a thing if you aren't open to learning and new experiences!

Ted Orland said...

So far as I can tell, what’s “interesting” to any particular person is entirely subjective, non-transferable, and usually impossible to even know from the outside. Personally, the experiences I find interesting are those that rejuvenate my spirit, keep the wheels in my head turning, or my make heart go pitty-pat a little faster.

On a day-to-day level, my list is pretty simple – typically, for instance, teaching & walking & making art. The common denominator there is that each of those elements keep me from operating on automatic when they come into play. After all, the things that interest you are the things you will pay attention to, and in art (as in other realms) you’ll simply never work hard enough to get really good at it unless it interests you enough to make you really WANT to burrow into the material.

So for me, at least, putting myself on a collision course with interesting experiences is a modest and easily accomplished goal. I teach because it surrounds me with people who haven’t yet given up on life, and whose own questioning forces me to clarify my own thinking. I carry a technology-free plastic camera when I go for walks, photographing whatever crosses my path. (When I travel further afield, I put my camera on the car seat beside me and simply follow the path of the sun across the sky.) And later I hold long conversations with those images (and listen to what they say!) as I work with them in my computer. Those who skydive or vacation in Machu Picchu or throw wild RAV parties would probably find my life, well, uninteresting. I find that it fits me like a glove.