Combining new art forms and new ideas
Radical – Adjective;
(especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
Curiosity – Noun;
A strong desire to know or learn something OR an unusual or interesting object or fact.
When I think of a new idea, I begin to break it down, eroding its core and understanding where the bank meets the spring. That idea has to be initiated or I will procrastinate, overthink and eventually send it to the metaphorical dump in my mind to be recycled. *Notice I said “recycled” and not “destroyed.”* Because an idea is a curious thing indeed. It is a formation of thoughts, feelings and processes all combined into a new piece, a new art, a new idea. Something that has to be explored. And how do I explore it? What route do I follow? When do I share it and send it into action? So many questions, and so many answers, so many different avenues to explore those answers. It’s like I’m being engulfed by crossroads, suffocated by possibilities and drowning from the sea of paths that have stretched out before me, enticing me to fall into their depths of wonder. An idea for me, is a dangerously beautiful obsession and with so many paths to choose from I often find myself stuck in a rut, a small encapsulated space in my ocean of thought, that gets smaller and smaller like a bubble losing air, closing in on me, eliminating options that can’t possibly be in my reach, sending options to the recycling bin for another time, allowing them to slumber in the reef waiting for a bite.
*It’s a very clever extended metaphor you see*
And for a long time I would sit in this rut, wallowing and allowing only the smallest of ideas to escape through the pin prick of a hole that would uncover itself momentarily, bracing myself for the backlash, like I was testing my ideas, diving into the radical curiosity that only awakens when risk is involved, because to share an idea is to allow yourself to be open to criticism, to allow your sea to be parted and its depths to be scrutinized.
Something I’m never sure I am ready to hear.
*But I’m perfect sometimes so that’s probably why*
But as I tested more and more ideas and poured more of my heart and soul into putting them together a fire burned, a passion. A need to create more ideas, to form new bonds and delve deeper into the art of my mind. A fire that steamed up my glasses and bubbled my core. This need to create, this urge to build, *most likely from a God complex I acquired somewhere along the way* made me believe I could change the world! I was the avatar, and I needed to use the elements to my advantage! So I let that fire grow, my aim and my outlook aligned. Only those with the best ideas can truly lead the next generation. I know, savouristic, but I was selfish, I needed to be seen because I had been ignored constantly by people who I admired and needed recognition from, by people who didn’t see me because of my gender or the colour of my skin, by the gatekeepers of art who refused to test new ideas and radical opinions and by myself. I felt powerless to the ginormous wall of thick vibranium blocking my, and so many others’, path to success. The dam of solid metal and earth I was yet to conquer and bend to my will. Someone or something didn’t want to build on new ideas, create new works, build new forms of artwork, there was always some catch, some necessity, some stupid idea like “you need experience for a traineeship” or to have written at least “three full length plays” or some other form of elitism that is only possible if you have connections to the best of the best from birth. And that rut came back, time and time again, as I failed more and more, as the gatekeepers locked the doors and the dam became unmoveable, I sunk again, my fire extinguished, my sea engulfing me. My ideas began to get binned more and more, so many of them left in stasis as my idea farm withered from the drought of creativity and originality. The dam had won.
*Sad, cry, tortured artist. Hum Hum.*
However, I am not in the habit of feeling sorry for myself… for longer than a week and after my valiant pity party for one, I got bored of being jobless.
*Fanfare, Carnival horns*
Then along came Sour Lemons. I wouldn’t call them my saving grace because we can only save ourselves, but what I would call them is the divining rod that led me towards a mission I was yet to know I was on. The ethos of Sour Lemons stuck with me: Turn your Sour Lemons into Lemonade. Mind-blowing, simple, eloquent. (Yes I know it sounds like I’m sucking up but I’m actually here for all of it) The beauty in simplicity. Sour Lemons taught me the beauty in collaboration, where my previous entanglements had been very sour indeed, the Lemons were all about the kindness and generosity that had gotten me taken for a mug for so many years, that had left me with my appendage in my hands, that had allowed me to hear “I don’t have enough experience in the arts” by an organisation I donated eight years of talent and hard work to, they showed me that the skill and knowledge accumulated there was my driving force to move the dam. None of them were like me, and yet we’re all the same, like the branches of a (Lemon) tree.
*See what I did there?*
But seriously, the beauty of Sour Lemons was that my new ideas were valid, and combining them with the plethora of talent within the Lemony Cohort allowed me to develop a radical curiosity.
*What does that mean, it’s in the title but I still don’t get it?*
It means I genuinely began to understand that art isn’t literal or one form. I already know that theatre isn’t one form, but I forgot how imperative combining art forms were. How once combined, an illustrator who studies psychology can create art that makes you rethink your entire world. How a hula-hoopist jack-of-all-trades can build strategic guides to self-motivation. How a social activist of few words can dismantle an entire construct of media. And all of this popping the tiny bubble we constantly put ourselves in. Breaking through those dams with the force and fire that the rut accumulated around it, and finally falling prey to the winds of process and time, allowing our ideas and our farms to become full and healthy. The many avatars saving the world, the many farmers saving each other’s lands from destitution.
Have you ever seen a show and thought, how the f%*$k did they come up with that? *Like Avatar: The Legend of Aang?* Well, I found the answer. They built tables of people from different ends of their worlds, they combined all their ideas and formed new ones. They combined those new pieces of art and formed better ones, and they led you. They led you to believe in what they believe. So now when I have a new idea, I seek out different people. I listen to their ideas and their processes and we believe together, we work together, and we build together. I don’t think I can be stuck in a rut again because I found my tribe, and my curiosity into how ideas can be made radical, and how they can be developed to form new art.
So I ask myself this:
When you stop to think do you listen
Are you looking at yourself
And expecting to find courage?
Are you asking yourself
What’s the most powerful you can be
How can you extend radical generosity
How can you break down
The wall that takes you for a clown
Or with your team as well?
Are you alone?