This Art Is On Fire (Dealing With Burn Out)

Sometimes you work really hard on a project and then you see it take off! Which is amazing and inspiring and has all the good feelings that make creativity worthwhile. Recognition in other words, dear readers!

No matter how many artists I speak with, whether musicians, actors, visual artists or otherwise, they all say similar things about the importance of digging into the form you love with everything you’ve got and expecting a slow climb up that hill. Because while you may find opportunities right away, you also might be a victim of chance and have to wait for those accolades.

Which is legit.


This post is for those artists, the ones who wanted to succeed right away and didn’t, who work hard night and day to find their place in the world and put up their own time, potentially sacrificing their mental and physical health to do so. To carry that torch for the arts.

For everyone who has the courage to go the distance and shoot for their dreams, no matter what, this one’s for you.

Now, my original plan to start this post off right was to simply include a couple of lyrics from famous songs with the word fire in the song itself and then make a joke about the nature of fire and how it relates to success as a metaphor.

But fuck – there were like 150 plus songs to choose from, and I started to feel old once I realized that all of my “cool and new” references were from the 2000s and now effectively outdated (For instance, one of the examples I was thinking about was from the 2003 album Fire by Electric Six). So you’ll just have to accept this string of GIFs as my effort at peacekeeping – Because I’m also feeling burnt out from this process. Pun semi-intentional.

Mi6sWRs                                   gifyh1c46                                                william

Funny right?

Well, interestingly enough each of those GIFs represents a different scenario of burn out. Yeah, burn out. I’m switching to something serious.

A scary topic that not a lot of people talk about because they don’t understand the full-reaching effects it can have on an individual.

Burnout is the state in which one discovers they have chronic fatigue – It usually starts with a lack of energy and feeling tired quite often. But they will likely experience other symptoms too, which might include insomnia, forgetfulness and/or impaired concentration, physical symptoms like chest pain, heart palpitations, headaches and stomach pain, weakened immune system, loss of appetite, anxiety, anger, and depression. More on the symptoms in this article.

You see, the 1st image is the guy/gal/person who decides to embrace the pain and lean into it as it overtakes them. Then you have 2nd person who experiences the loss and complains about it while not doing anything either, the 3rd person sees the signs but pretends there is nothing wrong, and the 4th person, appropriately might I add, freaks out and does something about it.

Dear readers, let me say this in the most common of terms, you want to be that 4th person. Take the time to honestly assess the state you are in, the amount of stress in your life, and find ways to reduce it before it becomes too much. While burn out is a physical problem, unlike a cold or a hangover, it doesn’t go away over a matter of days, it can take much longer, because it hits two fronts at the same time – your mind and your body.

So what’s an artist to do about it?

Well you need to douse that fire quick or if you’ve already experienced burn out, clean up the ashes and start rebuilding. But for the sake of constructive criticism and because I hate to leave you without some wisdom, I’ll give you a short list of remedies you can use (taken from this article).

  1. Self-care. Get your energy back through salt baths, yoga, deep breathing, long walks in nature, and positive affirmations.
  2. Take a break. Dial back from what you aren’t interested about and take a break until you are ready to come back. Whether it’s days, weeks, or months.
  3. Check your trophy room. Look back at your history and identify your successes. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  4. Enlist support. Hiring someone or get a friend to help out.
  5. Reassess your goals. Rethink your dreams, visions, and goals.
  6. Seek new inspiration. Visit places you normally avoid or spend time with creatives you haven’t considered before. Children for example.
  7. Community. Find a tribe through a class, seminar, meet-up or a studio visit.

And if you want some more resources, look here for suggestions (1 2 3 4). There is definitely a lot more to be written about this subject, and I’ve just scratched the surface, but at the end of the day, no matter what your creative role, you HAVE to take care of yourself. Inspiration and passion are good motivators but discipline requires attention as well.

Now I’m out of theories for the day friends. I hope this post finds you well, and if not, it helps you get back in shape. I’ll see you tomorrow with something timely.


Warning! Animal Crossing (The Revenant review)

I enjoy a revenge flick just as much as the next guy, but sometimes how my mood is well determine which type of movie I want to settle in for. If I want something violent, mysterious and twisted than I’m feeling like Oldboy (the original) or Momento is the right choice. If I want something light-hearted, then Lucky Number Slevin can’t be beat, and if I want both humour AND gratuitous violence than Inglorious Basterds or Kill Bill will do the trick.

But what if a revenge flick needs to be sweeping and feature that element of the sublime within it. Then I guess this week’s review will have to do.




The Revenant (2015)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck
Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu
released on blu-ray April 19, 2016
********** 10/10


IMDB: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%, Audience Score 85%
The Guardian: *****/*****

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (known as Alejandro G. Inarritu since 2014) is a Mexican film director, produce, screenwriter, and sometime composer. In other words he can almost everything but act in his films.

He is the kind of director that wins awards and receives critical acclaim in the film industry. Don’t believe me? Look at his track record – Amores perros, 21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and now The Revenant. He won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture for Birdman. And now he has won Best Director for The Revenant, along with Leonardo DiCaprio earning the award for Best Actor.

And to be quite blunt, he deserves those awards. But before we get into it, let’s do a quick overview of The Revenant’s plot.

Taken from Wikipedia and edited,

In 1823, a crew of hunters and trappers traveling through U.S. territory suffers heavy losses in an Arikara ambush. A handful escape by boat, but Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a veteran trapper, advises them to instead continue on foot. Their commander, Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson), agrees, but others, including John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), are furious in leaving the valuable pelts. The Arikara catch up with the boat, but find and kill only two stowaways.

While scouting ahead, Glass gets attacked by a grizzly bear, suffering severe wounds. Henry patches him up, but decides he is too much of a burden. On Fitzgerald’s advice, Henry tries to shoot Glass but ultimately relents. Instead, he pays Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) to watch over Glass until he dies and to be properly buried. Glass’s Indian son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), volunteers to accompany them. While Bridger is busy collecting water, Fitzgerald tries to smother Glass and stabs Hawk to death when he intervenes. Claiming that an Indian attack is imminent, Fitzgerald throws Glass in a shallow grave and is followed by a reluctant Bridger.

Upon returning, Fitzgerald informs that both Glass and Hawk died of exposure, while a guilt-ridden Bridger refuses to accept his payment. Meanwhile, Glass, on the verge of death, struggles to recover his strength. He is also pursued by the Arikara, whose chief, Elk Dog (Duane Howard), is in search of his kidnapped daughter. Glass encounters passing Pawnee Indian, Hikuc (Arthur Redcloud), who provides him with accomodations, and offers to travel with him. One morning, he wakes up to find Hikuc has been hanged by French trappers. He infiltrates their camp and rescues a captive Indian girl, unaware that she is Elk Dog’s daughter. Arikara pursue Glass and force his horse off a cliff, leaving them for dead. With no options, Glass uses the horse’s corpse as a makeshift shelter.

While preparing to depart for the season, Henry picks up a French hunter carrying Glass’s canteen. Based on his information, a search party locates Glass and brings him back to camp. Henry has Bridger arrested for treason, but learns that Fitzgerald has already fled with the expedition’s money. Seeking revenge, Glass and Henry set out to track him. When they separate, Fitzgerald ambushes Henry and scalps him to make it look like an Indian attack, hoping to throw Glass off his trail.

Using the dead Henry as a decoy, Glass tricks Fitzgerald into revealing his position and wounds him with a pistol shot. The two men engage in a brutal hand-to-hand fight, which Glass wins. He turns Fitzgerald over to the Arikara, who scalp and kill him. Grateful for Glass’s actions in freeing his child, Elk Dog spares his life.


I will say this about the movie. It manages to to construct a feature length sensory experience. You feel the pain all over when the bear decides to attack Glass, and you wince in pain as it comes back for round two after he attempts to down it. You feel the sense of loss when he is incapacitated and has to watch his son die. You shiver at the sweeping landscape of cold and exposed skin. It’s incredibly visceral.

And yes it’s a revenge story at heart, but that’s what drives the plot forward, the details of how we get there are what matter in this epic western. The length never feels unnecessary, because Inarritu understands cinematography and what to do with video and audio to make it all worthwhile.

Pros: By focusing in on less than a dozen characters and giving us over 160 minutes of well constructed interactions, we get to experience frontier life in all of it’s brutality whether by nature or by lack of nurture. Did I mention that it is beautifully shot? It somehow makes you both want to live a simple lifestyle and stand in awe of the scale of the wilderness.

Cons: I found it hard to relate to Domhnall’s character, he felt a little bit out of place as a Captain, but upon second thought, that might be all the more reason for him to let Glass live and later die himself.

Runtime: 2 hours 36 minutes

Points of Interest: The film is based off of the 2002 novel of the same name, and also from the real life story which inspired the book – the adventures of Hugh Glass, essentially. Though Glass is reported to never have had a son or wife, that element was featured to enhance his motivations in the story.

Let’s be honest, this is beautiful film with an uncompromising story. After all of the press, the internet hype and the presentations at various film award ceremonies, I get it. I get why this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and finally got Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar. The Revenant is breathtaking, well acted, and features an appropriate cast. You should add this movie to your collection, especially if you like Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, westerns, nature or revenge plots.

Inarritu has managed to address a lot of important issues in this film, the drive of revenge and it’s ultimate disappointment, the exploitation of nature by mankind, the inconsistencies of our character and how we are capable of great deeds, but most importantly he shows the power of the natural landscape and how it can transform us whether we are ready for it or not.

Again I would highly recommend this film to anyone, but what do you think? Have you seen it yet? Did you love it, hate it or what? I’ll see you tomorrow friends, with some wisdom and hopefully some new theories.


Just Hymning Along (Bloc Party, Hymns review)

There is this really lame scene from 2007’s Spider-man 3 where Peter Parker gets upset with Eddie Brock, pushes him against a wall, and decides to expose him as a fake photographer. Which is then topped off by the one-liner – You want forgiveness, get religion.

Fans of the Spider-man comic books can appreciate both the cheesiness of this line, and the attempt at foreshadowing the pending birth of Venom in the film.

This might be relevant to today’s Melodic Monday entry in more ways than one.




Bloc Party – Hymns
released January 29, 2016
****** 6/10


Bloc Party are an English indie rock band, which also use elements of electronica and house in their music. Though they have seen some lineup changes over the past few years, the current band is composed of Kele Okereke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, sampler), Russell Lissack (lead guitar, keyboards), Justin Harris (bass guitar, keyboards, saxophones, backing vocals) and Louise Bartle (drums).

This is their fifth studio album, which comes after a 4 year hiatus. After 2012’s Four was released, Matt Tong left the band in 2013 and Gordon Moakes left the band in 2015. This is where Justin Harri and Louise Bartle came in.

Hymns is an interesting effort. \s I already mentioned, it is the first album Bloc Party has made in four years, but it is also the first album the new lineup has recorded together. And somehow it manages to both work as a wall of sound album, with religious undertones, and simultaneously alienate fans of their older work. In other words, it’s not really like the smash first album Silent Alarm and their dancier third album, Intimacy.

But what’s the problem?

Why it doesn’t work is because it never quite reaches the levels of spiritual praise that it claims to be striving for. It’s an album half baked. But when it does work it’s because they stop pretending to be making dance music with religious redemption and just talk about the issues they care about. This is where Okereke’s vocals have always been strongest and where the heart of Bloc Party lies.

Instead with Hymns we get to see Okereke in control of the show, existing in a space between soul and gospel, but he does still love his electronica. Stand out tracks include Into The Earth, So Real, and Living Lux, but overall the rest of the songs are just okay. It’s so strange because this was one of the 21st centuries golden children, they were pioneering in 2005 what has now become the norm in modern rock. But their exploration of music and lryics as a slow and forced movement into a more mature sound just doesn’t quite work yet. This truly is Bloc Party 2.0, but I’m not entirely convinced that the upgrade has been worth it.

It may be because half of the original band has left, and the party has left with them, but Different Drugs best demonstrates the future of the band, and incidentally may be a code for the reason why the band started to break up in the first place. If reinvention is supposed to be cool, I think it just got cold in this house.




Now I don’t necessarily think that Bloc Party “got religion” in the wake of the band experiencing inner turmoil, but it is interesting that self-reflection usually breeds this kind of behavior. And I’m willing to bet we haven’t seen the last of Bloc Party, that an awesome team-up style fight is in the not-too-distant future, but I’ve been burnt before.

So should you buy this album? Well I don’t think it’s amazing, but still, it’s a decent listen. Fortunately enough, I just might have a redemption movie in store for tomorrow. What do you think? Is Hymns marred with too much self-worship? Are my theories on the mark?


Innovation Is A Work Of Art (Lisa Jones interview, Innovation)

Innovation is difficult.

It forces you to stretch yourself and expose yourself in ways that you never expected to. You make sacrifices too, which can feel like hot wax on bare skin. Painful, but that initial commitment makes the overall process less painful. Unless of course you delay. Then the wax cools and the hair pull hurts more than the first wax application.

Whether a fast or slow decision, you eventually do have to pull the hairs out… but the aesthetic benefit soon becomes apparent. You see, those hairs can grow, but it is only with focus and determination that we can shape them into a beautiful set of eyebrows, a glowing beard, or even with clean shaven legs.

Only then can we become a work of art.

This might seem like kind of a weird example to lead into this month’s AMAZING interview, and an amazing interview it is, but I promise the metaphor will make sense shortly. You see dear readers, true innovation doesn’t come from no where.

Even if a statement like “… [is] a work of art” sweeps the Twitterverse on a particular day or over the course of a week (April 15, 2016), someone spent the time crafting a public persona and was able to authenticate that statement and help make it noteworthy for millions. The masses are fickle, but the artist can be committed to innovation.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 11.04.06 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 11.04.35 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 11.05.03 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 11.05.24 PM

Yeah that “… [is] a work of art” actually did became a popular thing to tweet for a bit there. Whether I decide to make a great metaphor for growth and the beauty of humanity.

But, as I mentioned already, it’s not true innovation. And a work of art is steeped in more than just hair pull metaphors that suggest people’s bodies can simply be works of art on their own. Or can art do that?

Can art build off of what already exists, and cause self-reflection? Or better yet, cultural shifts?

That’s where episode 8 of timotheories interviews comes in.


Lisa Jones is a visual artist with abilities to rival the best of them – painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking. But she prefers to specializes in painting with oils. And she makes images through her own personal metaphors, both refining and simultaneously obliterating narratives and materials at the same.

She recognizes that becoming an artist and maintaining a practice requires a combination of effort, innovation through necessity, and building a future for herself that doesn’t include regular visits to the local watering hole.

But you should take a look at the interview for yourself, because it’s literally just below you. It’s my most innovative interview yet. I promise.

And as always, if you want to check out more timotheories interviews or the Cross Talk series please visit our YouTube channel.  And please, please, please leave some comments and of course subscribe to both the blog and channel!

Please also check out Lisa’s website to see her portfolio and to contact her for her creative services.

And of course my sincerest thanks to Lisa for being lively, likeable, and legitimately lovely. See you tomorrow with a hymn worthy music review.


Eco-Friendly Arts (Earth Day)

Every Thursday I write something timely for you “near and dear to my heart” readers, because I recognize the importance of time-sensitive events, consistency of effort in delivery of those ideas, and the impact that well-communicated knowledge can have on the spread of said positive ideas in the world.

In fact, conveniently enough (almost too conveniently), I watched a TED Talk video earlier this week about the common thread of successful of TED Talks, as delivered by Chris Anderson. Anderson tells us that the key to a good communication is bringing singularly focused ideas to the table and within a context the general populace can understand. Then new patterns can form and you can positively effect someone’s personal world view. If you can provide examples to make them care all the better.

You see dear readers, an idea is effectively a pattern of information that helps you understand and navigate the world. Not unlike a set of instructions. If you’re more visual think of a blueprint or a road map. If you are more tactile think of a puzzle. And if you’re an auditory learn, the best example I can drum up is a group of musicians using music and lyrics to formulate a song.

If ideas are communicated properly and worth sharing, they have the ability to change how someone thinks about the world. And so today I want to write about something rather serious and also kinda polar bear-izing. I mean polarizing.


And that’s “probably” the only joke I’m going to make today.

Did you know that today marks the 46th eve of the first Earth Day? Earth Day was invented on April 22 in 1970 amongst Americans as a way of consolidating the efforts of various activist groups who were fighting for environmental issues; mainly through protest. It was long overdue even then but what was most fascinating about the first Earth Day is that it woke up so many people to the idea of pollution from major industry (oil spills, toxic dumps, pesticides), deforestation, and ozone loss.

People make fun of celebrity activists like Pearl Jam, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Cameron, Brad Pitt, Darryl Hannah, and Cate Blanchett for supporting these types of causes, but the reality is that human beings do mess up their environment. All the time. And it’s not exclusive to individuals nor is it entirely the fault of large organizations.

Earth Day is important because it reminds us to celebrate the planet Earth. We live on it and use it, and no regardless of religion, colour, creed, nationality or political leanings, we all have to work together to keep this place liveable. Around the world many cities have community service initiatives in place on April 22 to ensure that we can each do our part to plant trees and nurture the landscape, especially in areas heavy with litter and pollution. The phrase “think globally and act locally” is pretty useful to help provide context.

And for the sake of learning, I will use visual artists to demonstrate the importance and ease in which you can implement these strategies. If you can cut down on your own eco footprint, you should do it. Recycle your paper based source material, make trips to pick up art supplies infrequent to save on gas use, and properly dispose of your oils and mediums by visiting eco stations rather than dumping in the garbage. In fact, if you are subtle you could probably even find scrap materials AT the eco stations which can be used in art work. Which in my books, is a win-win.

But what do you think? Do you have strategies to cut down on your eco footprint that I haven’t mentioned? What are your concerns with Earth Day and how do you celebrate? Please leave some comments, I don’t bite!

I’m out of theories for the week friends, so I’ll see you on Sunday with something stimulating.