Be Formless. Shapeless. Like Water (Brendon Greene musician interview preview)

Bruce Lee is one of those iconic figures that so many people seem to be inspired by.  Especially people who want to make a motivational point for others. To be fair, he did accomplish a great many different things in his rather short life in order to earn that title. And he IS damn quotable.

Credited with changing how Asian people were viewed in American cinema was a big one, but that is just one of his many incredible feats, not to mention setting world records in martial arts, founding the martial art of Jeet Kune Do, and becoming a pop culture focal point of the 20th century.

Bruce Lee was multi-talented too – an actor, director, martial artist, instructor, and philosopher.

One of the reasons why people are so easily and regularly inspired by Bruce Lee (I suspect anyway), is because of his philosophical views on life. I am sure you’ve heard your share of Bruce Lee quotes in your lifetime, even if you didn’t know it yet. Take this gem for instance.

This is one of my favourites, but there are hundreds of them out there. I’ll tell you too, people love to make posters out of Bruce Lee quotes too.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m even writing about Bruce Lee, because this looks like an artist interview post. And yeah, you’d be right if you are thinking that. It just so happens though, that this martial arts icon has inspired a new friend of mine too. And how.

Brendon Greene is a very interesting fellow. His life has been rife with challenges, or opportunities as I’m sure he would call them. From those opportunities, Brendon has figured out what his purpose in life is. Which is why he decided a very short time ago, after running to office in the Green Party, to open his own record label – Conscious Collective. Brendon regularly teaches musicians how to get started, produce an album, and distribute it too. Plus he loves to manage new talent and make beautiful music, to boot.

Today I give you a sneak peek of an interview I had with him recently on his role as a mentor for younger musicians, and how Conscious Collective is community oriented. This preview asks the question about who a burgeoning musician should work with, and what kinds of content they should consume.

And Brendon delivers.

 

theories Summarized

I hope this interview preview was useful creative cuties. Brendon has a lot more to say too, but you’ll just have to come back in a week if you want to hear the rest of his story. I promise it will be just as entertaining as this clip, if not moreso.

With a ton more heart and pop culture references, this is an interview that prefaces a new series I’ll be producing with Brendon too! But more on that later. I’m out of theories for now, and I need to get some shut eye.

Tim!

Art Tricks, Money Traps (Work-Life Balance)

We did it dear readers. We finally got through it.

We made it to the end of my series on the Wellness Factors of Life, AKA addressing the OECD index, or if you prefer, the Postconsumers series. What started out as a wild bid on my part in considering how to live a life with less and yet fuller than you could ever imagine, is now closing out with a topic more then fitting – work-life balance. The last factor that can directly effect your over-all state of being in this world of ours.

Because let’s face it, the average global citizen doesn’t even realize they have a creative component of who they are. Creativity that should be nurtured like all of the other things.

Your creative spark absolutely needs to be considered, and it connects quite well with areas of health, spirit, work, family/friends, environment, and personal fulfilment. When all of these things come together, your life will sing with excellence. Or maybe it’ll all fall apart if you ignore any one of those things for too long.

Yikes, that is a depressing thought to fathom. But I’ve been there creative cuties, and yes I may share that story in full one day. The story which led to one of my greatest theories on the importance of pursuing your purpose, it could be a campfire theory even, but not today is not that day friends.

I’ve got a different kind of wisdom to impart.

But first, let’s put a cap on that pen, and bring out the fundamental of life once more.

The Bare Knuckle Necessities

I’m going to make a bold statement.

You cannot achieve the perfect balance of life:
career (work),
spirituality (spirit, creativity),
space (home, studio, environment),
relationships (romantic, family, friends),
health (exercise, meditation, reading),
and fulfillment (hobbies, recreation)

All of these are noble pursuits, and completely attainable, but most definitely not all at once, and never more then two or three at a time. I know you’ve tried to accomplish this on your own, and you may have even fought against the theory because you wanted to disprove it. But like many idioms, adages, and metaphors of life, life hits back, over and over.

It’s not about besting life friends, it’s about taking it all in, giving it your best shot at a few areas at a time, and then continuing onward.

So for you that might mean getting a grip on health, and career for quite a while. At least until you’ve seen some positive gains and have set up some new healthy habits for yourself. I’m not going to devolve this post into going over theories I’ve discussed before on health, productivity and habit setting, but those topics do exist on timotheories.com. This is about you being okay with striving for progress in certain areas, and then moving into progress in other areas.

Automation Station

Effectively you are creating rhythms and routines for yourself that your body, mind, and soul will be grateful for. Think about it for a minute, we are so comfortable falling into the same shitty habits every day after work? Ever wonder why we do that? Hint: it’s not because we want to.

Instead of beating yourself up because you didn’t do everything on your list today, focus on a few things to accomplish each day and follow through on them. Once the systems are in place to make those good decisions a reality every day (usually after a 90 day commitment), you will eventually create your own ideal, and balance will now have a new meaning.

It becomes less about having everything in equal measure, and more about shifting attentions on these areas of wellness as needed. So put the time in, build your lists, schedule tasks, and make one concrete action towards your area of focus each day. As Rocky says, that’s how winning’s done.

For me, what that means right now is making art every week, and marketing my business. Those are two simple things, but I’ve been neglecting them for relationships, work, and health. It’s time to focus back on the art and my own purpose.

theories Summarized

Artists of all stripes have to face the same pressures of work-life balance as do those that ignore the creative path. There is nothing wrong with going one way or the other, but when you make art, never assume your failings at balance are due to the pursuit of creativity – we all struggle with this. Skill, determination and a commitment to improvement are essential in moving towards success within the arts, as is true of any field.

The difference is that your path is not set in stone, therefore the risks and rewards are much greater. But I have a theory that you already know what you need to chase.

Tim!

When I Left You, I Was But The Learner, Now I Am The Master (Cross Talk Ep. 16)

 

The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master.

– Darth Vader

Of all the choices I could make to start this post off right, this is easily one of my favourite quotes from Star Wars because it demonstrates rather visibly resolution, the progression towards an end. Plus, it helps tie in A New Hope directly with my third favourite Star Wars film, Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Each of us moves through life encountering teachers, those who already have key abilities of intelligence, judgment and experience, realized as wisdom.

Darth Vader roughly translates to Dark Father. At least that’s the popular statement. An excellent coincidence that George Lucas used to his advantage when building the lore of Star Wars for us young fans.

But that’s what great storytellers do, they build into the mythos they’ve created and simultaneously strengthen the chronology with each addition to the franchise. Thus making those initial choices seem intentional and enmeshed with later stories. The value of of prequels and sequels is that they enrich an already great story. When the content lines up, exploration of themes is worthwhile.

So while Darth Vader is correct to say that he is now a master of the force, Obi-Wan is also correct in saying that he has only mastered the dark side of the force as a Sith. And when you watch Revenge of the Sith, you can see how handily Obi-Wan beat Anakin, how he admonished him for taking a risk and getting cut down, but only because Obi-Wan had wisdom which Anakin did not.

Because Obi-Wan knew better.

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When you begin the process of watching films, one of the biggest lessons you can learn is that there are levels of emotion which you can experience. Through repeated viewings, with different genres, and by having shared experiences. A popular one that is a perfect example of this is a parent watching one of their favourite movies with their child. You witness their emotions as they experience similar feelings that you had the first time you enjoyed that art, and then you gain the enjoyment of sharing that art with them, plus another bond you now have available in relating to your child.

That now shared, Chris and I have spent a lot of time discussing the inherent value of film before, but today we run through some real-world examples of the merits of this medium and why the more time you spend with it, the more likely you are to build social relationships, enhance your passion, step outside of your comfort zone, and learn about humanity. The highs and lows of the hobby, and the maturation the love is real my friends – wisdom to be gleaned from watching film.

This is episode sixteen of Cross Talk, produced by my friend and yours, Andre Lindo. I hope that you enjoy this episode as much as we enjoyed creating it. Cross Talk is a passion project, and this exemplifies that passion very well!

Yet another theory knocked right out of the park, and I’m spent. This is atypical of our normal Cross Talk videos, but I really do  hope you enjoyed this episode creative cuties, and that you have a wonderful week. Check back-in for a review of the new AFI album.

Otherwise, please comment, subscribe, and share this video with friends. We want to hear your feedback!

Tim!

Playing With Fire (Megan Warkentin grad exhibition)

In those seemingly quite moments of exploration, when we’re all alone, and when we don’t know what we’re doing, that is when we might be the most alive. Consider this quote by Chuck Palahniuk, who often pulls from personal experience when writing his novels. –

Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

In the month of October I released a couple of posts about a friend of mine. These posts supported an important interview I had conducted with my friend in the fall of this year. You see dear readers, she is graduating from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Arts after a stint of approximately ten years in post-secondary education – her name is Megan Warkentin and she is a visual artist with a masters degree in painting.

Our interview was about the importance of exploration, whether inside the framework of a creative discipline, as it relates to the occupations of the mind or when considering the physical world and the items contained inside of it.

Megan has always been a creative individual, but it wasn’t until she went after her university education that she really focused in on visual arts… And now she is asking one of the hard questions of life over and over again in her art.

Why would someone risk their safety, health and potentially their life in the pursuit of stunts and dangerous activity?

What began as a number of experimental paintings that featured still images from YouTube videos of people performing dangerous stunts and the resulting aftermath, has slowly evolved into a process surrounding larger ideas of risk and exploration. Megan is fascinated by human behaviour, and wants to know why people set themselves directly in harms way, why other people are fascinated by this behaviour in the first place, and how those onlookers might react to the sport of British cheese rolling or ravine jumping. Inspired by artists like Kim Dorland, Peter Doig, Daniel Richter, and Tilo Baumgartel whose work showcases contemporary society in interesting ways, Megan wants to truly address the absurdity of adrenaline junkies through crude art, with a hint of the sublime and mystical in the mediums used.

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This body of work culminates with an exhibition titled Playing With Fire between December 6-22 and January 30-7 at the Fine Arts Building gallery (1-1 Fine Arts Building, 89 avenue and 112 street, University of Alberta) and is the final visual presentation for Megan’s degree of Master of Fine Arts in Painting.

I realize it’s short notice dear readers, but if you want an opportunity to speak with Megan about her work, you should definitely check out the opening reception tonight, December 8th from 7-10PM at the FAB building. Otherwise the gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday 10-5PM, Saturday 2-5PM, closed Sunday, Monday, & statutory holidays.

I’m out of theories for the week my friends, but I hope you come back on Sunday for a new episode of Cross Talk.

Tim!

Liar, Liar (Snopes)

Snooping can be quite a rush.

You know you are looking at something which isn’t really for you, but it feels good to look at weird things, so you do it.

I’ve done some snooping on the internet from time to time, dear readers. It’s similar to research, but is a lot more cathartic, because I could get lost in one topic or another fairly easily, and I could spend moments or I could spend hours on said topic.

Though I’ve always been skeptical of what I learn online.

This is because I know that people lie on the internet, sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident, and because of the scope and scale of the internet, it is very difficult to be sure when someone writes anything with authority.

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Though I’ve never been one to side with the Snopes.

In case you’ve been living under a metaphorical rock, The Snopes are a family from a triliogy of novels by William Faulkner. A really weird family to boot.

Which is probably where the website snopes.com got their name from and which I will refer to as Snopes for the rest of the blog post. Snopes is going to be the source of this post but not the source for your wisdom today.

For all of those who take Snopes at their word, if you really want to to know something and figure out the truth of the matter, I think it’s time to reconsider their value proposition.

If you really want to know the truth of a story, you need to do exactly what your teachers in primary school used to tell you – do your own damn research first and cite your sources.

You see my friends, the authors of Snopes do exactly what most of us already do, run a Google search and mark it down on their website. And that’s a good thing, researching and investigating.

Unfortunately though the team at Snopes don’t have a background in investigative journalism, so it’s not like their research skills are that much greater than your own, and it also means that there are no guarantees that what they conclude are more accurate then your own findings. Granted, they just might spend a few hours on a given topic, but how assured are you of that fact at this point?

And I’m quite confident that you have friends or colleagues that’ll run a search on Snopes, find out that the authors have debunked that theory/urban legend/story you shared, and then they’ll ultimately say “see, I told you!”

Which your friends SHOULD do, because we shouldn’t be able to just get away with shit. No one should. George Washington demonstrates it best with this quote.

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You want some more info on Snopes, now don’t you? Well, Snopes is run by a husband and wife team, no office, no bullpen, no mail room, no team of lawyers, journalists, and administrators, and definitely not a library. David and Barbara Mikkelson started their website in the early oughts, but much like Wikipedia, it’s run by two enthusiasts who are human and flawed.

Humans have spiritual, social, and political leanings, and we should celebrate that diversity, but never give absolute authority to one group.

You have to take your sources with a grain of salt, dear readers. Only then can you gain more perspective and become a better artist. After all, artists are the lens through which ideas are filtered and transmitted, and so we have a responsibility to take in the world, fully.

And those are all of the theories I have today.

Tim!