Old Skool VS. New Skool

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Taken at the Suzhou museum- a comparison between traditional ink nature and contemporary calligraphy.

Where To Next?

I considered turning 30 as a sort of crossroads towards the second half of my life. The thought had surfaced to examine a self reflection of where I've been and where I plan to aim towards next. Continuing to accumulate some type of mental stimulation and growth by some legitimate means seems like the optimal and proper route to go. Does that mean going back to school? Does that mean learning a new skill set? Does that mean getting involved in small projects? Does that mean making more money? It could quite possibly mean all of the above, but while assessing this this fork in the road, something had occurred to me. Being over ambitious might not be the answer to achieving a genuine sense of happiness and contemptment which I feel first and foremost should be a priority.

I've been incredibly lucky over the past several months of having the opportunity to hear some very reputable thinkers express their views stemming from art, music, design and tying those into life experiences. I almost consider these encounters as a secondary education since the insight shared is worth it's weight in deep wisdom. Many times their work is an underlying subtext or exercise of self reflection in order to ask questions which lead to creating results in their purest forms. It almost sounds like new age spirituality bull-crap, but it resonates relative and honest tones to many of my creative functions and forms of problem solving.

The work of Underworld & TOMATO have been one the key signifier-s to view life from a different lens and question my own goals as an individual. Long story short, their influence got me off my ass and into focus with a new sense of self and motivation when I was just trudging along aimlessly in life . In August of 09, I conducted a phone interview with Underworld front man Karl Hyde, needless to say it was a nervous experience, but also a pleasant chat with plenty of simple redeeming insight.

"Collaborating without ego" "You've got to be hungry" "Never stop searching"

Great short interview with John Warwicker of TOMATO and close friend to Underworld. His philosophy is very grounding in the high-level but really does dig deep in execution.

I recently picked up his book "Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far" which happens to be a collection of images, phrases, and personal observations made into creative installations. Sagmeister is in search of peace and happiness while trying to balance a work life that doesn't overstep it's boundaries to the point of distorting a clear perception of human values. His work is honest and often times equally playful toward an angle of performance art. The book's preface had several contributors, one that stood out was psychologist, Daniel Nettle of Newcastle University, UK. Nettle Broke down Sagmeister's work into three positive points:

Social relationships - they ground and secure us towards solving practical and material problems. We need to be reminded that "Helping other people helps me".

Importance of Feeling a sense of Mastery - "Actually doing the things I set out to do increases my overall level of satisfaction" Nettle had documented that lower income people felt much happier and mentally healthier than higher income individuals who felt no sense of control.

The Place of Self Reflection Happiness - "Keeping a diary supports personal development" It is the act of reflection that allows us to make sense out of and balance our multitude of thoughts and feelings.

A small excerpt from a recent TED lecture... sums up the gist of his latest book

Dear lord, where to begin? Eno has always intrigued and equally annoyed me, but I've gotten to respect him more while reading his diary entries "A Year With Swollen Appendices". Through the lens of this subjective book is a wealth of insight and shared experiences ranging from a broad range of topics, encounters, traveling, and creative processes. Must have taken some substantial level ease to allow such exposure of his most vulnerable and weak moments.

We had caught his recent lecture at Cal State Long Beach in support of his recent light installation 77 Million Paintings. Eno discussed a concept of allowing yourself to "surrender" in order to achieve results you'd otherwise be constrained towards. I found it amusing that he used a surfing analogy to compare and contrast his point.

In conclusion having accomplished goals while paying close attention to life's subtext and effecting those around you in a positive manner just might be a decent start to keeping sane.