TO YOU, THE ARTIST...

flower-tree-growing-concrete-pavement-101

CREATIVE GUILT PART TWO

In the last post, I explored the idea that there is a pervasive view of creativity being less than a worthwhile professional pursuit.
I pointed out that the education system in Britain makes no bones about whipping the dramatic arts off the curriculum and likely will do with fine art shortly.
Sad times. However, repress anything fundamental to human flourishing and it will find a way to break through. You see, we are all artists. That’s right. Everyone of us.

cubicle

Creative Guilt part 1

‘The glory of God is a man fully alive’ said Saint Irenaeus. How right he was….

bowling

BOWLING BEAUTY

Firstly, my sincerest apologies for the enormous break in posts. I have been unbelievably busy doing a play and opening a second drama school. The good news is there’s lots to talk about!
I took my daughter bowling last week. I tried to impress her with my skills (not the greatest but not the worst).  I strode back to the seating area from my last roll, having flattened the pins in two go’s. As I did so, I glanced left and my smug grin dropped like a ton of bricks.
hunger

HUNGRY

Its 7.30 in the morning and I am sitting in my brothers kitchen looking out onto the orchard garden in his beautiful 300 year old Cotswold  cottage with a steaming cup of tea pondering the future.
This place is so beautiful it makes you feel slightly ill.
My brother is a very hard working lawyer and this country idyll is one of the fruits of his labour.
At 37 years old, I catch myself wondering if I am in the right job. I have chosen a career that is unlikely to serve up such profit. Should I call it a day and, while I still have some wit about me, train to do something with structure, a salary….a desk?!
That way I would have some idea of whats coming in before it goes out. I would be able to assure my wife that she can have that particular holiday at that particular time. Treats reserved for those who chose the steady path.
Then I remember the call from my agent yesterday about an audition, and with it the familiar feeling that has been my close friend for over 20 years. Its called hunger.
You see, when you are doing the thing you were made for,  the hunger will remain. Regardless of disappointment, exhaustion, cynicism and doubt..hunger will remain.
I say that we need to stay hungry,  stay driven. Keep throwing logs on the fire because,  honestly, only the hungry get to eat.
Cottages,  clothing,  holidays and ‘security ‘ will wave and blow kisses at you, beckoning you to drop anchor and reject your artistic drive. You will begin to see your former desires as childish, unrealistic and pointless but don’t be fooled. The path to artistic achievement is strewn with the bodies of people who settled for less and gave in to the sirens of security, and there they rest, sated but unfulfilled.
St.Iraneus said “The glory of God is a man fully alive”.
If something brings you life and harms no one in the process, you have found the thing you were made for. Stay hungry and chase it with all your heart.
To you, the artist.
vandalsim

MAKE OR BREAK

I have a theory.
Every one of us is imbued with a capacity to create.
A quantity of creative energy and that unique human quality….. the ability to choose.
nike

JUST DO IT

Nike got something right.
Just do it.
Having watched the final performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from our graduating second years at a tiny Manchester fringe venue, I was struck by the sense of community that is created when you take a passionate group of artists, willing friends and family and tell a story. Magic happens.
milk

MILK

There is a great difference between acting for a hobby and acting for a living.
heart

THE ARTISTS HEART

Kurt Cobain, Philip Seymour Hoffman, van Gogh, river Phoenix, Heath Ledger.
Self mutilation. Suicide. Accidental overdose.
It would seem that, while not exclusive to the arts, there is a well documented connection between artistry and self harm.
My favourite quote about acting is by sir Laurence Olivier;  ‘there is no greater job than that given to the actor, to teach the human heart the knowledge of itself’.
Could it be that, in living from the heart, the creative centre, the birthplace of desire, artists are thereby more vulnerable to the overwhelming realization that satisfaction will never arrive? In prompting others to awaken their own hearts through music, painting, word and story, we fall prey to the reality that there is no true fulfillment to be found? Not this side of death anyway.
Our world is slowly suffocating the hearts of it’s inhabitants. Through consumerism, porn (or excess in any area), violence and cheap, shallow entertainment we are numbing the hearts of our children and making true connection more and more difficult.

calculation has replaced concern, sex has replaced sensitivity and greed has replaced giving.

luck

Go luck yourself!

“Its all down to luck isnt it!?”
I can’t count how many people (non actors) have said that to me over the years in response to finding out that I haven’t been in Coronation Street yet (the apparent barometer for actor success).
“….Yeah ” I inevitably sigh, before quickly changing the subject.
one shot 2

ONE SHOT 2

This time last year I wrote a piece called one shot. It was a reflection on the West End showcase that our graduates were about to take part in that day.

A year has passed and we find ourselves on our way to another industry gathering where the latest group are about to present themselves to agents and casting directors for scrutiny.