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Janas (Fake) Journal: Spell for Art Making

Play Your Art Instrument, gel pen and colored pencil
Play Your Art Instrument, gel pens and colored pencil

I heard an interview with musician Bobby McFerrin on NPR yesterday and he said something about work, play and creativity that really struck me. He was talking about having always just wanted to be a working musician (rather than a famous celebrity). Then he stopped to correct himself about the word “work” vs. the importance of “play”:

“When we’re doing our lessons, the teacher doesn’t say, ‘Ready, set, work.’ They say, ‘Ready, set, play,’ and I always took that word seriously.”

When I heard his spontaneous and inspired music, I understood exactly. Without the spirit of play, art becomes work, serious work. And serious isn’t fun. You rarely see the adjective serious describing something you want. It usually appears before words like illness, accident,  mistake, and problem.

Of course there are serious artists who make serious work. I watched a series about artists on PBS called “Art:21.” The producers must have told all the artists to refer to their paintings, sculptures, prints as “work”  (e.g. “I made this work last year…” or “This work is about…” or “When I am making work…”). It just sounded so pretentious, self-important and overly serious.

So now, when I find myself working hard (and enjoying it less) whether in the studio, the sketchbook or life in general, I will remember the spell for joyful art making and apply it once again.

If you want to try the spell too, all you have to do is open your mind, heart, spirit, eyes, arms and PLAY!

(For more information about International Fake Journal Month click here).

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More Fake Journal: “Who Am I” (Clues from Snoop Dog)

Who Am I According to Snoop Dog #1, Ink & Gouache
"Who Am I" according to Snoop Dog #1, Ink & Gouache

Continuing with International Fake Journal Month, and my (fake) search for my identity by listening to lyrics of songs titled “Who Am I.” Today my clues come from Snoop Doggy Dog’s (unlistenable, disgusting) song “Who Am I: What’s My Name.” According to his lyrics:

Now just throw your hands in the xxx  air
And wave the xxxs like ya just don’t care.

I step through the fog and I creep through the smog
cuz I’m Snoop Doggy (what?) Doggy (what?) Doggy [Dog].

The Biggest Nuts, Ink & Gouache
The Biggest Nuts, Ink & Gouache

Then he says:

“…with the biggest nuts and guess what?
He is I, and I am him, slim with the tilted brim.”

I listened to samples of Snoop’s catalog on Amazon while I was sketching and decided that he has an awful potty mouth, doesn’t make sense and therefore must discard his clues. Clearly, despite his claims, I am neither the one with the biggest nuts nor a dog.  But I loved throwing my hands in the air and waving ’em like I just don’t care.

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Who Am I? (Fake Journal Month)

Who Am I, Sepia Micron Pigma Ink & Gouache, 5.5x7.5"
Who Am I, Sepia Micron Pigma Ink & Gouache, 5.5x7.5"

This is the beginning of my contribution to International Fake Journal Month (read on for more about this). To participate, I’m filling a journal this month as a woman who doesn’t know who she is and is trying to find out. (Maybe she’ll learn how she lost her memory too.) I started by Googling “Who Am I” and clicked the first link, a YouTube video by Casting Crowns which inspired the rose and waves besides my pondering self.

Then I checked iTunes and found more than 100 songs named “Who Am I.” I shall play detective, listening to each song, reading the lyrics looking for clues to who “I” am. I’m looking forward to Snoop Dogg’s “Who Am I” day. As I write and draw what I learn, I’ll fill the journal and by the end of the month may have discovered my true identity.

International Fake Journal Month

Roz Stendahl of Roz Wound Up and The International Fake Journal Month blogs is one of my favorite artist bloggers. This month she introduced a quirky and wonderful concept: The Fake Journal. The idea is to create a journal for a month, where you take on a new persona, and fill that journal with the writings and sketches of that person as he or she evolves. To learn more about Fake Journal Month and Roz..