Constraints Will Set You Free

Prompt 1: Make anything you want, of any scale, with an unlimited budget and no time limit.

Prompt 2: Make a 2 minute long video, free of dialog, that conveys the complexity of love. It’s due in 3 weeks.

Sometimes we know exactly what we want to make. The idea is bursting out of us. It’s like something else is making our art, and we are nearly a medium.

But most of the time constraints will ground us and give us something to push against. They take the impossible off the table. They let us get started.

Make Your Soul Grow

A letter from Kurt Vonnegut to a high school class on the reasons for creating art of any kind.

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals [sic]. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.
God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

Source : Teacher Tom

Thinking is Easy

Thinking is easy. Doing is hard. Finishing is nearly impossible.

Thinking up bottled water was easy. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people thought it. But turning it into a manufacturing process, navigating legalities, convincing distributors and grocery stores; That’s hard. Then tying all the details together into a coherent and easy to find object and actually launching it; that’s finishing, almost no one does that.

Thinking about making some art is easy. Hell, it’s even fun. In fact, it’s addicting to enjoy the imagined version of your self as a person who makes/draws/writes/does. But, getting out a pencil and doing sketches, with effort and a critical eye; that’s hard and humbling. Drawing/writing/making/doing art every single day, with deliberate self expanding practice, again and again and again until you edge closer to the artist version of yourself that you had always imagined; almost no one does that.

People who finish add immense value to the world.