Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hunger and creativity

There are any number of theories out there as to why the perception exists that artists are less creative now than they were "back in the day". You know, less remakes, less blatant homage, etc. I think there truth to any of a number of them

I've got a theory that I've not heard thrown out, but I think is significant.

Basically, there's less hunger for art out there.

Largely that's a good thing! I wouldn't trade back for the "good ol' days" even if I could.

But back in those "good ol' days" a person knew how to want to see and hear thing things, experience things.

I love The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966. It's an amazingly brilliant performance and I'm glad to have heard it. But, yes, I do have some nostalgia for the time when I read about that performance and how it sounded in my head.

Richard Harland Smith has been writing a number of interesting posts at Movie Morlocks that have put me in mind of this. I'll point specifically to I wonder and Long story short.

In the first, he writes, "I have a history of wondering. My list of Must-See/Can’t Find Movies is much shorter now but it used to be hella long, as the kids say. I came of age in the 1970s, well before the advent of home video or these new fangled dee-vee-dees. Back then, you found out about movies not from websites or cross marketing but from print, from film magazines and film books."

I grew up before those "new fangled dee-vee-dees" myself, and also, like him, before home video at all. Everything I saw was based on whether it may come on TV and if it did whether I'd be able to watch it at that point. More rarely was the possibility that some things could be re-released or shown at a repertory screening and that I'd be able to get into town - grew up in yon 'burbs, y'see - to see it. That was a lot of ifs, which led to a lot of things I read about or heard about that I'd never see. I'd find reviews, sometimes long, sometimes short, sometimes with decent descriptions, occasionally with images from the movie or related screenshots, but that was hardly guaranteed.

That kind of shit can really fire up the imagination of a young lad.

Recently, I found myself looking at, but not purchasing, The GrimJack Omnibus, Vol. 1 by John Ostrander and Timothy Truman. I was fired up for days thinking about the contents of that.

Contents, I must say, I had already read, but didn't have access to at that moment, so my thoughts were still in part a combination of memory and imagination, but they were vivid and excited and made me wants to create.

As it happens it also made me want to read the book, which I then broke down and did.

And let me not be the person who seems to be suggesting one not read "GrimJack", because I highly recommend it, and I enjoyed that experience quite thoroughly as well. Perhaps, on some level, because I'd built up that hunger first.

More importantly, what do I crave that will make me want to create now?

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