Vintage Playbill for Oklahoma
As 2016 draws to a close (thank God!), instead of dwelling on all the awful events of the past 365 days, I’m searching for new ways to ignite my creative passion, find joy in side projects, and create abundance through my abilities. Sounds lofty right? Well, it really all goes back to my Pratt MFA thesis I recently blogged about after the election.
Martha Graham (above).
So what does this have to do with Oklahoma!? Over the weekend, I stumbled across on Instagram post from the Ace Hotel of a page from Agnes de Mille’s biography of Martha Graham. For those who don’t know, Martha Graham was a LEGENDARY dancer and choreographer who’s artistry is compared to that of Frank Lloyd Wright and Picasso for her contribution to the arts. In the passage, Agnes de Mille had recently found wild success for her work for Oklahoma!, a new musical that became an overnight success. But de Mille wasn’t satisfied as she felt like she’d done better work before that never reached the same success or acclaim.
de Mille states to Graham,
“I had a burning desire to be excellent,
but no faith that I could be”
In response, Graham gives the most amazing advice, which certainly speaks to me as a designer, but is applicable to artists in all mediums. Graham says,
“There is a vitality,
a life force,
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.
And If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
how good it is
nor how valuable it is
nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly
to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.
Keep the channel open…
No artist is pleased…
There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes “us” MORE alive than the others.”
( – a letter to Agnes De Mille-)
Amazing right?? The Instagram post (below) literally stopped me in my tracks. I struggle constantly with a feeling of not being “good enough,” or not having an idea that’s original enough. So much so that I typically don’t start anything at all. I’m the one blocking my “channel” .. the only thing (or person) standing in my way is me!
So that’s the plan for 2017, to keep my channel open. Create abundance with my abilities, and return to a state of joy through exploration, making and sharing my work. I hope you’ll join me on my journey!