Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Nonconformist will always be up and coming.

As I work on the many varied projects I am lucky to be a part of I have endless ideas about what to write about.  Mainly, I want to connect with the side of every artist, or most artists (not everyone, I have come to find out) that have a desire to collaborate and develop a fruitful symbiosis of artistic creation with other artists.  Lately, I have found myself running into the same idea more than once.  The nonconformist will always be up and coming.

One of my blessings and one of my curses is that I have a deep interest in several artistic areas, and I usually attack it with fervor enough to make it useful in a professional arena.  I am sure that many very creative people find themselves up against this "battle".  I love playing marimba, and it is more or less home base.  However, I find dulcimer and multi-percussion running closely behind marimba.  Then there are the areas of hand drums, composition, collaboration with dance, teaching, marketing and promotion, recording, glass percussion, chamber music, and the list could go further.  Welcome to the life of a percussionist...?  Right...?  But, there is that voice that is always whispering to us to fit a mold.

The university professor mold.  The marimba soloist mold.  The dance and improvisational mold.  The company director mold.  I have even found myself telling a student to pick two molds and run with those right now.  Is that what I really felt?  Or, was that what I felt while in school as well?  ...I think the answer is, no.  But, we are constantly asked to feel that way about our careers.  And for many people that is necessary, but the ones of us who don't fit the prescribed molds, nor want to, why are we always considered up and coming on the success monitor?  Firstly, the monitor is structured by a mold, and secondly, we are always energetically pushing to forge new paths and make ripples in the fabric of all artists around us, which throws off the monitor...I mean prescribed molds around us.

It is important to have molds, and we should always try to fit to some.  Trust me, it helps in your marketing ventures.  The general public, and quite a few folks who are artists themselves like molds, and see them as the defining feature of a successful artist.  I, however, would like to challenge all artists to look through the other end of the kaleidoscope and notice the artists who don't fit molds, those are the ones doing different things and expanding the opportunities for all of us in the future.

I have recently been described in various settings as someone who is "up and coming".  This, of course, prompted the current blog posting, or rather, gave it the push over the edge.  This is also something that is not bad, but it was a little surprising, and I have to take a step back each time it comes up and examine the whole situation.  I felt that I had arrived long ago, and have been doing many creative and "off the beaten path" artistic activities for some time now.  Basically, accurately not fitting any mold.

So my advice is to find your molds, overflow from them, and make a mess.

Sonic Inertia in 2007.  I choreographed, composed, and directed this piece...oh, and sometimes danced in it!  "1-e&-a; Right hand and feet together":

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