Last screening: Federico Fellini, I’m a big liar. Documentary about Fellini and his films. He speaks of being influenced by Picasso throughout his life. I would say that everyone was. Perhaps the most potent, consistent, influential artist of the last century. For me I always keep his books around, always carry a bag of inspiration with me to the studio and along with ten or so cds I love in that moment are always a few Picasso picture books. If I need something that I cannot find in myself or if I wish to communicate something to one of the musicians I will open up the Picasso book and look at a few pages of his paintings. That usually does the trick. In the paintings of Picasso we see the infinite potential of ourselves as the artist; you don’t take the easy way out so readily. And you don’t find yourself so immediately settling for the norm, or for the expected. it easily translates to music or film, this underlying sensibility; for me at least, it does. A quick glance at one of his paintings will make me question the song, change chords, transpose the key, switch to a different time signature; just because of something I’ve seen in his work. Not a lot of painters do this for me. Filmmakers more. what is painting? But just paint on canvas? But it has an air of something so much grander? Life changing, life affirming, life creating…. but its just a painting. And one could say the same thing about music. its just notes and rhythm. But in music are these little worlds. Infinite worlds. when our art transcends the mere expression of the individual, when the expression of the individual becomes transparent, disappears entirely, then we’re onto something. then we’re making great art. grand art. something bigger.
The fellini films did that on occasion. the woody Allen films did not. You never lose the fact that woody is right there creating what you are seeing. Three steps beyond the camera. Bergman did it. Spielberg does it. in schnindlers list you never think about the writer director even for a moment. You find yourself immediately thrown into this alternate universe, this world all on its own, and for a brief three hours it is all that exists to the conscious mind. Some say that certain artists are just too big, too larger than life to allow the work to over shadow them, like with woody Allen. Their personality ios always going to come out through the work. Or with fellini as well. you always know your watching fellini. Pink Floyd did that. in their middle period. Their work certainly transcended any one of them as individuals. Or as a group. it stood alone. apart from them as people so to speak…. unlike say the work of Dylan or Lennon in his 70 to 75 period when he was just using his music as a means of self-therapy. Which is cool too. which is where I’ve been at the last few years. But take dark side of the moon, where its just this masterpiece that transcends the whole group…. like it came from outersppace or something or led zeppelin IV, or houses of the holy, or physical graffiti. Just these monoliths floating in space….
I would like to do that as an artist. the new new new CD that we have begun preproduction on now… that is how I would like it to be. bigger than we are. not so personal. Not personal at all. but something that transcends the artists, that transcends the creators. The trick is to step out of one’s self I assume. Fellini said, “At first I start out directing a film. And then at some point the film starts directing me.” this was huge for me to hear this from another artist. I mean, as artists we know this. this is the way it is for us. I assume for everyone who creates. This is the nature of good art. but whereas with my work up until this point it has always been about me. its always been about “I.” “I’m” into this now. “I” have learned this. “I” like this. “I” think this is cool. “I”want to do this. the albums have always been about “I’ve been on these adventures and this is the story of those adventures…
I know this. I can objectify enough… now… to see this. But as when you think of great opera, you think of a great opera… not necessarily the composer as much as the great opera. The work by itself. So how to step away from one’s self enough to create great work outside of one’s self. That is the challenge for the self-obsessed artist….