Specializing in Cartography

“The first rule of geography is that everything is related to everything else. Today’s cartography reflects exactly that: It combines design, geography, anthropology, human impressions and ideas within spatial contexts. It’s a connector, an aggregator. And, increasingly, it’s a way of telling stories.”

— Chelsea Nestel

 

see also:

On Anxiety and Practice.

This article, shared recently by an internet friend, outlines three methods of coping with anxiety that closely align with my procedures for increasing artistic practice.

They are:

1. Do it badly

““Doing it badly”, without worrying about how it’s going to turn out, will not only make it much easier to begin, but you’ll also find that you’re completing tasks much more quickly than before. “

 

2. Wait to worry

“If something went wrong and you feel compelled to worry (because you think you screwed up), don’t do this immediately. Instead, postpone your worry – set aside 10 minutes each day during which you can worry about anything. If you do this, you’ll find that you won’t perceive the situation which triggered the initial anxiety to be as bothersome or worrisome when you come back to it later. And our thoughts actually decay very quickly if we don’t feed them with energy.”

 

3. Find a purpose in life by helping others.

“Being connected to people has regularly been shown to be one of the most potent buffers against poor mental health. The neurologist Viktor Frankl wrote: ‘For people who think there’s nothing to live for, nothing more to expect from life … the question is getting these people to realise that life is still expecting something from them.’”

The Books of Charles Dellshau

CD01

“In 1969, used furniture dealer Fred Washington bought 12 large discarded notebooks from a garbage collector, where they found a new home in his warehouse under a pile of dusty carpets. In 1969, art history student, Mary Jane Victor, was scouring through his bazaar of castaways when she came upon the mysterious works of a certain Charles Dellschau.”

CD02

“He had arrived in the United States at 25 years old from Hamburg in 1853 and documents show he lived in both California and Texas with his family, working as a butcher. After his retirement in 1899, he took to filling his days by filling notebooks with a visual journal of his youth. He called the first three books, Recollections and recounts a secret society of flight enthusiasts which met in California in the mid-19th century called the ‘Sonora Aero Club’.”

CD03

There’s more on the story and other incredible images at Messy Nessy, please take a look.

via SigerGallery

The Idea—the Origin of Everything

“Is the starting point of an animated film the time when the project is given the go-ahead and production begins? Is it at that point that you, as the animator, first go over your ideas for that story? No, that isn’t the starting point. Everything begins much earlier, perhaps before you even think of becoming an animator. The stories and original works—even initial project planning—are only triggers.

“Inspired by that trigger, what rushes forth from inside you is the world you have already drawn inside yourself, the many landscapes you have stored up, the thoughts and feelings that seek expression.

“When people speak of a beautiful sunset, do they hurriedly riffle through a book of photographs of sunsets or go in search of a sunset? No, you speak about the sunset by drawing on the many sunsets stored inside you—feelings deeply etched in the folds of your consciousness of the sunset you saw while carried on your mother’s back so long ago that the memory is nearly a dream; or the sunset-washed landscape you saw when, for the first time in your life, you were enchanted by the scene around you; or the sunsets you witnessed that were wrapped in loneliness, anguish, or warmth.

“You who want to become animators already have a lot of material for the stories you want to tell, the feelings you want to express, and the imaginary worlds you want to bring alive. At times these may be borrowed from a dream someone related, a fantasy, or an embarrassingly self-involved interior life. But everyone moves forward from this stage. In order for it not to remain merely egotistical, when you tell others about your dream you must turn it into a world unto itself. As you go through the process of sharpening your powers of imagination and technique, the material takes shape. If that shape is amorphous, you can start with a vague yearning. It all begins with having something that you want to express.

“Say a project has been decided on and you have been inspired by something. A certain sentiment, a slight sliver of emotion – whatever it is, it must be something you feel drawn to and that you want to depict. It cannot solely be something that others might find amusing, it must be something that you yourself would like to see. It is fine if, at times, the original starting point of a full-length feature film is the image of a girl tilting her head to the side.

“From within the confusion of your mind, you start to capture the hazy figure of what you want to express. And then you start to draw. It doesn’t matter if the story isn’t yet complete. The story will follow. Later still the characters take shape. You draw a picture that establishes the underlying tone for a specific world. Of course, what you have drawn will not be your final product. At times, your work may be rejected entirely. When I mentioned earlier that you must have the will to go to any length, this is what I meant. When you draw that first picture, it is only the beginning of an immense journey. This is the start of the preparation stage of the film.

“What kind of world, serious or comedic; what degree of distortion; what setting; what climate; what content; what period; whether there is one sun or three; what kinds of characters will appear; what is the main theme…? The answers to all of these questions gradually become clearer as you continue to draw. Don’t just follow a ready-made story. Rather, consider a possible development in the story, or whether a particular kind of character can be added. Make the tree trunk thicker, spread its branches further – or go to the tips of the small branches (this could be the starting point of the idea), and on to the leaves beyond as the branches grow and grow.

“Draw many pictures, as many as you can. Eventually a world is created. To create one world means to discard other inconsistent or clashing worlds. If something is very important to you, you can keep it carefully stored in your heart for use at another time. Those who have experienced an outpouring of an amazing number of pictures from inside themselves can feel it. They feel that the fragment of a picture they envisioned, the other trunk of a story that was thrown out while piecing together a narrative, the memory of pining for a girl, the knowledge about a subject gained as they delved deeply into a hobby – all of these play a role and become entwined into one thick strand. The scattered material within you has found its direction and started to flow.”

Hayao Miyazaki

 

The Idea—the Origin of Everything 1979

From Hayao Miyazaki:

“From within the confusion of your mind, you start to capture the hazy figure of what you want to express. And then you start to draw. It doesn’t matter if the story isn’t yet complete. The story will follow. Later still the characters take shape. You draw a picture that establishes the underlying tone for a specific world. Of course, what you have drawn will not be your final product. At times, your work may be rejected entirely. When I mentioned earlier that you must have the will to go to any length, this is what I meant. When you draw that first picture, it is only the beginning of an immense journey. This is the start of the preparation stage of the film.”

It’s worth reading here.

“Draw many pictures, as many as you can. Eventually a world is created. To create one world means to discard other inconsistent or clashing worlds. If something is very important to you, you can keep it carefully stored in your heart for use at another time. Those who have experienced an outpouring of an amazing number of pictures from inside themselves can feel it. They feel that the fragment of a picture they envisioned, the other trunk of a story that was thrown out while piecing together a narrative, the memory of pining for a girl, the knowledge about a subject gained as they delved deeply into a hobby – all of these play a role and become entwined into one thick strand. The scattered material within you has found its direction and started to flow.”

If I don’t do it, I’ll stop doing it.

Great interview with Laurie Anderson on reality, virtual reality, working practices and the election. Worth reading all of it really.

This on Philip Glass and daily work:

I’ve been playing with Phil a lot lately. It’s been really, really interesting and fun, really nice. I remember one particular thing, the summer before this we were playing Ravello. It was a hard day. We had traveled there. We rehearsed. We’d done the show. We’d gone out for an endless dinner. It was two in the morning and we came back. I had to leave for Rome in a couple of hours. I was just packing and doing stuff. I came up from the garden and he was there with [his girlfriend] Sari. They had just done two hours of yoga. I was like, “Phil, it’s four in the morning. Couldn’t you do it tomorrow?” He said, “No, I wouldn’t of done it today. I need to do it everyday. If I don’t do it, I’ll stop doing it.” He’s like that with music, too. He’s so disciplined. It’s amazing. I’ve known Phil for many decades. He’s always been like that. He’s dedicated. He puts the time in. He’s also massively, musically talented… he’s a genius, and a hard working genius.

 

“I think the enemy of creativity in the world today is that so much thinking is done for you. The environment is so full of television, party political broadcasts and advertising campaigns, you hardly need to do anything. We’re just drowning under manufactured fiction, which satisfies our need for fiction – you scarcely need to go and read a novel.”

“Cyril Connolly, the 50s critic and writer, said that the greatest enemy of creativity is the pram in the hall, but I think that was completely wrong. It was the enemy of a certain kind of dilettante life that he aspired to, the man of letters, but for the real novelist the pram in the hall is the greatest ally – it brings you up sharp and you realise what reality is all about. My children were a huge inspiration for me. Watching three young minds creating their separate worlds was a very enriching experience.”

–- JG Ballard (via austinkleon)

The Value of Literacy

“I generally have four or five books open around the house—I live alone; I can do this—and they are not books on the same subject. They don’t relate to each other in any particular way, and the ideas they present bounce off one another. And I like this effect. I also listen to audio-books, and I’ll go out for my morning walk with tapes from two very different audio-books, and let those ideas bounce off each other, simmer, reproduce in some odd way, so that I come up with ideas that I might not have come up with if I had simply stuck to one book until I was done with it and then gone and picked up another.”

Octavia Butler

(See also “This is how I read” and “the tyranny of belief in linear time.” (via robertogreco)