Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh


Idea: some school somewhere should use as its slogan "Be Not-Dumb!"

Or, if the ad is allowed to swear, maybe a good slogan would be "Go from I know shit to I know my shit."

I'm trying to learn more, is the thing. I'm working on learning. I know, lifelong process, we never stop learning, all that, but it's probably better for me to think of the process like training a muscle. Mentally, I need to stretch.

WE ALWAYS DO. We always should.

I'll try to explain without platitudes. I was at an art show a week ago, part of Portland's collective art show First Thursday. (Durst Thursday is something else.) I know the gallery curators, Kaebel and Merrick; they're good people and they put together good shows, making strong use of a tiny space. They're very comic art-friendly: the gallery is named Sequential Art, after all. Comic art is a deeply malleable form of art-making and story-telling: "you can do anything" is not just a slogan, but a possibility. And Portland is happily full of artists trying to see how much of everything they can do with their comic art, and with art in general. I get excited.

I also get worried that my reaction to the art, there and at any other gallery, will be like Chris Farley's in "The Chris Farley Show." Where his reaction was always shallow ("That was cool"), where he was always self-conscious and awkward about it, where he'd berate himself ("Stupid! Stupid!").

I get worried that my reaction will be not-smart.

In this particular case, I got a little concerned (not the same thing as worried) that I was hanging out at the debut of this month's Sequential Art show, of sketches and paintings by an artist who goes by the name "itsajackal" (link Not Safe For Work -- there, you're warned) uncomfortably long and mainly due to the art featuring very attractive women, un- or scantily-clad. Was I appreciating the nudity more than the art? (I tried to keep my sense of humor about that. Some of the art has the models dressed like nuns, so I kept thinking of the Good Omens line "He'd seen a Ken Russell film once. There had been nuns in it. There didn't seem to be any of that sort of thing going on, but no smoke without fire and so on.")

Cue me maybe trying too hard to be SMRT, excuse me, smart at this show. Or at least feeling like I'm trying too hard. I probably did not seem to be "trying too hard" to anyone else there (he said, well after the fact to try to make himself feel better, even if it is probably the truth). I briefly spoke with the artist, asking about how he works, and how he's glad that digital photography allows him to take and keep lots of photos: maybe some picture he'd otherwise have discarded might later be the basis for some other sketch or painting. I told him I particularly liked four pieces of playing card art he's done; he smiled, said "I just have 48 cards to go," and explained that he'd originally thought of doing a tarot card set but realized the amount of research and planning he'd need to do would be daunting. Lesson from my past as a reporter: It's not that hard to ask a question that gets an informative answer! That's right, I used to ask questions professionally. It's a skill I have.

Sometimes I'm willing to put a spotlight on my insecurities. Acknowledge them. Maybe make it easier to deal with/get past them. Because letting those insecurities keep me from learning something is NOT-SMART.

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