You’re An Artist When You Say You Are.

By November 14, 2014Blog
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I’ve been running around between Los Angeles, New York, Scotland, England & Iceland, helping Allan Amato make a documentary about the creative process and living an artistic life. After enough time clocked helping out, Allan dubbed me co-producer and convinced me to come help make the movie more or less full-time.  (In between running around I’ve also been working on secret art/music projects– shhh.)

It’s been kind of amazing traveling, juggling multiple hats– (singer! producer! editor! musician! marketer! all-the-things-er!)– and noticing that the busier we got, the more time we found to do crazy side art projects. (The old adage, “if you want to get something done, ask a busy person?” TOTALLY TRUE.)

One of those crazy side projects we did was go to Hudson, New York, and film Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova interview Amanda Palmer about her new book, The Art of Asking.

(Here’s a shot I took of Allan filming Amanda + Maria chatting about life, the universe, and everything.)

 

 

After filming the interview, we called up some of Allan’s friends and some of my friends in Glasgow, London & Reykjavik, and asked if they wouldn’t mind holding up some signs on video. Then we holed up in our friend Indíana’s place in Iceland (who wonderfully is featured in one of the passages in the book) and I spent a couple days painstakingly editing bits and scraps of video, while Allan waved pompoms and made occasional editing suggestions.

This is the end result:

 

The book itself is wonderful.  It’s honest, and brave, and explores the more complicated parts of making art, legitimacy, and giving yourself permission to ask for help. (Much like the super-popular TED talk Amanda did on the same topic.)

I stayed up till five in the morning reading it on a couch in Reykjavik, foregoing sleep in favor of combing through the intricate art tapestry Amanda has woven out of her life. It’s liberating to see another person lay bare their fears about being as an artist– and then doing it anyway. In a way, so much of the wisdom Amanda has to offer is hard-earned– it reminds me of an exchange on a recent episode of Doctor Who, where the companion says to her boyfriend, “When did you get so wise?” to which he responds, “same as anyone else. I had a bad day.”

Amanda doesn’t pull any punches describing her bad days, good days, and everything in-between, painting a picture of each lesson learned. Very few corners of her life are left unexamined. She offers them up to the reader nakedly, using them to illustrate what it looks like when you trust the people in your life to catch you.

And then, leading by example, she shows you how to gracefully allow yourself fall into their arms.

This book deeply moved me, and I strongly encourage you to watch the trailer, read some excerpts, and just buy the thing. It’s a wonderful quilt of stories that adds to the lexicon of what it means to be an artist, and a human training to be fearless.

You can buy the book this week at any of the links on Amanda’s site, or on Amazon.