Tag Archives: David Bowie

Taking Risks in Your Artwork

Different people have different thresholds for risk-taking. Some find it easy to dive off a cliff into the unknown, while others hesitate before diving, and still others never take the leap. But there is a lot of truth in the axiom: “No risk, no reward”.

David Bowie makes the case for taking risks with one’s artwork in this brief interview:

Someone said to me once that if you are willing to jump off the creative cliff into the unknown, you will spend some time in free-fall, terrified at what you have just done, certain that you will crash and burn. But it’s important to remember that you will probably sprout some wings on the way down, which will ease your passage and provide you with a successful  landing. This has proven to be true for me most of the times when I have taken the greatest risks in my work.

I have recently started photographing people in silhouette, something I have never done before. It requires using the camera settings in a very different way than I am used to, and assessing the scene in front of me completely differently, too. It’s aggravating, scary, and exciting all at once. I am impatient to get great results right away, which almost never happens when I start something new. That lack of immediate success increases my level of frustration. But working this way has pushed me out of a comfort zone that I hadn’t even known I was in. And something new will come out of it that I otherwise would never have done.

Taking risks + being uncomfortable = Totally worth it

Thank You, Prince

Yet another genius of popular music has died. The fact that Prince and David Bowie died within months of each other does not feel random to me. Two people who lived and breathed their art, always seeking for different ways to express themselves, both of whom marched to their own beat and who died far too young.

Photograph by Planton Antoniou

Photograph by Planton Antoniou

The New Yorker magazine published an article that outlined some of the many reasons for why Prince was so respected by his peers and fans alike.

And here is an excerpt from an interview Prince did with Jim Walsh from the Minneapolis Post:

“I am music. I feel music. When I walk around, I hear brand new things. You’re almost cursed. You’re not even (its maker), you’re just there to bring it forth. You know, ‘Can’t I go to sleep?’ No. You can’t. But OK, now you can. And you go to sleep, and you don’t hear it, and then you’re lonely. No one wants to be on Earth alone.”

 He spoke for all artists with those words.

Walsh wrote, “…that’s what we mourn today — the loss of an eternal seeker, which all great artists are at heart.” Our world is left less colorful, less vibrant, and diminished by his passing.

Thank you, Prince, for all the gifts you gave us.

Dear David Bowie…

Dear David Bowie,

You have been on my mind a lot since you passed away two weeks ago. Not that you have ever been off my radar, but the event of your death has caused me to ask myself why I will miss you so much, now that you are gone. The author and journalist Charles Shaar Murray was quoted in the obituary that The Economist ran in its January 14, 2016 issue as saying: “I can think of no other rock artist whose next album is always the one I’m most looking forward to hearing.”

And that sums it up in a nutshell for me. You were predictable in your unpredictability. I never quite knew what you would do next, and that sense of anticipation- of not knowing what was around the corner- was exhilarating. Whether it was in the music itself or the way you dressed and presented yourself to the world, there was always a feeling that you had discovered something before the rest of us and encouraged us to explore it, too.

Even your voice was unpredictable. It was unexpectedly powerful, yet it would quaver. As a friend of mine so brilliantly put it, your voice was “so striking because of the contrasting qualities of fierce self-assurance and bristling vulnerability.” I sometimes would think that it wasn’t quite in tune, but then it was. Where would it go next? I loved that I never quite knew the answer to that.

You were an artist who epitomized the idea that the best of art is based on a substantial foundation of knowledge and experience that is invisible to the rest of us, but which is necessary to produce your work. Always seeking, always curious, always telling us that it is normal to be different.

I will really miss you, Mr. Bowie. I’m so glad that you spent as much time as you did on earth.

Thank you for your art,

Jane Alden Stevens