A whole new world,
(Don’t you dare close your eyes.)
A hundred thousand things to see…
(Hold your breath, it gets better…)
I’m like a shooting star,
I’ve come so far,
I can’t go back to where I used to be.
The two tiny japanese girls belted that Disney love ballad like Celine Dion.
…if she was both drunk and tone-deaf.
They were terrible.
…and not just “untrained” terrible.
They were so bad that, if not for the karaoke backing-track and the memorable lyrics, their rendition would have been completely unrecognizable.
But they brought the house down. The crowd at the karaoke bar loved them. Most importantly, the tiny singers were loving every minute of it.
That got me thinking about how old and grumpy we “serious artists” can get.
Is it possible for a serious artist to regain the ignorant bliss of the karaoke bar?
…or maybe they did but they were just having too much fun to care.
Either way, their singing voices were louder than the voices of their inner-critics.
But if you’re a serious artist, you listen closely to your inner-critic.
It lets you know what you don’t know.
Your inner-critic is essential to your artistic growth.
…until it starts lying to you.
The Critic Wants To Be In-Charge.
But what if you don’t interrupt your inner-critic?
Well, eventually, your inner-critic will bump into your inner-fears at a company mixer and after commiserating over wine and cheese, they’ll decide that you’re unfit to lead.
Then they’ll gang up on you and fill your head with lies.
Their goal is to get you so frustrated and depressed that you give them control of the whole operation.
And if you put your inner-critic in charge, you’ll live in fear, you’ll never take risks and you’ll consider giving up.
And every time you discover something you don’t know, your inner-critic will condemn you:
“I’ll never be good enough.”
…and that’s how we get old and grumpy.
Spoiled by seriousness.
Why So Serious?
There are people who believe that “art is meant to be fun” and that’s all.
To them, art is karaoke. Art is just play time.
I’m glad they’re having fun. As I’ve said before: Art is a discipline, not a punishment.
…but I’ve never met one successful professional who thinks that art is always fun, all the time.
I understand how tempting it is to just completely tune-out the inner-critic.
But if you do that, it’s back to the karaoke bar.
So how do you remain a serious artist but keep the inner-critic under control?
You master the art of serious fun.
Ignorance Is Bliss?
These guys aren’t exactly karaoke artists.
They’re masters of the craft.
They haven’t tuned-out the inner-critic and yet they never stopped having fun.
…and they’re anything but old and grumpy.
You get them talking about art and they start acting like those tiny girls at the karaoke bar. It’s true. I’ve met most of them in person. I’ve seen it happen.
So what is the difference between these serious artists and those who succumb to the tyranny of the inner-critic?
These living legends are inspired by their own ignorance, not intimidated by it.
When the inner-critic points out something they don’t know – they celebrate.
The discovery of something new creates a chain-reaction of curiosity.
Here’s a personal example: Each of these guys has, at some point, expressed interest in my art, my site and my life. They asked me questions. They asked my opinion about the topic! With Bill and Paul, I’ve had marathon conversations about the craft. Living legends – just talking my ear off about composition or edge control or whatever..
The only reason they would even give me the time of day is if they love to know about things they don’t know about. Even when it’s just some young goofball with a beard and a blog (that’s me).
And the vibe, my friends. The vibe. These dudes are so positive… …so passionate.
Glenn Keane, Paul Lasaine, Bill Perkins and James Gurney have all mastered the art of serious fun.
Not karaoke but not old and grumpy.
They have the inner-critic under control.
Inspired By Ignorance:
So, the next time your inner-critic starts nagging you for a promotion you say “no” and remind it that it’s lucky to have a job at all.
And then tell it get back to work.
When it points out all the stuff you don’t know, start celebrating because you’ve just discovered…
(Yep. I’m about to go there…)
A whole new world,
(Every turn a surprise…)
With new horizons to pursue…
(Sorry. I tried to resist, honestly…)
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Have you put your inner-critic in charge? Tell us what you’re going to do about that…