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Sol LeWitt’s Advice to Eva Hesse: Don’t Worry About Cool, Make Your Own Uncool | gwarlingo
"The unromantic truth is that being an artist in any field is hard work. Because artists need a lot of time alone in order to create, they wrestle with loneliness and insecurity. They face continual self-doubt, as well as the criticism of others. Many artists work with no financial safety net or healthcare. Those who do have some financial stability often work day jobs that drain precious time and energy from their creative work."

"Making space and time to create without interruption is difficult but essential. Our competitive culture rarely rewards stillness and imagination. From childhood, we are programmed to stop day dreaming and told to be constructive and busy instead."

"Artist Sol LeWitt understood fear and the importance of doing better than anyone.

In 1960 he met Eva Hesse, and the two artists formed a decade-long friendship. As Stephanie Buhmann details, “despite superficial disparities (LeWitt’s oeuvre is usually thought of as idea-driven while Hesse’s works reflect the opposite: intimacy, personal gesture, and physical sensuality),” the two artists shared a lot in common. “While Hesse drew inspiration from Minimalist aesthetics and the conceptual clarity that characterized LeWitt’s work, LeWitt respected Hesse’s devotion to the trace of the human hand in art.”"

The letter:
Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that.

You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom’s new things at Lucy’s. They are impressive – especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he’ll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.

My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64th St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there.

Much love to you both.

Sol
sollewitt  evahasse  chuckclose  gwarlingo  michellealdredge  2011  art  artists  glvo  work  doing  making  makersschedule  childhood  creativity  time  focus  iraglass  stephaniebuhmann  insecutiry  loneliness  self-doubt  howwework  criticism  miltonglaser  canon  1965  inspiration  letters  correspondence  motivation  psychology 
february 2013 by robertogreco
What does it take to become an expert at anything? - Barking up the wrong tree
"It's quantity and quality. You need tons of time spent training but it has to be the right kind of practice. Just showing up is not enough, you need to continually challenge yourself with the right kind of effort. "Deliberate Practice" is a specifically defined term. It involves goal setting, quick feedback, and countless drills to improve skills with an eye on mastery. It is not "just showing up" and, plain and simple, it's not fun."

* You want practice to be as close to the real challenge as possible. Want to be a boxer? Hitting the bag is not enough. You need to be in a ring, against opponents, like a real match.

* Don't be passive. Testing yourself is far better than reviewing.

* Practice is not just repetition. Be ruthlessly critical and keep trying to improve on the constituent elements of the skill.

* Alone time. Top experts are more likely to be introverts…"

"Have Grit… Find a Great Mentor… Focus on the Negative… Focus on Improvement… Fast Feedback… It's Worth It"
persistence  experts  grit  correction  repetition  imitation  demonstration  explanation  mentors  mindset  mistakes  cv  perfectionism  mastery  skillbuilding  introverts  education  deschooling  unschooling  glvo  prototyping  howwelearn  feedback  learning  practice  via:tealtan  thisandthat  2012  expertise  mentoring  improvement  perseverence  makerstime  makertime  makersschedule 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Keynote by Sumana Harihareswara - Open Source Bridge wiki
“It can be pretty tough to decide that free is better than safe.”

"When you do outreach, help these kids fight their parents. And of course that's a bit strong -- we don't actually want fights. We want to help kids persuade their parents that we're legit and that this hobby is worthwhile."

"Providing random low-key social time is important ... and it's worthwhile to work towards diversity in the participants, so that girl can tell her mom, yes, there will be other girls there.”

“Empowerment is like turtles, it goes all the way down.”

“maybe you can start by giving them a tiny, tiny task that they can start with. That first free taste. Manager time versus maker time…”

“I'm asking you for the kind of hospitality that my parents showed new arrivals, sometimes on zero notice.”

"[T]his work of hospitality, of disciplined empathy, is how we get to a more perfect union."
hobbies  wikipedia  meaningmaking  meaning  permission  soacesofpermission  socialtime  low-keysocialtime  openstudio  cv  empowerment  risktaking  risk  safety  safe  society  deschooling  unschooling  freedom  gender  girls  culture  hospitality  makertime  2012  community  welcome  empathy  teaching  opensource  learning  sumanaharihareswara  makerstime  makersschedule 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Workplace experiments: A month to yourself - (37signals)
"Some companies are famous for their 20% time where employees get 1/5th of their time to work on their own projects. In spirit I like this idea, but usually it’s executed by carving out a day here or a day there – or every Friday, for example – to work on your own projects.

But all time isn’t equal. I’d take 5 days in a row over 5 days spread out over 5 weeks. So our theory is that we’ll see better results when people have a long stretch of uninterrupted time. A month includes time to think, not just time to squeeze in some personal work around the edges."
uninterruptedtime  timeoff  creativity  attention  howwework  howwecreate  glvo  startups  rework  sabbatical  makerstime  interruption  interruptions  2012  yearoff2  yearoff  distraction  time  google20%  makertime  makersschedule 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule
"When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker's schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it."
scheduling  management  administration  leadership  creativity  organization  meetings  paulgraham  timemanagement  business  culture  software  productivity  programming  collaboration  work  development  time  schedules  makertime  makerstime  makersschedule 
july 2009 by robertogreco

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