The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close – The New York Times

“I was talking to Paul Simon yesterday,” he said. “Did you see the piece in The Times that he’s going to retire?”

Three weeks earlier, Simon had released a new album, “Stranger to Stranger,” with its cover taken from a portrait that Close painted of the musician a few years back. Then, the day before I saw Close, Simon announced that the album would be his last. “I called him up, and I said, ‘Artists don’t retire,’ ” Close told me. “I think I talked him out of it. I said: ‘Don’t deny yourself this late stage, because the late stage can be very interesting. You know everybody hated late de Kooning, but it turned out to be great stuff. Late Picasso, nobody liked it, and it turned out to be great.’ ” Close reminded Simon that Matisse was unable to continue painting late in life. “Had Matisse not done the cutouts, we would not know who he was,” Close said. “Paul said, ‘I don’t have any ideas.’ I said: ‘Well, of course you don’t have any ideas. Sitting around waiting for an idea is the worst thing you can do. All ideas come out of the work itself.’ ”

Source: Wil S. Hylton, The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close – The New York Times


TED talks are lying to you –

Every element of Florida’s argument infuriated our future correspondent. Was he suggesting planned bohemias? Built by governments? To attract businesses? It all seemed like a comic exercise in human gullibility. As it happened, our correspondent in those days spent nearly all his time with the kinds of people who fit Richard Florida’s definition of the creative class: writers, musicians, and intellectuals. And Florida seemed to be suggesting that such people were valuable mainly for their contribution to a countercultural pantomime that lured or inspired business executives.

Thomas Frank, via TED talks are lying to you –

On the Road or in the Studio, Artist and Musician Stephen Chopek is Building a Thriving Career | The Jersey City Independent

In recent years, I’ve come to realize that passions come and go. The creative process requires devotion more than passion. The creative impulse is a gift that has been given to everyone — it’s our responsibility to foster and develop that gift. It requires a strong work ethic. We have a finite amount of time on earth and there are a finite number of hours in the day. Using our time wisely while we have it is the least we can do in exchange for this gift, and for the gift of life in general. Everyone has something to offer.

I practice Vipassana meditation on a daily basis. “Vipassana” is a Pali word derived from the Sanskrit language. It can be translated into English as “clear-seeing”, “clear-knowing”, or “insight.” The practice itself is one of the world’s most ancient meditation techniques, originally taught by Gautama Buddha. Vipassana medi[t]ation requires one to be equanimously aware of the present moment as it manifests itself in the breath and through bodily sensations. — Stephen Chopek (aka SodaCan)


The Top 5 Qualities of Productive Creatives (And How to Identify Them!) :: Tips :: The 99 Percent

By our lights, the
notion of “creativity” can’t be separated from the skills required for creative
execution. So our analysis of the characteristics crucial to creativity focuses
particularly on the skills that facilitate putting ideas into action.


Below, we outline five
key qualities of particularly productive creatives, followed by some
recommendations for how to uncover them in potential hires, co-workers, and

So what are the five? Communication skills, pro-activeness, problem-solving, curiosity, and risk-taking.

A river

I suggested, awhile back, how frustrating it can be to try to say anything new. More recently, I ran across this poem by Adam Zagajewski, and found myself encouraged:

    A RiverPoems from poems, songs
    from songs, paintings from paintings,
    always this friendly
    impregnation. On the other bank
    of the river, within range of being,
    soldiers are marching. A black army,
    a red army, a green army,
    the iron rainbow. In between, smooth
    water, an indifferent wave.

I have the sense of the generative nature of creativity, and the awareness that this nature is balanced against the forces of destruction, of inhumanity–forces which contain their own sinister kind of beauty. But what is this that comes between them? Emptiness, Mystery, Silence–which can give birth to phenomena of either kind but is always, itself, unchanged. This kind of clarity–which admits of no dogma–is why I come back to Zagajewski again and again.