Drawing for Fun (or humanity)

For the past several years as my frustration with CD’s in sandy vehicles has boiled over I’ve been listening to a lot more public radio. Last weekend as I tracked back an inspiring interview with Mo Willems entitled “Getting Adults to Draw” I came across a relatively new addition to the Science Friday web presence, http://www.sciencefriday.com/arts “the intersection of science and the arts.” This sort of initiative is something I’m especially interested in as a video artist with an ongoing exhibition at a natural history museum looking to further explore opportunities in this area.

One of Science Fridays latest programs in the arts vein is an epic roundtable featuring Werner Herzog, Cormac McCarthy, and Lawrence Krauss (listen here). My first exposure to Herzog was Aguirre, the Wrath of God, my time-based media instructor at UF Pat Pagano showed it to our class to illustrate that narrative doesn’t constantly have to move at breakneck speed. I forget if this was before or after we watched Run Lola Run. I’m not as familiar with the work of the other two speakers Cormac McCarthy being the novelist behind No Country for Old Men and Lawrence Krauss a renowned theoretical physicist. In a funny, almost contradictory way the conversation goes from the fragile, temporary nature of the human species to discussing cave paintings that were thousand year collaborations and the hypothesis that formal arts training may have existed 30,000 years ago. Herzog’s latest 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams probably goes into even more detail about these topics.

While listening to these incredibly talented individuals I was reminded that most of the people we look up to are themselves students of everything, looking to even humble pursuits for knowledge and inspiration. While we all have a certain amount of curiousity and fascination most positive success comes from an almost naïve or reckless inclination to just try things all the while failing far forward. I think it was Kelly Slater who said in a recent ad campaign that he wants to surf like everything he’s ever seen.

Discovering this amazing program while going back to find the aforementioned Mo Willems interview which had inspired me and by proxy my family to sit down for several hours and draw just for fun a couple months ago was beautiful providence. This interview emphasized that no one stops playing basketball when they realize they aren’t going to the NBA and he asked why people often stop drawing or doodling as adults. For one night drawing was an engaging social activity without any concern for qualitative judgment. It was liberating for me as I hadn’t drawn for so long. Now if I could only bring that same mindset to my surfing.

Below I’ve shared the products of that night, Mo Willems also has some fun stuff drawn in the same spirit at his blog. I especially like his post “Dinner doodles (More commuting penguins)…” Public radio has been pretty influential for me these past few years. In addition to this beautiful Ani Difranco set from Morning Becomes Eclectic the two previous shows round out my NPR and affiliate programming favorites and figure into my all time favorite internet content as well.

Family drawing night:

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