PERSIST: In Praise of the Creative Spirit in a World Gone Mad with Commerce

A few weeks ago, I received a copy of the book titled: PERSIST: In Praise of the Creative Spirit in a World Gone Mad with Commerce.  Peter Clothier is an author with impressive credentials: two novels, two poetry books, a David Hockney monograph, articles and art reviews.  Not to mention he served as an educator and the art school dean at USC, Otis Art Institute and Loyola Marymount University.  Obviously a well-rounded academic and writer, I was pleased to dive into the book.

The book is a collection of well-articulated essays full of life experience.  For that reason alone, I decided that one blog entry about the entire book would not be sufficient.  This is the first entry in a series.

Let’s start with the THE BIG LIE:  “..the mental formulation we invent to stand between our creative impulse and its fulfillment…”    In this essay, Clothier describes the moment he realized the barriers he built around writing.  It’s the out of balance feeling for a creative type or the moment the art tank becomes empty.   At some point it’s time to refuel, readjust and organize your priorities to what is most important: the art.  For Clothier it happened at the Hollywood Holiday Inn and for me in a cubicle as a young midwestern cable ad sales person wondering how the hell I was going to make my new quotas. My wheels were spinning while making no traction.

Clothier’s essay REACHING PEOPLE points out that “…the most powerful weapon in their (referring to students) creative arsenal: the mind.”   A similar point that I make to graduate students is to slow down and work on quality over quantity.  How do you do that?  By using your mind to analyze, critically think, observe and make clear decisions.  Indeed this transcends to marketing and I agree with Clothier’s statement: “The gallery-museum complex sounds a bit like the military-industrial complex that has a stranglehold on the national economy and the policies that determine the direction of this country.”  Anyone up for some meditation?

As an artist, I’ve come to realize that I can’t control the gallery world.

Do the art and move forward.

2 thoughts on “PERSIST: In Praise of the Creative Spirit in a World Gone Mad with Commerce

  1. Thanks for the thoughtful attention to my book. It’s much appreciated. I’m doing a series of talks about it, and have had wonderful response from diverse audiences. Any ideas for venues?

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