The Artist As Art

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Friends and I regularly run movies and videos for each other online, a wonderful tradition it only took a pandemic for us to devise. We recently watched The Horse’s Mouth, a film based on a well-regarded book, starring Alec Guinness as an artist who destroys as much as he creates. At first it seems to be a relatively standard comedy, but as I sat with it, I felt it was more like Spinal Tap and similar movies – a comedy that hits close to reality. The artist Guinness portrays, Gully Jimson, is a a rambling storm of pathologies, who fascinates and repells at the same time – everyone seems to have a radically different opinion of the man.

The Artist As A Loutish Rorschach Blot as you will.

As Serdar, who introduced me to the film, noted, there doesn’t seem to be a market for stories of working artists. We seem to like our films to be about people who are wild or crazy. We may often see them as offensive like Mr. Jimson, but ultimately there’s something about our culture that accepts artists as talented a-holes. In the film, Mr. Jimson at best does a month in jail for threats, but is somehow accepted despite the fact one may question if his art is worth putting up with him.

But when we step back, our lives often contain many workman like artists and creators. We just pay attention to the annoying ones, and as they consume mental space, we forget everyone not being a bipedial emotional disaster. For every musical star posturing in their psychopathic delusions, I can easily think of ten of more talent and less need for treatment. Why do we ignore this?

First, I think that this is part of the Great Man theory that has infected our culture. We want to believe in a rule-breaking Ultratalent who transcends all boundaries to create great art. Certainly encouraging that viewpoint has fueled the rise of many artists and creatives and leaders, as well as the fall that always seems to come later. We create the idea of a Great Man.

Second, we are envious even if we may not admit it. We wish we were that person, who breaks rules and is awarded fame and money and sex and places in a museum. We want to believe it, so we both encourage it in others and feed the media our demands. We create the idea that maybe we can be like that – and should be.

Third, we believe each creator is unique and thus uniquely valuable. It is true everyone is unique, but that doesn’t mean there is superior value in that uniqueness. Because we may assume some ranting business leader is somehow unique, we assume he must be special. Sometime one is merely uniquely annoying. Yet we create the idea of value.

Fourth, we are distracted by spectacle. A posturing performer, an artist leaping atop a table and yelling at a convention, a start-up king burning millions gets attention. We want to enjoy the show, and writers and moviemakers will deliver that. We’ll create an interest in showing our dreams on sreen.

In the end, the reason we get these figures in media is we want them. Sadly, it means we miss out on the fascinating figures who may have not been drug off into rehab or melted down publicy. This is one of the reasons I adore movies and documentaries that go behind the scenes and into the less known – because often there’s far more there than a strutting rooster of a performer.

We get stories of these pathological artists as we created the delusions and the demand.

This is why, ultimately, The Horse’s Mouth fascinates me. This annoying, obsessive man (and a few others as bad as he) is a decent and passionate artist. But people worship him, or want his art, or tolerate him, believing there is something there. But is he worth it?

That’s probably the question, but except for one or two characters, Gully is surrounded by artists who’ve created their own idea of him.

Steven Savage

50 Shades Of Resume #11: The Doodle

Resume 11

Liagi Ramilo takes an interesting approach with her resume – making it look like something doodled on a piece of notebook paper, with her picture attached. It’s almost a reverse of the usual resumes people design, with carefully beveled lines and calculated fonts – she goes out of her way to make it look almost aggressively informal.

When I first saw this resume, I confess, it was unexpected – and that shock is part of the charm.  Some people think out of the box, she decided the box needed to be more casual and personalized.

Looking over this resume I see several things it has going for it:

  • It has marvelous personality, and paired with the picture, gives a sense of whimsy and informality. It’s almost comforting in its casualness.  The job search is a formalized affair, and she brings a welcome informality.
  • It still gets in all the things a good resume needs, but in a more casual sense. As you look it over, you see how much detail there is, and it speaks to real talent in design.
  • It’s also a good example of her design work in that she had to go out of the way to make it look informal and put in the right information.
  • The little doodles really sell it – it makes it look much more like what it’s supposed to – a piece of paper someone scribbled things on. Without them it really wouldn’t “sell” the design.
  • Including a picture adds a personal touch that works well with the informality – and it’s not a formal picture, which is appropriate.

Now a few issues with the resume:

  • This is definitely not a scannable resume – it’s something that probably has to be paired with a more formal resume.
  • The clever “doodle” look does come at the expense of readability – it’s not exactly the clearest resume in some areas, such as where the text crosses one of the blue lines. That might annoy some people.

I could see this resume being used as the basis of a portfolio – imagine several other pages of doodles with pictures of her other works, creating a portfolio with the casual theme. Such a themed portfolio would add power to the resume, and vice versa.

Steve’s Summary: If I got this resume, I’d really enjoy the fact I felt I got a glimpse into the personality of the artist, and appreciate the effort. I’d want a formal resume to scan or send to less creative people.

[“50 Shades of Resume” is an analysis of various interesting resumes to celebrate the launch of the second edition of my book “Fan To Pro” and to give our readers inspiration for their own unique creations.]

– Steven Savage

50 Shades Of Resume #8: The Random

Resume 8

Many resumes are piles of stuff, especially if they’re not organized right. Sid Santos (who is in the Cool Name club with me apparently), desired to do this deliberately by making his resume look like . . . a pile of things.

Yes, his resume looks like a post-it note, a napkin drawing, and a cup of coffee. They just happen to have his contact information and career information on it.  It’s a clever design.

This is actually a resume that, the more you look at it, the more you see got done. There’s skills and a personal image, contact info and job history, little details and extras. It just looks like something else!

So what stands out?

  • First of all this is artistically brilliant. He has a resume that looks like other things that don’t look like a resume – that come together to be a resume. It’s clever.
  • It’s a great display of artistic skill as well. He makes it look really. it shows raw skill as well as cleverness.
  • It’s got a fun feel too it. Because it looks like an informal pile of things, it has a sense of whimsy. That’s also comforting – and makes me feel he doesn’t take himself overly seriously.
  • The self-illustration adds a personal touch, rounding off the experience.
  • It’s extremely professional and shows this guy knows what he’s doing.
  • In a way, it’s sort of a resume as a small portfolio of skill.

Now, a few things to consider in this resume:

  • It’s not a standard, scan-able resume. It would have to be paired with a regular resume or used appropriately.
  • I’m not sure I’d break the software out of the skills description, but it does work well by allowing him to use yet another medium of portrayal.
  • There’s some unused space that might be a bit too much.

Steve’s Summary: This’d get my attention if I saw this resume, it shows a lot of effort and imagination. I might want a “typical” resume to hand to HR, but it’s pretty clear this guy is the real deal. I’d want to phone interview someone that gave me this.

[“50 Shades of Resume” is an analysis of various interesting resumes to celebrate the launch of the second edition of my book “Fan To Pro” and to give our readers inspiration for their own unique creations.]

– Steven Savage