Thanks Andrei! (and jb)Thank you guys so much for listening to this overly huge podcast. I hope this answered most of your questions, I apologize if we didn't get to all of them, I will try to get to some of them in a few hours.
Again thank you for listening and participating, join us next friday for the grand unveiling of Genesis (V1) trailer.
Can you describe yourself when you began cardistry? Your thought processes. Were the ideas immediate; did they come to you as a brief flash of insight, a deep-seated impression that you had to give physical reality to? Or were they free-form floating images; something that you could feel, and almost grasp, but had to play around before it was made solid? If that seems unclear, a simpler way to put it might be "How immediate were your ideas?"
I ask this because in your Creativity article, you brought up that the difficulty in creating is not the generating of ideas but refining them. And that's a very important distinction.
All of us, as human beings, are infinitely unique and diverse, and therefore each have a "style" of our own. This comes from how we think, what we do, who we are influenced by, and so on an so forth. But not everyone displays that. Not everyone presents their original ideas to the world. And instead we get the general populace that regurgitates material created by others.
And it's a shame! Because it's choking off creativity, and killing that moment of joy at the discovery of an answer to a problem. Instead of spending the time and effort to explore the ideas within ourselves (because we all have this tendency to outsource), we turn to others for a quick fix, a magic pill answer. Instead of sitting down and playing with a deck of cards, we go to someone else and look at how THEY answered that problem. Therefore making everyone a copy of a copy of a copy.
This is a problem in any artistic venture.
So can you describe how you were when you began cardistry?
More importantly, can you describe your journey from imitating role models, to trusting yourself and letting that genuine self-expression flow from within you?
I think this is a very important answer to any artist out there looking for a sign. Where do you draw the line between learning from others, and separating with the pack? Do you follow the trail, or risk getting lost in the wilderness? And any answer would be greatly appreciated, wether it is included in the podcast or typed in this thread.
I think this is a great post.
I started like most others... with a DVD in "XCM" or "flourishing" as it was called 7 years ago. The creation process for me was a gradual journey.
Being heavily influenced by a someone who I highly respected and looked up to resulted in much imitation. I did it because I knew it was a path that was successful, but within a few years I realized that it wasn't my path... someone had walked it before me and I wanted to create my own. It was a long arduous process but I would be lying if I told you I came to the conclusion on my own. I was pushed away from the road I had so longed to continue. Eventually... I was welcomed back but by then... it was too late. I "not so kindly" parted ways and began to force myself to think differently. In technical terms, I dropped the bad habits of doing addicting moves, I started to formally practice and set goals for myself, most of the times, nearly impossible ones. When I set them, I alway fell short... which is why I launched them sky-high.
Everyone is different, nothing is further from the truth. I was mainly triggered by key phrases that coldly slapped me in the face. In a nutshell, I came to the realization that no matter how hard I tried to come up with variations far advanced beyond their respective creator, I would never surpass them... and back then, this was important fodder to feed my ego. I realized that practicing moves and surpassing the creator was the easy part. The amount of time spent in creating a move, debating on it's worth and level of practicality/impossibility, the time of perfecting it and sharing it was much more difficult then taking someone else's move and learning it. Think about it for a second, it really puts things in perspective. This made me appreciate artists and creators much more than their copies and imitations. Those very same artists are the people who put themselves out in the spotlight which may initially seem glamorous; however, it's one of the scariest places to reside in. It's the center of all criticism, negativity, and discouragement. It really tests your ability to listen to your heart and your dedication to the art-form.
As time went on, I created as much as I could, so much so, I began to forget the moves. I kept going. This eventually resulted in me breaking what I call the "creativity-barrier". It was no longer difficult to come up with moves/concepts/ideas, instead, the work would come as a diamond in the rough. It always differed, sometimes I dreamt about the moves, sometimes I would mentally picture them in action, and sometimes, I would arbitrarily stumble upon them. Everything I made, I would have to polish, refine, and repeat. This process helped me realize that only artists can distinguish gems in their infancy and the rest would only appreciate it on the market.
Creation is important but it shouldn't dictate nor be a factor by which a person should judge another. This is something that took me a very long time to understand and put in practice. Despite our Saturday Night Contests emphasizing creativity it's not an absolute essential. I appreciate a multitude of styles and try to incorporate and learn from everyone. I have a long ways to go and it took me seven long years to get my compass pointing in the right direction. Everyone has something new to offer.
Artists have their own faults too however. There's a neat concept of self-justification in which we as human beings tend to believe that our work, beliefs, ideas, culture, etc. is superior to others.
"I do things the way I do because I've always done them that way and will continue to do so.... this is what I believe ... because... it's me."
Adults often times fall into this way of thinking, they believe there's no more room to learn and progress because of their "infinite wisdom"... which may or may not be true; however, there's always room for improvement. No one is above that very simple concept.
Point being... this can easily be seen in our industry. Often times, artists will stick to performing ONLY what they create... and it's a shame. Nobody's work is 100% gem material, however; everyone can create at least one gem in a lifetime. Why not learn and take the best of all worlds to make oneself as versatile as possible?
In the future, I hope artists can take their guard down and perform other people's moves regardless of who they are and their status within the community. It's a collaborative process. As a result, we'd learn, progress, and propel our art-forms into the next dimension.
I hope this gave some insight on my journey, I've only just begun and I hope to share a lot more of it in the future. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer this question.