Tuesday, October 5

What the Goal Is

Detail of my painting of a Pink Credenza.
Terry Gross interviewed John Stewart for the occasion of his new The Daily Show book, Earth. The interview was recorded in front of a live audience in NY. It wasn't as personal as Terry's typical confessional-like interviews - John Stewart hamming it up for the crowd. But there were some great pieces later, including the excerpt below. It's really great advice about becoming something. And it might even be better advice for artists:
John Stewart: You know, I never in my career have ever thought about what the goal was. The goal was always to be better than I was at the present time at what I was doing. As a stand-up, my break in stand-up was not getting on Letterman. My break in stand-up was - there's a place called the Comedy Cellar in the Village on MacDougal Street, and a great group of guys that were together in those day performing. And they put me on every night at 2 AM.  I was the last guy on every night. And not on the weekends, because I wasnt good enough for weekend. So, Sunday night through Thursday night, it was me, and drunk Dutch tourists in a basement in the Village and I would perform for the plate of humus that would be served to me. Because above the Comedy Cellar is a Middle Eastern restaurant because, of course. And I went on every night and I learned the difference between impersonating a comedian and being a comedian. And that was my break, was learning how to be authentic. Not to the audience but to myself. I developed a baseline of confidence and also insecurity. I knew how bad I was and I knew how good I was. And that is what helped me through a lot of the ups and downs as we went along.
A.O. Scott (via The Hollywood Ham)
Authenticity is really important. If I could say there has been only one success of mine with painting, it has been identifying dishonestly. I'm not sure if I've yet solved those inconsistencies. That in itself could take a career.

UPDATED: Semi-Related: I wish A.O. Scott was an art critic. Or, that someone would write art reviews the way he looks at movies: intelligently, critically and yet culturally broad. Maybe injecting a little lightheartedness into criticism like John Stewart with news. What critic can be so positive and blatantly into all spectrum's of class: "My favorite movie of 2009 has to be Crank: High Voltage....I can just tell that it's gonna be good. The trailer is a flawless display of pop art. Plus, Statham is a bad ass."

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