“Wealth is now defined, at least in part, by the ability to be offline whenever you want” Fernando Gros.
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Blog // Thoughts
December 31, 2012

My Wish For You In 2013

I recently had a conversation with a local music store owner. It was one of those pleasant moments when a routine commercial transaction crosses over into something more profound, more human. We started talking about our respective pasts, how we started in music and how we found ourselves where we are today. After a while […]

I recently had a conversation with a local music store owner. It was one of those pleasant moments when a routine commercial transaction crosses over into something more profound, more human.

We started talking about our respective pasts, how we started in music and how we found ourselves where we are today. After a while we got onto the topic of younger musicians and the challenges they now face.

The music store owner said his reply, when kids ask him about the music business, is to say – don’t do it, make music for fun, but have a day job.

Life Is Short And Day Jobs Make Them Shorter

Part of me always wants to reject that kind of advice. I want to scream and say no, go full time, give it everything you’ve got while you are still young.

But, the truth is I had a day job for a while, first in a hotel, then in a bank. Those were not wasted years. The experience taught me a lot about life, brought me into contact with people I otherwise would not have met and gave me a little bit of money to invest in gear I still use and further education I still draw upon.

In the end I left, because I had to. If a sense of calling wells up inside you, whether it’s a desire to make art or to change the world in some way, then you owe it to yourself (and those around you) to explore that. It might make sense to keep the day job for a while, but eventually you’ll have to make a choice.

And, as my Twitterfeed sadly reminds me, there are many people who face every Monday morning with resignation, like startled sheep bleating at the sunrise, surprised by and enslaved to a repeating pattern of life.

Growing Old In Employment

For my last film of 2012, I decided to rewatch Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary about the extraordinary fashion photographer who really defined the idea of photographing everyday street fashions. At the age of 83 Cunningham still rides his bicycle around New York, catching the latest looks on the street and often attends two or three events in one night to photograph New York Society at various events.

In some ways Bill Cunningham New York reminds me of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, based on the life of 85 year old Sushi Master, Sukiyabashi Jiro. Both have no desire to retire and have such a deep commitment to their work.

And, along similar lines, a book that came into our home at Christmas was Grace A Memoir, which is the autobiography of acclaimed fashion stylist and creative director for U.S. Vogue, Grace Coddington. At the age of 71 Coddington still holds her own in the youth-obsessed world of fashion.

These are three great stories of people who are not just growing old gracefully, they are growing old gainfully. They continue to work and are known and respected for the work they do. And, although they may be too humble to admit it, their work really is a kind of art.

My Wish For You In 2013

Pen and ink, canvas and paint, camera and print or microphone and tape – whatever your medium I hope you can give your art a chance in 2013. I hope you can find the space to create and the people around you to create with and to cheer you onto more work.

This is a new year, full of possibility, full of adventure, waiting for you to make your move, stake your claim and make your mark. Why not let this be the year you do something amazing? Go somewhere you’ve never been before, finish that project you put on the shelf, build that thing you’ve always dreamed of doing?

I really do hope you can move through 2013 in a way that makes everything around you change and grow and spring into vibrant life. Our time on earth is too short to hope for anything less.

Responses
Paul 8 years ago

Very interesting and inspiration post Fernando.

For myself, the desire to be creative is constantly challenged by feelings of my own mediocrity and the vast sea of talent that now exists (well I guess it has always existed, but it is now more accessible) in the world of cyberspace. I often find both inspiration and a crushing sense of self-defeat in the works of people that I admire. These same works are all too often being done by folks with a day job, who are creating in their spare time.

I often contrast their works with paid ‘professionals’ in creative industries (whose work often seems lacking in comparison) and I ask myself how they got there. I am drawn back to some of the ideas in Gladwell’s book OUTLIERS in which he indicates that often there is as much ‘luck’ and ‘timing’ involved in success as talent.

In any event, my own challenge fro 2013 will be to try and move beyond my own self-doubts, to create more and improve myself more creatively.

Thanks for being an inspiration and have a great 2013

    Fernando Gros 8 years ago

    Paul – Thank you. I agree wholeheartedly that there is a question of luck and timing. Equally there is a lot to be said for simply not giving up. The moment we give up we take ourselves out of the equation, regardless of our talent and we also stop the clock, in terms of the hours it takes to become good at anything.

Toni 8 years ago

Thanks Fern. And since this is obviously something you desire then I wish it back for you too.

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