Yesterday as I was delaying my inevitable chores and having a bit of bacon and eggs for breakfast, I was browsing reddit and saw another rumor article about Disney releasing the original Star Wars movies without all the George Lucas changes. I get excited to see this, because I’m looking forward to having a copy of the unadulterated version and would even (probably) pick up a copy of “The Empire Strikes Back”. In the comments I saw one in particular that caused me to put down my fork and make a quick response. Only the response grew as I started to type it to something beyond my usual two-sentence, flippant reply. Enough so that I thought I ought to put it here (and, perhaps in Lucasian fashion enhance it a bit).
The original post that caused me to respond was:
It’s ridic how people spend so much time talking so much shit about a guy for doing what he wants with his own creation…and the people who talk all the shit about him are the ones who worship his work.
And my reply: (Somewhat edited for clarity)
As an artist I’ve come to realize that you can work on a piece forever if you really care about what you are doing. Nothing is ever quite up to what you envision, so you rework and modify, bringing your project closer and closer to your concept. Depending on under what constraints you are working (getting paid, deadlines, etc) at some point you have to release it. Once it’s out there for others to experience, part of it ceases to be your creation and merges with those that are influenced by what you created. At that point it actually changes people, and their perception of things in their future will be colored by that change. Peoples lives are altered to a degree depending on how deeply they are moved by whatever you’ve created. It can be argued that Ronald Reagan was shot, in part, due to the influence of a film.
Now if an artist goes back and alters the creation to better fit some inner eye view of what the concept could have been, they’re able to do that, but the people who experienced a change in themselves may not like the result of the changed work. Look at popular songs that have been remade by artists years after their work made an impact on the music scene. Many people who loved the song won’t like the newer version and cling to the original, while those that were first exposed to the new version and had their perceptions altered by it might appreciate the original, but often still cling to the version that changed them as the best one.
Now if an artist wants to ‘destroy’ the original work so that his vision continues, and he still has the rights to the original, it is his prerogative to do so, but he risks alienating those who love the original work because of the impact it had on them. I’ve been known to destroy pieces I’ve made that I really dislike because I don’t want them out there, and I’ve also been persuaded to sell some of those I’ve hated because someone loved what I created. At this point I can’t go back and alter or replace that piece because I’ve created something better, because I no longer own the rights to that piece, but I can certainly understand Lucas’ drive in this.
It’s the depth of the effect of these movies on the people that first experienced Star Wars before there was A New Hope, who see the altered versions and their reaction is to tell all those around them, “This wasn’t in the original!” It feels disingenuous to see Jabba in a scene that wasn’t even there before to us and, I believe, that is what many people are reaching for. We want a chance to go back and see the version we fell in love with, the one that altered our lives and dreams, without the jarring breaks of “this isn’t right”.
I can’t fault Lucas for trying to improve his movies, he had the rights and means, but I don’t think it was wise. At some point I think you need to let your art be, especially if it has had the mega impact my art will never have. I’ve learned that it is sometimes better to create a new vision where you can try to hit the mark closer to home on a completely new try without the baggage of what came before.
I could have gone on and on (and I’ve been known to, just not on reddit)
Back when I started working with Jared at ZDSC he showed me this 3d artistic rendering program called Bryce 3d. I think at the time it was the most I ever paid for a non-game piece of software, but I used to sit around on Sunday afternoons and just play with the boolean architecture creating little ships and scenes. I’m not quite sure where along the line I shifted on to other things, but I kept the software current on my computer for years. I even dug it up and put it on Debbie’s computer down in Mt. Pleasant before we consolidated households, although I didn’t do much more than show it to her and Kayla.
Now I have this new Mac and still haven’t come up with a home computer since the epic technological failings of 2010. I just installed the other software I need to be learning so I can help with the media responsibilities I’m sharing with Sam for SC11, so I thought I’d look for some online help. While I was poking around for tutorials on illustrator and Final Cut Pro I ran across the current version of Bryce, Bryce 7, and found it was free for personal use.
So here I am, after 10:00 on a Sunday night, just like old times with a rough little rendering of a calvin-and-hobbes’ish daydream of organic spaceships hunting each other across rugged hostile terrain. Maybe next week I’ll get something productive done.
So I’m working on this project and I decide that I need an antique looking plate showing north and I throw together a ‘N’ with an arrow through it and decide to carve it roughly into a block of wood and see if I can’t sand cast it. But because I’m mostly in a prototyping phase (for several things, evidently) I decide to see if I can’t cast just the face of it in a sand mold and not bother with the whole cope and drag. But because I’m forever making stamps or sprig molds for clay, I naturally decide that it needs to be backwards. It wasn’t til I was pressing it into the sand that I realized I was making a positive casting so the original had to be forward. (I flipped the pic just so it would look right… full disclosure, you know). Anyway I decided to go ahead since I had it and it was getting late, and then if it worked, maybe I would cast the cast and have a relief ‘N’ instead of a raised one, as long as it looked old.
But I ran into a few problems. I don’t have a furnace, and my acetylene torch doesn’t have a big enough tip to keep that much metal molten very easily. The casting poured short, probably because I couldn’t keep it hot enough, and I think it’s too much copper. I need to find a source of tin to formulate a good bronze alloy with all the spare copper I’ve got laying around. I melted down some old bronze I had, but I knew it wasn’t enough, so I just made up the difference with copper.
Maybe I should have done aluminum, but aluminum wouldn’t weather the way I want it to. So in the end it may be a good thing that I did make the original wood cut backwards, because I’m probably going to end up using it as a stamp.
This has been sitting on my shelf for over a year because I couldn’t decide how to finish it. Since I have a new project I don’t know how to finish I thought I’d push this one through any old way.
Turned out ok, I guess.
It’s Debbies birthday today, and since she says I never get her flowers I figured I could make a rose for her. And since her favorite color is blue, I thought I’d do a copper one with an ammonia cold patina. Since she is working such long shifts for the approaching tax deadline I had a couple hours after work every day before she got home where I could work on it without suspicion. I had been mulling over how to accomplish it when I found a youtube video where an artist detailed how to forge a steel rose. The original one is missing now, but there’s a sequel that is pretty much the same thing here on youtube It was a lot of fun to make and everyone that’s seen it has seemed to like it. Maybe I’ll have to do a bouquet.
Happy Birthday, sweetie!
I got up some gumption again and managed to enter the Clay Arts Utah fall show. I put in three pieces of crystal pottery and got all of them in. Charles Arceneaux is the chairman and I got a choice location in the window. I was pretty nervous all day. I really dislike showing my stuff, especially because I’m just kind of a dabbler, and I don’t think my stuff is better than average.
I did put in my fee for the after Thanksgiving sale, so I guess I have to buckle down and make some stuff.
So after a couple years of good intentions, and with a lot of downtime on my hands I’ve launched myself into National Novel Writing Month. I had a pretty good first day, getting nearly the 1924 words that is my goal for each day. The idea is to spend all November writing like crazy and get 50k words in by midnight of the 30th. I’m writing the story I’ve had in my mind for several years, and while I’ve surprised myself a few times with some nice passages, I’m really struggling. I had a busy day Saturday so I got kind of behind. I can’t wait till something happens, though. I gotta get this kid out of the University so something can happen.
But the sun shone today, so there wasn’t many people at the studio. Chuck and I took advantage of it and made up 5 and a half glazes to try out on the gas kiln. I’m exhausted and contemplating a nice early bedtime, as Debbie and Kayla took a lil road trip to let Kayla stay with her dad down south and visit friends.
Also, a note to self. Don’t drink a half gallon of orange juice just because you have no refrigeration.
I found this through William Gibson’s blog and really didn’t want to lose it.
Women in Art
maybe someday youtube will be able to post to movabletype…