If you grew up with me you know when my parents started to separate I needed an outlet. i needed something to give my life to and being 12 and awkward i didn’t really know where to go with any of it, at all. it wasn’t for another few years i had a conversation experience but in the meantime i loved the beatles. i damn near worshiped them like they were egytpian river gods i was a stuck building a pyramid.
i read two books over and over again that i constantly checked out of the library, the beatles anthology _and _lennon remembers. my apologies to whoever has the pick up the copy of the latter from the mifflin county library for all the notes i left in that book (4 different colors of ink).
lennon remembers is a transcript of john’s famous interview after the beatles broke up toward the end of 1970. in this interview he was asked about how he ranks himself as a guitarist and how george harrison ranks and he says this curious thing:
he’s pretty good [laughs]. i prefer myself. i have to be honest, you know. i’m really very embarrassed about my guitar playing, in one way, because it’s very poor; i can never move, but i can make a guitar speak. i think there’s a guy called ritchie valens, no, richie havens. does he play very strange guitar? he’s a black guy that was in a concert and sang ``strawberry fields’’ or something. he plays, like, one chord all the time. he plays a pretty funky guitar. but he doesn’t seem to be able to play in the real terms at all. i’m like that. yoko has made me feel cocky about my guitar. you see, one part of me says, “yes, of course i can play,” because i can make a rock move, you know? but the other part of me says, “well, i wish i could just do like b.b. king.” if you would put me with b.b. king, i would feel real silly. i’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, i’ll bring you something out of it.
this stuck with me for a few years. it worked on me.
for john, there wasn’t just a craft that he had in songwriting. it was more about creating. that bled into a lot of what he did with the beatles between 1966 to 1970 and with yoko in the 70s until he quit music in the mid-seventies. between the films, the businesses, the production, the activism; art was a means to an end for john lennon, his creativity was his worldview. that’s the spirit that dictated what he assigned value to and how he interacted with it.
for john, art was a way of seeing.
when i was a junior in HS i studied art. there was a movement i couldn’t help but love call _les fauves (the wild beasts). _it’s a french movement from impressionism and really it’s the birth of most modern art.
the thing that set apart the fauves was they’re use of color. they saw life around them and the work they did as links in the same chain. there’s no end to their end of their life and beginning of their work. it was the same thing.
their work was an extension of what they saw around them. they saw bright colors and edges that are less defined that serve fewer boundaries. so for the fauves too, art is a way of seeing.
the more i try to become a better writer or a better visual communicator the more i realize these are more than crafts to perfect. they’re ways of teaching me to see the world around me and the work i make as integrated; a balance of what is and what should be.