Posted by: Sarah | October 23, 2007

On a clear day you can see forever…

I wandered into my favorite 4-story Barnes and Noble after work, as I often do, intending to get lost in a book for a few hours over a cup of tea in the cafe. I walked in and heard applause coming from upstairs, where they often host events, author readings & signings, and other artistic performances.

Tony Bennett was engaging an audience in conversation about his new book –Tony Bennett in the Studio: A Life of Art and Music – growing up in Astoria, how he sees himself as a “Central Park Painter”, his artistic career as a musician and painter, the importance of commitment to whatever your passion in life is.

I only caught the latter part of the dialog, but was intrigued by a few of the thoughts he expressed (none are direct quotes, but simply what stayed with me several hours later).

[Bennett, on being asked where he has drawn creative inspiration from throughout his lifelong career]
there are moments in life when you are filled by a rush of creativity
you are overwhelmed and wonder why you have been wasting so
much time not exploring this creativity.
constantly work o
n three paintings at once
that way, you will never burn out on any of them.

move from one to another and you’ll never need a vacation
you are on a permanent vacation

Do we maximize the moments in life when we find ourselves immersed in such intense creativity? Do we let our daily routines hinder creativity, when in reality, creativity in all forms can drastically improve productivity, regardless of whether or not what we are doing is traditionally seen as ART? Do we become caught up in fueling every ounce of our energy through one channel at the risk of burning ourselves out? Or are we consciously diversifying our lives so that we are working on three paintings at once, reaching out through another medium, allowing ourselves to later return to the original canvas with a fresh look?

[Bennett, on being asked why he has chosen to live in New York when he could have made his home anywhere in the world]
This is the Apple. It’s the greatest city in the world.
Did you ever look at those skyscrapers
around you and the men climbing around engineering and constructing them? They are daredevils and they are artists.
There are so many artists that never get recognized.
It’s not about music or art, but rather everybody in the city doing something well is an artist.
This city is full of artists.

The vast amount of art, and artists, in this city … from the free-lance photographer selling snapshots in Union Square to the gallery owner in Soho, from the subway musician to the New York Opera, from the pastry chef at Magnolia’s to the architects who design the financial district, New York is a culmination of human creativity and every form of art possibly imaginable.

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