11 Flexible Truths on Creating Great Work, as inspired by Bowie & Beck.

I'm always burrowing into other people's works of art for execution tips. How'd they pull that off? What risks did they take? What was the motivation?

If I'm inspired by anything -- whether it's Beyonce's Superbowl performance, or a Hafiz poem, or a book cover, I make a habit out of analyzing exactly what inspires me. Why does that art move me to be... more of me?

Enter: Beck. Beck set out to re-imagine Bowie. The result is a mesmerizing, galvanizing nine-minute musical orgasm. (Watch the performance below -- a hundred times.) To use an over-used word, it's epic. And it distills some essentials of Creativity, with a capital C.

Beck Reimagines David Bowie's "Sound and Vision": 11 Flexible Truths on Creating Great Work

1. You never pull it off alone. Ever. Behind every masterpiece there is a team of engineers, and co-conspirators, and masters who came before you. If you think it's entirely up to you, you're fatally mistaken.

2. Fuck practicality. Concepts of reasonability have no place in ground-breaking.

3. It's all an exploration. Begin believing this and end with believing this. You will discover magic solutions and you will stress less about how the world receives your work.

4. You're making art! Sacred, profane to profound, heart-gripping, soul stirring, stuff of the ethers manifested to elevate consciousness. ART!

5. Look, it's only art. It's rarely as important as you think it is.

6. Command. If you're in charge, then bloody well be in charge. Give direction. We look to the master. We rise to the call. Sound it.

7. Have something to say. Meaning -- think it through so you don't waste our time. Similarly ...

8. You need a focal point. It's the star on stage, the protagonist in your story, the iconic image that captures the audience.

9. Work with the best you can get -- best materials, best minds. Beck didn't re-imagine a weak song, and he didn't pull in amateurs to pull it off. He deconstructed and reconstructed what was already solid art, and he worked with the best in their field to lift it off.

10. Employ numerous elements to create a whole experience. Multi-media; lights; a palette of colour, talents, perspectives, opinions, and voices.

11. Put on the ritz. Sequins. Mumus. Fedoras. Stilettos. Dress UP. Offering your art is a special occasion. No need to downplay your power.


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