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Pooping Art & the Scaffolding of Dreams

Eddie Izzard says in his autobiography that he plans career moves and creative projects by thinking of the end result, and then working backwards; building a plan to get there.

I’ve never worked this way. Never visualized specifically where I wanted to be and then built a strategy to make that happen. I love the process of pushing off boldly... and seeing where I end up. There is a great sense of the unexpected in simply putting one foot in front of the other - career and creative-wise.

While this brave, brazen approach to life and work does often pay off, in retrospect, it seems crazy that I haven’t spent more time dreaming, and then stacking the building blocks to make the dream happen.

My sister calls my approach to the creative process “pooping art”.

I should say here that my sister is hands down my biggest fan and most fearless cheerleader. By “pooping art” she doesn’t mean that my art stinks, she means that I create it without a second thought, and that I don’t take the time to set exciting goals and then use my art to work towards them.

But this year I started to think a little differently. I started setting specific goals, and then building strategies to make them happen.

It’s part of the reason I’m making the Ha Ha Da Vinci lookbook as well. By creating a lookbook, I can identify everything I want to have happen in the show, and then use the lookbook as an end goal.

It doesn’t mean that there isn’t room in the process for some good old fashioned art pooping. It just means that the art I poop can be used to build this totally amazing and awesome end result.

For me, the process of visualizing what I want to have happen and then creating the building blocks to get there is entirely counterintuitive. But it works. Not only does it mean I can continue fearlessly making art with better results. But with a plan in place, I’m forced to tackle the parts of the creative process that are challenging for me, or that always feel too boring or too scary to face.

I’m forced to figure out how to build set pieces that can break down and pack into a small touring vehicle (or most likely, collaborate with a designer who can help make this happen, also new and challenging). To create a costume budget. To find out how to integrate lighting and sound design.

There are so many elements of creating a piece of art that are not glamorous, exciting, or even particularly interesting. But they’re all part of making this beautiful, dynamic piece of performance come to life.

So, here’s to pooping art. And here’s to pooping art with a plan in place.

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