Saturday, April 25, 2015

10,000 practice hours or the journey with a really rowdy band will get you there

In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, he talks about the 10,000 hour rule. This is basically the amount of time it takes to be a professional or expert at your craft, job, art, whatever it is. I believe this concept to be true. It takes lots and lots of practice, trial and error, and learning from your mistakes. But Gladwell has never polka'd with my family.

I grew up around polka music. My dad, my dad's siblings, my brother, cousins, and my grandpa and his brothers can all play music. Every July 4th the family gathers for the reunion. This has been going on for 90 something years. These hooligans play music for 4-5 days (and nights) straight. There is no sleep. They don't quite hit 10,000 hours, but trust me, its the equivalent. Both people and instruments unite for the kind of music fest that must be experienced by all your senses. The music is loud, and rowdy, oh and really really good. What 10,000 hours of polka gets you in the mountains of Crested Butte is creative, uninhabited, free to try what ever the heck you want, even if it turns out to be a dud, because the group can work with that (if not,  they'll just crack some jokes at your expense and move on). They are not perfect, but they go out and kill it every day and night (There is however, a bit more creativity to the music in the wee hours of the night).

I take to my art the way the reunion musicians play. There's no right or wrong, there's no masterpiece, you do it for the journey. You do it for your family, you do it for yourself. This painting is my journey. When I look at it I see my breakthroughs and my duds. It was fun & frustrating; parts of it didn't turn out how I wanted (and I'm sure my brother will have some fun with that), and parts of it got rowdy, really rowdy.

Campster Polka (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x8

10,000 hours, ya, that's important....
but so is having a rowdy bunch of hooligans leading your way. 

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