INTERVIEW: BLAINE HOGAN
By Mike Foster:
Blaine Hogan is an artist.writer.author.thinker who lives and breathes the POTSC message. He's just released Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Processes, and I had the chance to pick Blaine's brain a little on the book and creativity in general.
What made you decide to go a step beyond your blog, and write "UNTITLED: Thoughts on the Creative Process?"
I was inspired by something Seth Godin wrote awhile back about how the internet doesn't really have edges, and while in some cases this is great, when it comes to spreading ideas, it can have its downfalls. With that in mind, I started imagining how I could condense 15 years of art-making into something that would be a manifesto, something my blog could never do. An exciting thing to note is that because of the early success of the e-version, we are exploring creating a printed version so that people can have it to physically refer back to.
How do you decide when to let a project go or to stay the course?
Because I don't deal with numbers or in science, but in art, for me, it's usually a gut feeling. I need to be aware of my energy and where my heart really is. If I'm "just not feeling it," I tend to let the project go, which is different about being in the part of a project where it just seems like work. You need to know the difference and what each looks like for you personally. Also, if I can't seem to locate a deep feeling about a project, I need to kill it or hand it off to someone else. If my heart isn't in something, I probably shouldn't be either.
Critics and nay sayers can be tough. How should a creative handle criticism of their work or them personally?
As someone who has been on at least 1,000 auditions and maybe only landed 75, I understand this to my core. The "no" always stings. And yet, I refuse to take it personally. When I take it personally I'm setting myself up to learn that fear has a place in my life. If I listen to my critics, I will always approach my next endeavor with trepidation, which will in turn cause me to lower my degree of risk, something I never want to do. In the end, fear has no place in art-making and if my nay sayers are causing me to fear, then I must banish them. In the book I say that the inner critics (and the outer ones as well while we're at it) must be thrown out with the trash!
What would you say to someone who has given up on their dream of pursuing their artistic gifts? Who feel they aren't good enough?
Again, this is about fear. I'm not surprised though, as Resistance almost always comes in the form of fear. We fear we aren't talented enough; aren't good enough. This fear must be faced. We have enough bankers, wouldn't you agree? We've got enough humans manning cubicles, yes? So then where are the artists? Stuck, I imagine. If you find yourself stuck in pursuing your artistic gifts, my advice is simple: we need you more than you know.
How can you channel the pain or loss back into the creative process?
Some might say this is the primary way one creates meaningful work. I know it has been the case for me. Almost all of my work channels past pain, loss, and heartache. Even the most joyful work I do comes from these places. I can hear those disagreeing now: "Joy is just joy isn't it?" Sure, but you can only have light if you've first had darkness. I think artists of faith feel particular ambivalence around this issue, which is terribly unfortunate. As storytellers, we must always be seeking to tell the whole story, which almost always includes pain and loss. I hope your readers might find the courage to do so.