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Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Whole Kit And Caboodle

My days as an artist have been filled with materials, consumables, the materials that flow, through a process into becoming other things, making my art possible. Even the image I have conjured of an artist as a 3-D printer of sorts aptly describes the materials within the caboodle. Posterboard and felt tip pens were the "liquid" materials flowing through the creative force of my friend Wesley Willis. At once, his caboodle could fit in a single bag for his pens and a garbage bag full of posterboard that allowed him to make his kit useful. Another favorite artist, Joseph Beuys managed to pare down his caboodle (materials) to blood, lard and wool. The kit that operated on the materials was both experience, adroit skill and the specific "eye" for juxtaposing the familiar with the sacred and/or profane.

Some make the mistake of thinking that the kit is just a series of objects, but it is not just that. Of course, if I wanted to draw a circle, a compass might be necessary, but knowing how to use it, or make due with a string and a pin attests to the fact that the intellect becomes just as important as the physical object one carries to the process of creation. The artists mental state, creativity, insights, thought process and skill in making objects from what they have in their caboodle are all essential parts of the creativity puzzle. One teacher I respected a great deal once said that the difference between art and craft is that a crafts person knows what the finished product will look like before the creative process begins. artists allow their creative process to morph, often resulting in things that were never planned or imagined at the start. I am not completely convinced, but it does present a fair starting point into the meanings I want to get to with this post.

To save our species from itself, we must get on with the process of educating as if our lives depended on it, because in fact, they do. all lives matter is not the refrain, necessarily of self important bigoted fools, (although if the shoe fits wear it.) but a plain and simple fact. today, for instance, even I froze up when a person suggested deporting anyone who reads the Quran. The same day, I had read of a Syrian fellow who returned 55K in cash that he found in a donated piece of furniture he was given along with personal papers covering about 1,500 individuals. He said that Allah would not want him to benefit from the fortune that others had built. this rep[resents the vast majority of people in any religion. You know the type. People who are honest, compassionate and helpful. Trying to act as if 1/3 of the planet's population is inherently "bad" or even to be suspected for having a different "God" is absurd. We need to, each one of us, throw whatever we've got, both kit and caboodle, into speaking truth to power in this respect as well as others.

Collective evolution can only take place when we talk to strangers, spread the word, continue sharing what we have learned and spreading both the materials and techniques we have each developed for making creative contributions to society as a whole. This is most often accomplished by giving back to individuals. Break out whatever might be languishing in your caboodle, heck, even if you have things in your kit that you have forgotten or that have become rusty for lack of use, break those suckers out! The same is said for the other side of the process, if you were holding something back for just the right time, get it out! The world is ready for it, now! and if there are skills or tools that you have been hoping would one day become important, unleash their power now! We must use all that is at our disposal to evolve past fear and hate. Prove once and for all, the value of peace and creativity, we will call this evil deception and it will wilt in the light of day.