Monday, October 27, 2008

Flow me to the moon

Many artists talk about the idea of Flow.  It is often described as the experience where you are totally lost in what you are doing, to the point that you forget to eat, pee, etc.  And during this process, creating art is blissful, euphoric.  We have all been there; you lose track of time, the paint moves as if by magic, you look up and suddenly there is a work in front of you and you are unsure how it even happened.  For me, Flow is a drug that I want more and more.  I wish there was a switch I could flip so I were in Flow instantly.

Years ago, as I contemplated this idea of Flow, I became interested in the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi(brilliant psychologist!).  I bought his book Flow The Psychology of Optimal Experience hoping it would explain a shortcut or some step by step process I could employ anytime I wanted to be in Flow.  Ah, yes, I really am that naive.  But the book was pretty highbrow, scientific to be sure, and I just couldn't get into it.

Today on TED, I watched a fantastic video by the man himself.  He is smart and funny and his talk dumbed it down enough for me to really get it.  Having heard him talk about Flow, I now think I am more likely in a state of Arousal.  I think my learning curve remains pretty steep.  Sure, I feel expert at certain things, but I am always (and I do mean always) still learning things about each and every part of my art making process.  It was possibly presumptuous of me to think I had achieved true Flow at this point in my artistic path.  Critics may say that it is just a label, it doesn't matter, etc.  Perhaps I have more science in me than I care to admit, but this stuff is interesting to me.  

And I also have to say, a state or Arousal is pretty sweet.  But now it reallyreallyreally makes me want to Flow.  Watch the video yourself and this will all make sense.  

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