Making Choices

This art captured my attention… it’s colors and image of the subjects staring far out to sea with their backs to the artist, warm American realist style. It was a painting I had not (recalled at least!) having seen before. It just seemed a perfect thanksgiving card to send to some friends.

But wait! What was this “thought” of self doubt just entering my mind? Well, the name Wyeth was predictably listed as the artist, and for a moment that fact somehow (in my mind) made it banal or common, like say…Times Square. I resisted the impulse but recognized it. Its similar to that of Fran Lebowitz, who never seems to display shame or embarrassment (she dresses in mens button down shirts, boots, complains, no makeup), feels about an authentic NY’-er being “caught” in Times Square. 

Ah, It’s as I laugh at her point, yes Time Square is too common – too “Turon” that is, It is a place without the charm that can be found in most of the city.  As born and raised in Manhattan, so hilariously true!

But that bad feeling… of thinking/imagining others judgements, isn’t that the main reason I (and many others) choose to avoid social media? That is, might somebody I actually like perceive my art taste as pedantic as if I had brought a neat few rows of evenly spaced Chips Ahoy to their table a community bake sale?

But alas, I noticed it was painted by not Andrew Wyeth but his father Neville! Oh joy! But still… Did I need to point that out to my friends?… like Fran’s Lebowitz’s excuses below when seen thick among tourists in Times Square?

A quote from her book:

Making excuses why she was "caught" among tourists in Times Square
Frank Lebowitz Quote

(In this photo below on a 43rd street corner Ms. Fran L reported her “trauma” got worse when someone she recognized in a cab passed her by that she was not able to explain why she was there).

Fran Lebowitz Hailing a Cab in Times Square
Fran Lebowitz Hailing a Cab in Times Square

Then, I recalled a quote (that seems mostly true at least) … “Don’t explain, your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyhow.”

One can identify a feeling in oneself without judging it (too much). The ancient philosopher Seneca advised that fear of criticism can be cured by walking around one’s town with old clothes, actually encouraging the disapproval reaction of others. He became immersed in the scornful faces passing him, and overcome it. It takes work. But ignoring the noise of other’s judgments is a skill that’s absolutely necessary for any creative person, including entrepreneurs. If we are a creative person, who among us were not mocked or disparaged, even by friends and family, for the vision we had – before it worked out?

Studies have shown that we don’t guess what other people are thinking –actually we are usually wrong, and that’s one reason why speculation and hearsay are not allowed by the basic rules of evidence in Courts. We have such a bias towards a negative narrative! Not sharing art or music (within limits of decorum course), based on a wrongful self-assessment, is just an internal thought and it’s a “thought” best to let pass by in favor of what is real – the day. 

At the end of the day, some who were busy cooking wrote back with their positive appreciation to the art, others sent their own version of a “DIY Thanksgiving card.” Thank you all!

Stay creative!

⁃ JCS 

November 27, 2021

PS -Supposedly there’s a new documentary of Fran L by Martin Scorsese, sounds entertaining, look for it, and let me know what you think – directly jcs@wpa.org

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