Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Tale of Blockages

The original caption here was "contrary to my whining,
I really do love my job". Simone Ritter Photograph
Surprisingly, some people believe me to be an artist. I don't consider what I do to be an art - mostly because my experiences with the word lead me to believe that if I finally give up and admit any of my pursuits to be artistic, they'll become for me what cooking is - a place to go and frustratedly masturbate about my own creativity while ignoring the fact that I've never contributed in any important way to a field.

I write this, fittingly enough, in the loft studio of one of my province's most prestigious art schools.

Tying anything to arts, for me, is a curse. I called cooking an art, and now I can only cook to any satisfactory degree while I'm manic enough to give it energy equivalent to my ordinary undivided attention. Naming something an art makes it a time-sink, where the smallest flaws are ruination, and the best strides forward are "not noteworthy at all".

After all, once I've created it, it's not really creative anymore, is it? No idea's original once it's put down, and nothing hasn't already been put down at once. Every now and then, something truly creative comes along. A few years ago, Chef Homaro Cantu of MOTO in Chicago, Illinois created a method of creating "sushi" whereby the ingredients typical of makizushi (zushi rice, toppings, seasonings, and nori) are blended to a forcemeat-like consistency  and rolled in rice paper, printed with images of full platters of traditional zushi, chilled to set, and then cut as makizushi traditionally is. Lots of people - purists, really, myself included - gave him flack for it.

See, this style of modern creativity in cooking has fallen under the catagory of what a lot of people call "molecular gastronomy". I have fun with it now - doing weird things like my now infamous Liquid Nitrogen Sorbets. Mostly, though, I steer toward the classics. For all my love of all things Science and Tech, my tastes in the arts - all the arts - is usually surprisingly conservative.

It doesn't make it any better that my two chosen art-forms at the moment seem to be writing and videography - not that I consider anything I do in either regard to be the least bit artistic. How do I innovate in filming when I film with a smart phone?

How do you innovate in writing at all, except through bleeding-edge poetic experimentation that nobody would understand?

Ultimately, this post didn't go where it was supposed to at all. This was supposed to be an apology, for low activity rates and sub-standard posts. I was going to go on and on about other commitments. But right now, I'm sitting in the loft studio of one of New Brunswick's best art schools, drinking locally-roasted coffee in my peanut butter mocha, which was topped with a home-made marshmallow, daydreaming about the menu for the dinner I'm going to later tonight, and thinking about just how much of my soul I'd really have to sell to get back into the art that fuels me.

There was a time, I remember, when my knives were an extension of my arm, when my heart was a machine for pumping fire through my veins, and when I actually had a medium I was capable of comprehending. That was a long time ago, but there's a saying about horses that seems relevant.

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