The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia in Melbourne has hosted a series of music and conversations with Australian performers within the spaces of the gallery. It’s a lovely complement to some of Australia’s best-known art works, and incentive for music-loving Melbournians to leave the house on a winter Sunday.
I wish I’d had my note-book out on Sunday when Paul Dempsey was being interviewed on creativity and what inspires him. He said that creative people have a compulsion to do whatever it is – songwriting, painting, playing guitar – whatever it is, the creative person is driven to do it… One reason for continuing, is that they don’t believe they actually know how to do whatever it is, so they need to keep trying. One can get closer and closer to nailing it, but never actually get there. Which reminded me of this quote from Henry Moore –
Paul has been writing songs for twenty years or more, and the people who came to listen think he is an excellent songwriter, yet he says he still doesn’t know how to do it. He’s just compelled to keep trying to figure it out. And he says it’s work, you have to show up and do it, even if 90% of what you produce is “shit”. Just do the work. Writer’s block, he asserts, is a lame excuse for not working…
For the creative person, it’s the doing that counts, not the perceived quality of the work. Not everyone is a songwriter (just as well), but I believe everyone has a passion for something – something that they can never quite do. Doing it anyway is one thing that gives life meaning. And that means playing as much as working!