Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Ray Johnson

If you’ve never heard of Ray Johnson, it’s definitely worth your while to check him out. I first heard of him from a film called “How to Draw a Bunny” that you can watch here. To say I was completely captivated by this man and his art would be a bit of an understatement. It’s really hard to put into words how deeply I was affected by seeing this documentary and then investigating his work – I am not an art expert, but I kept thinking “How have I never heard of this man?

He just seemed to personify everything I imagined a true artist is. It wasn’t just about his work – his whole life was an art piece. Everything, including his death, seemed to be imbued with mystery, creativity, and self-expression. He was interpreting the world and giving it back to us reconnected by his vision, as if to say “look – everything is not what it seems – there is hidden meaning everywhere…” And of course, his primary medium was collage – what better way of reassembling reality and reinterpreting the world around us than by literally taking bits and pieces of it and making something new. It’s the perfect metaphor for life…

Being creative and expressing your humanity exists on a continuum. In some people these traits don’t seem to exist at all (but of course, this isn’t really true – everyone is creative as a child). And then there are people like Ray Johnson. For them, it isn’t about “the work.” “The work” is them. They show us what is possible, that there are alternate realities all around us. It’s up to us to see and interpret them for ourselves. They show us that life is much richer than we imagine.