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088: The model in the next room
"this is what i saw"
☕️ This is the one where I tell you what art is. If you are enjoying this thing, consider becoming a paid subscriber, or get a subscription for an artist friend.
⭐️ Rick Rubin is an American record producer, music executive, and co-founder of Def Jam Recordings. He has produced albums for artists such as Beastie Boys, Slayer, Run-DMC, System of a Down, Audioslave, Danzig, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Kanye West and many others. He is known for his eclectic and experimental approach to production and has been credited with helping to shape the sound of various genres of music, including hip-hop and heavy metal. Rubin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
A Painting Experiment
In a recent podcast with Andrew Huberman, Rick Rubin talked about this painting experiment, which I’m going to call ‘the model in the next room’ I clipped a 1-minute video (out of a 3 hour podcast) if you want to hear it in his own words.
The idea is to have a model in a room different from the room you are painting in, you can go in and look at the model for as long as you want, without a sketchbook or any tools you then go back to your painting studio and paint the experience of the model.
My friend Inna has a version of this thing where she looks at people on her morning walks, then draws them when she gets home.
When Micheal Jordan scored the winning point in a basketball game to win a championship, no one had their phone out.
When Lebron did the same feat ALL phones were out.
If you were in either game, you would come away with two different ‘pictures’.
One would be a gestalt holistic experience imbued with your personality and story.
The other, is a high-definition photograph of what the moment looked like from where you stood.
Both serve as great resources to make an illustration. Good reference. But if you only rely on the second type of reference. And not the experience of the subject, including your internal experience the result might be lifeless and lack personality.
Art is about looking at something and saying this is what I saw.
ps: if you know the originator of this exercise, please mention them in the comment.
Today go look at something or someone in another room, then come back to your room and write or draw what you saw. You can do it in the comments, or in your sketchbook. But remember to do it. Maybe do it now?