For me as an artist “Just Different, is Just Better.”
I have been thinking of my hesitation in readily “commercializing,” my showcases for the sake of popularity and viewership and have been readily thankful for being and maintaining the position of standing out. I feel by doing so I’ve managed to live up to the demands of legends, now few have heard of but in my time where on the lips of everyone.
They were different, they were the odd man out but as time has moved forward, what they thought would change their worlds, is used in many circles to date.
I can’t even presume those younger than me or those in their 40’s or 50’s, who according to the Harvard Business Review, are running 2.7 million start-up companies from 2007-present, know who the Monkey King is and why Bruce Lee was more than just a street fighter who knew kung-fu. At least to me these two legends brought a form of revolutionizing thought to their respective periods that by simply saying “King and Lee,” many perked their ears, or should.
Bruce Lee came about in a time when prior to him there was no Jeet Kune Do, a method of martial arts made by him and used in the 60’s to erect a supremacy in a fight that lasted 11 seconds. Prior to Bruce Lee there was an idea that only the head masters knew all the rules, the gang-lords that ran a particular part of the city could surmise the funds or win the bids and no young punk like Bruce Lee was really going to come around and not only give trade secrets to outsiders and devise his own school, but beat the old methods of thought and write about it.
Lee’s story is fascinating because in a superficial gloss, he was fighting the same battle of the Monkey King but in real life and in the 1960’s; it was not some ancient mythology of some dead man’s scrolls. Did you know to this day the Triad pockets the money of their exceptionally talented stars? Controlling their lives and showcase a brutality against disobedience that Bruce Lee had a knack for keeping in their place.
When I was a boy, I loved the Monkey King, not because he was a trickster or childish or any other demanding thought some have prescribed to him. I liked him because when the Gods refused to allow him to erect his seat among them, he was willing to take them all on. Establish a doctrine behind his beliefs of success and in most cases won. Bruce Lee loved the authentic, while many others would hold to the notion of martial arts being an art form, like a John Woo film or Chow Yun Fat, even Jackie Chan was known for using the traditional theatrical flash of the art that Bruce Lee could not stand and his gut knew would never help him or those he taught how to win a fight. He stressed forward movement, never backing from the enemy and loved the six-inch punch. I do at times wonder how he would fair against 1-P man or the youngsters of today that created the Raid Series but I have faith that his methods are still up to date even after all these years. They managed to make there way into The Black Panther movie without a lot of fan-fare so it is safe to say that his ideas of martial arts is comfortable and expected.
All this talk of kicks and punches, you might be wondering what does this have to do with art?
Here it is!
What is NEXT?!
No I am not talking about Kung-fu or fighting films, I am referring to the established way we define art.
I was speaking to the Mistress of Art https://twitter.com/ArtMunky she is gorgeous!! And it pleased me that she was unaware of who Bruce Lee was. It meant that their was room to continue the journey in breaking the glass ceiling that keeps artists and creators talking about the same things. Or my clients asking for fan art of their favorite video game character. The Mistress of Art has her own innovative projects that I am not at liberty to discuss but I am so pleased she is willing to attempt it. I am so happy she has the never to put it online and I am so happy to be of the few to know about it first.
I do enjoy my Futa-tales and the American Presentation I can bring to the franchise. Of course I would have to devise a whole lot more and advertise more but to have cross dresser to openly support my web-comics will be difficult since they are still in the shadows.
Bruce Jun Fan Lee beat Wong Jackman and solidified his name as a staple in 1964 of Long Beach and echoing in that name is the idea, “In a state of fluidity the spirit harbors nothing, nor is it tipped off balance.”
Anime was the result of this thought, I am sure because the human form is the natural visual that arises when we hear the word fluid. Beyond that, because we’ve not perceived, we dare not think it exists and certainly will not place the thought upon the tablet.
So like Bruce we are asked to remain in our shelter of conformed thought and stifle creativity for the sake of comfort and the prestige of Triad overlords. Like the Monkey King we are told something is not allowed and we are not allowed to eat at the table of the Gods because unless we conform to what is, nothing shall be.
It is 2018 going on 2019 and I am daring to be different. To think different and believing like Lee and the Monkey King that all of the tradition that I’ve been taught or that many of us have learned is hogwash compared to the practicality of applying real skill to a project in the middle of an open forum and what we have come to believe drives production in the world of art is not working and those that disagree should put pad to paper and draw something we’ve never seen before. I want not to be the only one blowing minds.
Then after we creators have devised a new thought, I want publishers and publicans to buy what we sell, no more pro-bono work. I am open for commissions. I am willing to give you, the viewer, what ever you want, as long as the image is a door to a would we’ve yet to stake a flag in.
They gave Bruce his statue in China, I don’t care how long it took them to do it. I am just glad they did. I am glad there are those that don’t know of the Monkey King that said it’s ok to challenge the Gods of a social order and this is how you do it. It means there is room for my expression and a path to be paved in continuation of the paths that captivated me as a child.
Bruce Lee challenged the status quo and turned the Chinese actor into a hero opposed to the beggar. I am an African American artist, I should know all about how to turn the beggar or a slave into a fighting man-standing alone-with his Hero Complex, to become King of the mountain while the Tiger is away.
Then again I would still like to know, what else is in store for artists like me in 2019.