Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Art/Craft of Persona development

I read an article last night about a fashion designer. The author made an interesting comment, saying that this man was "more of a craftsman than an artist" in his approach to creating new fashions. I've been wondering what that might mean ever since.

As near as I guess, a craftsman takes things that already exist and makes them into something different, whereas an artist puts words or color or shape onto something that was blank or formless? I'm not sure.

I'm a little uncomfortable with words like this, to be honest. Of course, I'd be delighted to be called either an artist or a craftsman at pretty much anything; it they're terms of honor. But maybe that's why the words make me squirm: they carry so much heft in terms of expectation. Doesn't it feel like artists and craftsmen should have more of a persona than the rest of us? That they should know or have access to hidden realms of creative power or something?

Most of the writers I know don't orbit in this rare air. We're more like worker bees, putting word after word on a page, trusting that over time it will amount to something. I guess that can become a persona of sorts, but not in quite the same way. It's not a fun persona...

I love to read about folks with big, fun personas (personii?)...I think I'd like to have one. As I read this article (it was in the New Yorker, about the creative director of Burberry) and another one about the genius/lunatic designer who is decorating Gwen Stefani's new house, they both had this ambiance about them that set them apart from the rest of the world, like little kids playing dress up or something. It looked fun. I mean, who wouldn't want to go through the whole day being melodramatic and demanding that bold splashes of color be tossed across the room?

I'm not sure if I buy it, though. I wonder if maybe they really ARE like little kids playing dress up when they're interviewed, when they're in public...but when no one is watching, they're just gifted people who work really, really hard at what they do?

Okay, I'm rambling a bit here. Let me get to my question: If YOU could have a persona (and I'm pretty sure that you can) what would it be? If someone from the New Yorker showed up today and asked you where you were taking your inspiration from in this season of your artistic development, what would you say?


Suzanne said...

I have always wished that I could be more courageous in lving my life...dumb as it sounds I've secretly wanted to own a bookstore for the past 20 years, but it seems so impractical in this age of amazon and kindle, I've just put it my persona would be someone who was living out loud and courageously pursuing their dreams.

LEstes65 said...

Oh man. I've actually been spending a great deal of time since 2005 on SHEDDING my personii. I have had too many. As a rock singer in Boston, I had my stage persona that was very different from me. As a person that tried to survive public transportation in Boston, I had my tough persona that was very different from me (you met that one I believe). As a young female in corporate America, I had the wise-ass/tough persona (I believe you met that one, too). Oh I could go on. Now I'm working very hard on figuring out who the real me is and putting HER out there. It's very hard after more than 20 yrs of facades.

Sarakastic said...

I would wear scarves and also sunglasses, together. Yes I have lofty goals that are seemingly unobtainable in my real life.