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The power of mistakes: Bruell and Tarlow see ‘everything’ as a ‘creative process’

Philip Tarlow
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Mistakes can become avenues to a higher level of creation, and an artist’s process includes and incorporates everything that transpires in their lives.

Those are two of the concepts artist Philip Tarlow and musician Marc Bruell will present during their talk, “Everything is a Creative Process,” which they will present to the public at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the open courtyard next to the Launchpad in Carbondale.

Bruell said the concept that everything is a creative process begins with seeing creation in our daily, mundane activities.

“We’re constantly creating all the time. We’re constantly improvising all the time. Even when we’re going through our daily routines, we’re adjusting based on the way things are,” he said. “It’s about seeing creation in everything we do, whether we’re super-mindful about it and trying to actively create, or whether we’re just living our lives.”

Tarlow gave the example of making coffee every morning — roasting the beans, grinding them, and all the variables in that process.

“I don’t really make a distinction between [making coffee] and making a painting. Obviously they’re very different, but during the process of making coffee, something is happening that’s out of my control,” he said. “If you start looking at everything as a creative process, life gets a lot more interesting and fulfilling, and a lot more fun.”

In addition, Tarlow said there are no mistakes if you’re paying attention and seeing what you’re doing as a process.

“There are things that happen along the way you wish you could have changed, but you can’t because they’re in the past — you either learn from them or you don’t,” he said. “You can say, ‘I did or said that yesterday, but now I can say or do it differently and make it better.’

“I understand that the word ‘mistake’ means something, but if you take it as something bad or something wrong with you or your thought process, it stops you along the way to taking the next step,” he added.

Tarlow used the example of someone insulting you in your childhood, and holding onto the hurt from that insult for the rest of your life.

“If you learn to take those things, digest them and use them for what they’re worth, then move on, you’ll have a much more interesting and creative life,” he said.

Tarlow and Bruell met just recently at a talk Tarlow gave on Aug. 7 at the opening of his exhibition, “Motion” at the R2 Gallery inside the Launchpad.

“When I talked about space in my work his whole face lit up — he was nodding and there was a look of recognition,” Tarlow said. “Afterwards we talked and there was so much we had in common in our process of creating art and music that we decided ‘why not get together and talk about our processes?’”

While the presentation will include dialogue from Tarlow and music from Bruell, Tarlow said he prefers to think of it as one intertwined event.

“Just like in jazz where you riff on a tune — it might end up looking more like that than Philip talking about art and Marc playing his instrument,” Tarlow said.

“It’s like a conversation, but the mediums aren’t just voices,” added Bruell.

jbear@postindependent.com


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