The need for feedback and having "final cut"

“The trouble is that most people want to be right, the best people, however, want to know if they’re right.”

John Cleese from the book Creativity – a short and cheerful guide

Yuval on Hands by Dimitry Roulland
Yuval Ayalon "on hands" in Paris, by Dimitry Roulland

What friends are for

 

Yesterday I had a long discussion with Jurriaan, my friend, a painter, about solo artistic work and the need for feedback. One of these conversations we occasionally have about who we are, what we’re interested in, as creators, as human beings, about the way we choose to live our lives and the creative journey.

A lot was said in that conversation. Naturally, yesterday’s blog post sprang from many things we said. I wonder what came first, my interest in the necessity of failure or just the way we talk. Very honestly, about the things that simply matter. 

We spoke about “being happy with mistakes made,” trying again, “failing again, failing better,” as Beckett eloquently put it. Listening to your heart as a creator, asserting that “no one has the same heart or brains as the creator,” or that “starting is always different than doing something for a long time” (about my seriously writing a book now), being open and listening to reactions to one’s work that may influence next moves, about how one’s message comes across… and so much more.

 

That fragile dynamic balance 

 

Fundamentally, after having slept with this idea for a while, it seems to be a delicate dynamic balance between following your heart, knowing what you’re searching for, and being able to listen carefully to any feedback from the outside.

Sidney Lumet, in his marvelous book Making Movies, says about the privilege of having “Final Cut” in one’s creations that “The director, because he says “print,” has a lot of power. But the results are best when he doesn’t have to use it“. “The heart of my job,” he says, “the decisive moment – comes when I say “Print,” for it is then that everything we’ve been working for is permanently recorded… saying “print” is my biggest responsibility.”

 

Artistic Responsibility

 
It all boils down to our responsibility as artists when putting our work into the world. Our work does make a difference; it influences people, whether we are aware, like, dislike, or terrified of this fact. So, listening to reactions, in some cases and from some selected people during the creative process, is vital. It means we care about our audience as much as we care about our work. It means we may have overcome our ambitious pretension that “we know better” as a rule, but that we are proposing a point of view we have considered carefully and with attention. This seems to me to be the least we can do, for the privilege we have to be living and doing our creative work.

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