Watch 4' 33" composed by John Cage
I have seen the You Tube video many a time. John Cage sits at his piano, he lifts his hand and it has begun, 4 minuets and 33 seconds of "silence". I have been shown this video in three classes here at R.I.T. Learn to listen and slow down have been the main themes in those lectures.
Something that fascinated me about 4' 33" is the "music" composed and played in that piece is the sounds that surround us all the time. The music that is not silence, but the evidence of human life and creation. The creaking of seats, the groans and coughs, the air conditioner or heat running, the people in the lobby all create a sound that is our background noise of everyday, made into a musical piece that John Cage composed. It is his composition, in my eyes, because he forces you to listen to the non-silence.
In class we took the lesson from John Cage of slowing down, with a seemingly simple drawing assignment. Examine a bone, pick a small area with a great deal of detail in it and draw it. I was pushed to frustration as I realized how fast I move. It has been very difficult for me to slow down, and even now I am sure I am still not slow enough. Really taking time to be patient with every pencil stroke is my current goal.
I am currently working on my 3rd quarter of our first drawing assignment. I chose cigarette butts as my natural object to draw. The assignment is a great exercise not only for my drawing abilities but my patients and practicing slowing down. It has already proven very difficult and I have found that it is important to be in a relaxed, patient and focused state of mind when working slowly is the goal. If I slip up and loose my concentration, I find that I must take a break and refocus myself in order to continue successfully.
-Just Another Artist