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Eric and Me and Mr. Johnson

No, no, no, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m not thinking that we’d make quite a threesome. Today is Eric Clapton’s birthday, he turns 59, after having survived heroin addiction, booze, pills, and all those years playing the guitar for the likes of me. (No doubt that last one is the real killer of the bunch.)

I’ve always like the blues stuff the best, even though there was something fun about hearing White Room in the white room. I look to music for my inspiration for artwork, in as much the same was (I suppose) as Eric looks to Mr. Johson. There’s something very enjoyable about making a connection with an artist or a piece of work that one simply cannot put to words. Sure, my life is filled with artwork, sometimes too much, but there are some pieces that transcend time and place and really connect deeply, making me think of my childhood, growing up, my youth, my new tennis shoes, whatever. There’s just that connection deep inside that makes it special. Art at its best takes you away. Doesn’t matter really what the medium or the message as long as you can get into it. I mean, really get into it so much so that you lose or redefine a part of yourself in the process.

I find it rather odd too that not many folks got as much into the works of Mr. Johnson. Perhaps it’s because of the raw, unpolished nature of his work. I hear those old, scratchy recordings and I think about the depression, my grandparents, what life was like in that time. I don’t hear the same potential that Mr. Clapton hears. To me, it just doesn’t scream “re-do this and make it modern” rather is slightly suggests what once was. That’s the difference, musically between Eric and myself (apart from his obvious technical mastery of the guitar, I’m talking just artisitc vision here, folks.) Eric sees what could be or what could become in the past. He redefines and re-invents the old stuff, giving it an entirely new, fresh look, but he brings a special connection to it. Almost as if he defines a part of himself in it’s rebirth and makeover. I find it fascinating that he does this (and even that he can do this) as I always look at art in terms of raw creativity. What can I make that hasn’t been made already? or Let’s try this… instead of How can I add a piece of myself to this? It’s like he’s getting ahead by leveraging off of the past, but he’s adding so much that he’s redefining the future in the process. Interesting approach, old chap (Ok, 59 isn’t all that old.)

I wonder what I’m going to paint when I listen to the new tunes. And I hope you have a happy day, wherever you are.

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in “Carol’s Little World” signing off.

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