One of the essential principles of creativity is MAD. It’s also known as OTD, but they amount to the same thing. MAD stands for “Make A Delivery,” OTD for “Out The Door.” These concepts resonate with the idea, long since proven effective, that writers write, painters paint and tortillistas make tortillas. It also says that if you want to be an apple vendor you better have apples in your apple cart. The idea goes beyond commercial considerations. Even poor Cezanne, with all his neuroses, thought a little bit better of himself when, finally at age 55, the Paris dealer Vollard saw fit to give him his first one man show.
A kind of karma takes place when a work of art goes out the door. Even as a gift to a friend or for charitable purposes, finding a home outside the workshop or studio completes the circle. The artist can rationalize that while the work is still his or her very own, it has a more illustrious future on someone else’s wall. It marches out to create good will, win friends, influence people. When a work hangs in a gallery or some other space, even a virtual space, it begins its true life. At least it’s on its way from orphanhood to finding a home and a family. We artists have to realize that our work is our principle currency, a source of joy, and the bringer of a lot of the good in our lives.
Making a delivery has the effect of clearing the mind as well as the studio. Then there’s something about the void that needs to be filled. It seems to me that art is about new beginnings and new challenges.
Even sending off a batch of slides or photos to a dealer is cathartic. It’s not as good as the real thing, but it gives a similar release.
PS: “When one door closes, another opens.” (Fernando de Rojas, 1465-1538)
Esoterica: Some stress managers for the studio are RPS, OSPZ and MAD. “Relaxed Pressure Scheduling” (RPS) is a laid back, self-generated plan where work-pressure is gently moved from external demand to internal government. “Off-Station Play Zones” (OSPZ, Say, “I’m going for some osspeezee.”) means outside-the-studio activities, including non-creative hobbies, social and physical interests. MAD is the simple and basic solution for the stress caused by the drooling wolf at the door: “Make A Delivery.”
“With an apple I will astonish Paris.” (Paul Cezanne)
This letter was originally published as “OTD MAD” on January 14, 2000. Also included is an excerpt from the letter “Understanding studio stress” published on May 21, 2004.