My family’s resolute belief that the music of The Beatles is the foundation of a proper upbringing isn’t limited to the 1970s. Just this year, my big brother Dave, a parent, a bona fide Rocker and a person who could devote his life to musically evangelizing The Beatles as the greatest composers of popular music and the greatest band in history, gave me a ceramic yellow submarine cookie jar for Christmas. “This is the most special present I have ever given to anyone,” he whispered, as if in church. “I hope one day that I, too, could receive the gift of this cookie jar.”
Because of the modern miracle known as The Beatles, artists have a template of an oeuvre that expresses the heights of melody and harmony, of joy, imagination, experimentation, composition, pathos, play and magic, storytelling, fecundity and artistic evolution. The fact that their special genius did not emerge individually or in a vacuum — they were inspired by the American blues and the rock and roll of Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins and the the wails of Elvis, by Roots music, folk, Indian, Baroque and the psychedelic — speaks to how all artists, great and small, have pulled from the diaspora of the collective imagination to re-imagine and advance art itself. “Good artists copy,” said Picasso, “great artists steal.”
So what would the world be, for everyone and especially for artists, had The Beatles never existed? Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis’s new rom-com Yesterday explores the possibility of such a travesty through the guitar of a failing street busker. Jack Malik, on the verge of giving up on his dream, discovers through a small set of fantastical circumstances that he’s the only person on the planet who remembers The Beatles. Jack takes it upon himself to capitalize on this glitch.
Whether as a plagiarist or a vessel — a deliveryman transmitting a vital, world-bettering message — Jack’s journey hints at the deeper mystery of where ideas germinate, how they come to life and the nature of auteur-ship and credit. “Ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners,” wrote Elizabeth Gilbert about inspiration’s mutable nature. “The only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.” Jack, alone in his parable, knows these are not his songs and as his adventure unfolds, he learns what all artists do: that the ownership of ideas might mean everything and nothing. What he does with this knowledge reminds us of why we make art in the first place.
PS: “I don’t believe in Beatles.” (John Lennon)
Esoterica: What are we, collectively, without our brothers and sisters, our heroes and heroines, the celebrated and forgotten fathers and mothers of the infinite Canon, those who came before us and on whose shoulders we work? “The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning,” wrote Robert Hughes in his hundred-year history of modern art, The Shock of the New. “It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.”
This workshop/retreat will be ideal for artists who are serious about improving their painting skills, but who also enjoy great food, terrific accommodations and a bit of adventure. The instructor has many years of experience in both teaching and painting and is dedicated to passing along her knowledge to those who are eager to learn. Small class size will insure individual attention. We will be working from life and previous experience mixing color will be necessary.
Casa Buena Art Retreat, between Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, is a calm and beautiful place to relax and explore your creative energy. Please check out their website for photos and detailed information about this exciting opportunity http://www.casabuenaartretreat.com/Retreat_LauraRobb.htm Non-painting travel companions are welcome too.
For more information on the instructor or to contact her, please visit http://LauraRobb.com