In the gym, consistent work and repetition over a given length of time tend to give the best results. This is the definition of targeted practice. In art and music, I don’t simply make art just to make art, nor do I simply view creating a masterpiece as the act of creating a so-called masterwork (something which I cannot say I ever have done). I view the action of creating art in very much the same way as a bodybuilder might approach “winning a contest” —that is to say that these actions are not one singular activity but a series of coordinated repetitions of varied movements, gestures, and processes; each undertaken with specific methods of analysis, synthesis, deconstruction, and reconstitution; in varying degrees of abstraction and signification; all united under their own means of the record keeping unique to each medium (i.e. score production, audio recording, photography, videography, painting, drawing, and so forth).
2. Art is not always a team sport and it is alright to work alone.
While I have been in various bands and performance groups, and even in an art collective (which seemed to deny my membership amidst their self-avowed “radical inclusivity”), I still have to admit that there is nothing more satisfying to me than participating in the creative equivalency of a solo sport. I am hardly interested in any egalitarian approach to aesthetics as I have learned that living in any city within the narrow confines of what constitutes American society will make the search —that is my search— for others next to impossible, that search for those who hold similar interests and are open and transparent about them (i.e. free jazz, Stockhausen, Murillo, the aesthetics of bondage and fetishism, Bataille, abstraction and cut-ups, and on and on).
What was appealing about bodybuilding to me were not the results or even the activity itself, but the unsocial nature of being in the gym. Like anything else in late-capitalism, bodybuilding has been co-opted for economic reasons to profit off of various powders and pills, garments and slogans, and has become a cultural meme in and of itself. None of this existed when I first began, nobody seemed interested in going to the gym with me, but now that our cultural wasteland is awash with viral reminders of fitness and millions of sales in pseudo-scientific theories about workout timing, dietary scheduling, and supplementation, and so forth, the solo sport has become a mass movement of impoverished wage-slaves struggling —as Zizek has said— to perfect their only real possession, that of their own bodies, their personal machines of flesh, blood, bone, and muscle. Perhaps the only authenticity left today is an authentic aversion to popularity, to followers and to social media. An authenticity I wish to express in my art by way of expressing the path of the loner and the rebel in a society of social media driven fads.
3. Repetition is key.
If I want to work my chest and triceps, I have a set number of exercises and a set number of reps that I am going to aim to achieve. If I fail on the sixth rep of my last set of eight reps, I will return to the gym and try again after I have rested. This is the key to targeted practice. I know at the beginning of any given week what specific projects are currently underway and what I need to accomplish these things. I know that by the end of a given day I will have produced X amount of drawings and written a certain amount of music, and perhaps read and watched relevant materials. I am not even thinking about whether or not this particular piece or that particular piece is what I need to create to become famous, or how many 'likes' it will garner on social media. I am thinking only about progress, growth and transcendence of my former self —a self that was weaker in terms of sublimation and self-awareness, a self that could not attempt to start what I plan on being able to accomplish in the not so distant future. It is the only way to look at one’s work and generate a personal mythology or similar narrative (that is a mythology generated from the meager materials that have been deterministically bestowed upon the artist by the circumstances into which he was born, which are in my case, those of a Native American from a relatively poor family, who has grown to be estranged from his parents and siblings in adulthood).