Being Willing To Be Silly: a matter of life or death

I am in the thick of it with The Creative Hours, and am loving the process of research and reflection. Nonetheless, all this deep thinking about creativity reminds me that it is essential to keep a sense of humor about the whole shebang.  On that note, I hope you enjoy Groucho Marx’s line from Animal Crackers as much as I do. I may adopt it as a motto for this blog:

“Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… now you tell me what you know.” – Groucho Marx

Being willing to be silly is an essential ingredient to creative flow and the survival of an artistic soul. Making fun of oneself, turning reality on its head, and flirting with the lack of meaning is a way of keeping the blood flowing and the molecules dancing.  I’d go as far as to say that being at play is the opposite of deathly stasis.

Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor. – Stewart Brown, MD,  Psychiatrist

While play is a no laughing matter, it is conversely true that humor touches the very deepest of human truths. Richard Avedon reflects this in his SERIOUSLY beautiful portraits of iconic comedians.

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Groucho Marx by Richard Avedon
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Buster Keaton by Richard Avedon
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Charlie Chaplin by Richard Avedon

Further Reading and Supplies:

Richard Avedon Photographs Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946-2004 includes 125 reproductions of Avedon’s greatest work from the entire range of his oeuvre-including fashion photographs, reportage and portraits-and spans from his early Italian subjects of the 1940s to his 2004 portrait of the Icelandic pop star Bjork.

 

The Groucho Letters: from and to Groucho Marx   The Groucho Letters reveals one of the twentieth century’s greatest comedian’s private insights into show biz, politics, business, and, of course, his illustrious personal life.

 

 

Official Groucho Glasses. Get seriously silly, pronto!

Author: Alex Posen

Alex Posen is an artist, writer, designer and veteran creative director. She writes and speaks about creativity, and is available for workshops, private coaching and consulting.