Principles and Observations

Every Wednesday morning I’ve been taking a little time to reflect, taking John Harvey’s Principles and Observations as a prompt.

This is more about reflecting on my creative practice, rather than Resonate, but I thought it’d be nice to share here anyway.

For example, taking the points:

  • Discover ways by which to defamiliarize the artwork at hand. Make it look strange to you or other than your own.
  • A sense of fun, enjoyment, and fulfilment are not reliable criteria by which to judge the success or otherwise of an artwork.
  • However, if there is no fun, enjoyment, and fulfilment in the doing of it, then, something is seriously amiss.
  • Resign yourself to producing a great deal of nonsense. It provides the necessary coarse aggregate of your foundations.

I found them useful as I’ve been trying to find love and joy again in playing the guitar (an instrument that has become overfamiliar to me, to the point of boredom). Thinking this way gave me the confidence to ignore all my weirdo avant-garde leanings, go backwards, and just learn old songs I loved in my teenage years (a lot of Dinosaur Jr and Slint so far). Basically, I’m playing for fun again, with no pressure to fit into the creative box I’ve put myself in. I’m gonna go through a lot of fun crap before I get to any creative breakthroughs, and that’s okay.

The Principles and Observations come from an Art School context (also something I’m familiar with as it’s my background) but I feel they can easily be applied elsewhere e.g. the limitations of a painting colour palette could be applied to working with the limitations of a coding language. YMMV but I find them lovely to stroll through and thought others might too.


I’m more of an Art Sqool person myself

But I like the points outlined above and find myself actually already using them / relating to them a lot in my daily musical practice. (I say this because it’s rare that I align with any kind of “practice convention” I often find them unhelpful)


Haha, looks great!