The world of art and creative expression is wildly subjective and when it comes to judging and reviewing creative projects like a movie, album, book, painting, etc, it’s almost all horse shit.
Let me explain myself. Let’s say that I am some sort of creative critic and you make a painting where the primary color used is blue. Well, my favorite color is red (it actually is), and because my favorite color is red and you did your painting in the color blue, I now dislike your painting because you didn’t do what I liked. Stupid, right? Right. Reviews and critics on a genre that is so subjective is silly. Yet, I am guilty of submitting my short film, No Runners, to countless film festivals in hopes that it is liked enough to be accepted and then, if it is accepted, hopeful that it can be liked enough by judges to win an award. It’s a weird cycle. But, my point is, art is subjective and I do my best to remain objective with everything I come across and realize there should be no rules, no guidelines, and no permission needed to go create something you want to create.
Finding your voice within this realm can be an interesting venture. Admittedly so, to some extent, everybody copies everybody. There are people that like my style of work and do their darnedest to copy it. There are others that like Wes’ style and do their best to copy it, and so on. For me, Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC, CBE is who I admire and have studied for years. Honestly, before I even knew who he was, I was trying to create his style of shooting without realizing it. Coming from a stills background, I wanted my moving images to feel like a photograph (enter the tripod). And then, I discovered the 2007 film, No Country for Old Men as shot by Deakins. The opening sequence left an indent on my mind for life. I have literally done pieces of work that are my attempt at copying what Deakins did in No Country so that I can better understand the approach and execution. I know we all say imitation is the kindest form of flattery, but I don’t buy it. Never have. Never will. It’s annoying and rude. When I’ve tried my half ass attempts at my own version of Deakins style, it isn’t to pay tribute or out of respect to him (though I do respect him dearly). Simply put, it’s to figure out how and why that style works and why I am so drawn to it. And, yes, this also makes me annoying and rude. No questions asked.
With that in mind, it has allowed me to find my own style and voice and apply the knowledge and tools I have learned over time to my own work. In doing so, I’ve learned one thing: if you have to ask permission to go create a piece of art (a video, a song, a painting, a design, write a book), you are not surrounded by the right people or clients. There is something that is inherently within me that drives me to create. Now, don’t get me wrong, I face burn out (I just went through it) and go through phases of having no interest in wanting to even look at my camera. However, that feeling, like the first time a girl tells you how ugly you are, is (hopefully) a temporary feeling.
When you have that desire in you and it’s on your own volition to create, you should never ask. Just go. What’s the point of this? My home at vurbmoto. Surely I’ve said it throughout the 98374 other articles I’ve written here, but I am a bit of an outcast and loner within the dirt bike world. I don’t go to the parties. I don’t run in any cliques. I don’t bro down at the races, and I don’t live anywhere near the 951/909 area codes. I keep to myself. I am saying this because it has, at times, made me feel very insecure in who I am as a creative individual. I rarely view anything that I do as good and, when surrounded in a world that is geared more towards those Instagram bangers (that I don’t do), it further drives home the feeling that my perceptions of how I capture the world are of no value or worth to the sport. Sadly, I have been told just that by industry colleagues. Granted, they did it with much less eloquence and finesse.
NOW, over the last year and half this feeling has slowly started to change. No Runners was the beginning of that change. In January of this year, I started seeing a psychologist once a week, which I am still doing to this day. It’s helped me to shed a lot of light on who I am, why I am who I am, and where all of my insecurities stem from and how to control them (a SLOW work in-progress). And, lastly, what vurbmoto is to me.
For better or worse, Wes, Chase, and Brent let me literally run wild. Remember earlier how I was saying you should never ask permission to go create? That’s my situation at vurbmoto. I don’t ask, I just disappear and come back with something. No questions asked. If you follow our Instagram account and haven’t figured out who is the asshole writing those really long and pointless captions… It’s me. Why? Again, they allow me to be the truest form of myself. I have joked in saying that my Instagram captions are a flaming indictment of the failure of the public school system to provide me with a creative writing class, but the reality is that is the truth. During my academic career, I actually had interest in becoming an author. I enjoyed writing stories and creating a world and a feeling. Now, this was tricky because I didn’t know how to read or write for a long time. So, it’s kinda like saying you’re deaf but want to be in a rock n’ roll band. “How da hell we gonna make that work?” I had begged for a creative writing course or even something of the sort in my English classes. But, the teachers never offered it. Didn’t think it was a good idea because that wasn’t a part of the course curriculum they put together. Thus, I have since discovered how to read (I am a painfully slow reader) and write, and this is why you get the most unusual and non-sensical Instagram captions.
Over the last year and half, I’ve really started to harness what was once the old version of myself. My younger self really enjoyed the incredibly odd writings (like you see on our Instagram account), very odd humor, art that others didn’t understand or relate to, a passion for music that meant something to me, certain aspects of American history and world history, etc. As I’ve aged, I fell further away from that. Unknowingly, I was trying to be creative without it being noticed. I have spent so much of my life being made fun of because of my style of humor, my style of work, my style of music, and more that I ended up trying to fly under the radar even more so then I already did. However, through my weekly therapy sessions and my home within vurbmoto, it’s all come together to help me find the person I once was. To be truly authentic to myself without a care for what others may think. To find my pointless Instagram captions incredibly hilarious to myself and to become comfortable with my visions of what I see behind the camera.
I’ve always wanted to learn more about philosophy and science, so over the last few months I’ve been listening to a podcast that has literal scholars and PhDs discussing different topics within philosophy, science, ethics, free will, the debate over the meaning of life, religion, and more. As somebody with comprehension issues, it’s difficult for me to follow along, but I am learning at least one thing each time and that helps me in feeling like a better and more accurate representation of me. This sport complains about the lack of personality, but the moment anyone shows a glimmer of personality, we then shut it down by saying they clearly aren’t serious and are not training enough or riding enough. It’s a perpetual lose, lose situation. Hell, I’ve even had “bosses” in the pass that have told me if I have a single interest outside of dirt bikes then it is evident I am not truly passionate about the post. Um, okay?
There are brands and companies that claim to be anti-establishment, but I have discovered first hand that they only mean it if you conform to their BUBBLE. Threaten that bubble by being authentic to yourself, and you are removed. vurbmoto, truly, is a rebel amongst followers. No other media outlet would dare allow their employees to write the words that I write on their social platforms, they wouldn’t dare allow their guy go create a piece like No Runners, or write some of the articles I have written here. I’m still waiting for the phone call from Brent, Chase, and Wes where they have a full on intervention with me because I’ve gone too far off the cliff, but so far it hasn’t happened…. Yet.
The moral of the story? Don’t ever ask permission to be yourself or let others tell you what to be or what to be interested in. Don’t ever ask permission to go create a piece of art. If somebody tells you no, then go ahead and do it anyways. People often make fun of the arts and don’t believe it’s a serious thing we need to be providing in schools for our youth. We need to teach Johnny how to play sports and how to be a team player and how to win and how to lose. We need businessmen and doctors and construction workers. Sure, I won’t argue any of that. But, I played a team sport once, quit, and never tried again. I never learned how to work with my hands and be that “handyman.” I barely graduated high school because of my own learning disabilities, and horrendous teachers teaching general ed. But, these kids that need the arts, guess what? They are the ones that create the greatest music, the greatest movies, the greatest books, and greatest paintings, the greatest designs that ALL OF US flock to in order to escape the chaos of our every day life. People make fun of the arts, yet have no idea how much of it they consume every single day of their lives. So, don’t ever deny somebody the opportunity to create.