I was listening to a podcast on a very wet dog walk today. The podcast was WTF with Marc Maron and it was a replay of an interview he did with Anthony Bourdain in 2011 – http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/repost-anthony-bourdain-from-2011
I would not describe myself as a fan of Bourdain and in fact had never really seen him on television, presuming him (short-sightedly it appears) to be the usual sort of bombastic, macho, shouty chef that populates cooking programmes worldwide.
However the interview was fascinating and the man himself a delightful interviewee. I took notes on a couple of things Bourdain said that could apply across the board to any creative and which particularly resonated with me:
- Bourdain was (very sad to use the past tense) highly suspicious of anyone or anything that claims certainty, asserting that there is one certain way to do something and all doubt has therefore been eliminated. One of Bourdain’s many tattoos is an Ancient Greek saying which translates as “I am certain of nothing”. One of my old school teachers, Mr Lewin, used to begin every first lesson with a new class year by saying “Do not believe a word I say merely because I say it” and every pupil who was taught by him remembers this phrase as it was perhaps the first time any adult had told us we were able to question authority and accepted norms.
- Bourdain says that the greatest food is often the simplest food, made with the fewest ingredients but cooked with love and passion and integrity. The ingredients don’t have to be expensive or ‘pure’ (could be a tin of tomatoes rather than fresh for e.g.) and the location for the meal doesn’t have to be fancy (roadside food stand rather than Michelin starred restaurant) but the chef’s heart and soul has to be in it otherwise they food they produce is in danger of being cynical and bad.
- Bourdain talked about the greatest chefs he has encountered over the years including one sushi chef who has been trying to make one particular kind of sushi for many years in an effort to perfect it. Bourdain says often the best chefs are those who limit their repertoires, making the same thing over and over with each iteration learning from the last.
All of the above could be applied to the task of making contemporary jewellery. Change the food for materials and the general creative philosophy crosses boundaries.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
Worstword Ho (1983) Samuel Beckett