On Medium And Materials

We may have a vision for what we want to create, but the medium and the materials we are working with have a say as well.

Between inspiration, intention, and creation, things often change, and the way that our work manifests may be totally different than what we first envisioned.

This is part of the creative process and it is okay.

Our job is to pay attention to what presents itself and how.

Our role is to honor what the medium and the materials are trying to tell us, show us, and teach us.

Listen to them. Look at them. Hear them. See them. Feel them. Taste them.

Explore them. Play with them. Argue with them. Grapple with them.

Love them. Hate them. Question them. Submit to them.

But, in the end, when we have done all that we can do and our work is on the page, the canvas, the recording, the film, or the plate, we must accept that the art is going to be what it is going to be, whether or not we cooperate.

Resisting the art will not make better art.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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