What I have Learned.

I can never claim to be a spiritual teacher or expert on creativity. But I can share what I’ve learned over the years as an artist.

This quote really spoke to me for it’s raw truth. This is the reason why I asked the question in my book “Why do you want to do a show?” It’s too intense to pursue and carry out for someone who doesn’t completely love it.

When I was young, I loved drawing. But some people started treating me as”special” because I did it well. It never occurred to me. I just felt clicked in when I did it. Then in high school, people would say “Gee Joe, you’re going to be rich and famous!” solely because of my cartoons in the school paper.

Wait, what??

From there I sort of felt like if I didn’t become rich and famous, I was failing. ( obviously myself or these well-meaning prognosticators had no clue about the reality of the art or cartoon business). Cue a period of time of uninspired art, failed attempts and getting a comic strip ( with horrendous submissions), and excessive drinking.

It wasn’t until I quit drinking and stopped trying to be rich and famous, did my creativity and joy come back. Then I found animation and I was in heaven. I had no preconceived notions of the outcome. And we know what happens when you create from that.

I have to say that over the years I’ve dipped in and out of ego influence ( like when Steve created a yellow sponge with the same crew I had that exploded in popular culture. My ego had a field day with that one.) And the whole act of having your own show pumps your ego up. But what I learned, is that there is a start and stop to the different phases of a show. There is no real love from a network. The “love” from an audience is conditional. The money is sometimes abundant, sometimes not. You often don’t have love from the animation community because of either envy or saying you ripped someone else off. ( but some will act like your friend because they want a job) All aspects are fleeting and decompose quickly. It’s all impermanent.

If you don’t find your joy in something real, you are in for a lifetime of suffering. There are no lawyers involved in real creativity. It flows to you from beyond. A great artist is simply a well-tuned radio picking up the right inspired signals from the universe. But the channel needs to be clear. Maintained. At the service of the broadcast. A radio can’t take credit for the entertainment that comes through it any more than you can honestly take credit for any art or writing you do.

Sorry to break it to you.

So why use it for any other purpose other than to enrich us all? The money will come. Providence provides a good warranty to keep the radio warm and fed.

Just something I’ve learned.

6 Responses

  1. Hi, Joe. I’m probably in the minority, but I can’t stand that yellow sponge. He’s majorly annoying. Rocko on the other hand was a joy to have because he’s a competent character who strives for a better life. I wish the world could appreciate Rocko more. I was excited about the announcement of Static Cling, but then I got upset that Netflix picked it up because it meant to me that Nickelodeon threw it away and thus Rocko’s return never really happened, like the special was cancelled. I wish I knew for sure Nickelodeon acknowledges Rocko and Static Cling. Rocko means so much to me. Sorry if I’m upsetting you in any way.

  2. Does not upset me at all. But I like that Netflix picked it up. If Nick ran it, it would only show once. On Netflix, it will be on for a couple of years for anyone to watch. I personally believe it scared the crap out of Nickelodeon to show it.

    And although the yellow sponge is too merchandised for my taste, I still can’t separate from Steve, who I loved.

  3. Hi Joe,
    I heard you got that Quote from “Joseph Gordon Levitt”, do you admire what types of stuff he did that goes beyond creativity as well as for filmmaking? I can see the similarities between the two of you, since you guys are meant for creativity and using to cope with problems.

  4. As much as I love your cartoons, I will always back you up on your decisions. I may not have experience in the animation industry, but I’ve seen second hand how brutal and cruel networks and producers could be. I’m sorry for how much turmoil the greedy guys may have caused you over the years.. You’re very cool, and I admire your ability to recognize some of these things you blog about a whole lot. Most importantly, I don’t like Rocko because it’s on Nickelodeon, I like Rocko because you made it. You, your words, and your cartoons are an inspiration for my own artwork and likely many other fans.

    1. Thank you for your note Eric. The “greedy guys” are just doing the job they were told to do, to keep the machine running. They are still good people at the core, (although a bit misguided as to the methods they use to achieve their desired result ). Except for Rocko, I knew what I was getting into. It’s all part of everyone’s path.

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