Why Are We Doing This?
One of the common questions asked among ‘creative types’ is this: Why do we do what we do? Why do we create?
The answer is different for everyone, of course. Yesterday we asked Sima and Macie from Chicago-based rock band Ohmme about the struggles of playing in a band full-time and also holding down jobs. They mentioned that it takes a toll on your mental state as well as your body, voice, and social life. “You have to really want it,” Sima told us.
In my life, creating has always been a given. In kindergarten, I was famous with the volunteer moms at school that counted lunch money, because instead of writing on the envelope “Jim Bloniarz - Room 100” in regular handwriting, I draw each letter like it was a different font. I’m sure it took me 15 minutes every morning. Why bother doing that, just to give it to the volunteers and never see it again? I’m not sure. But that spirit hasn’t left me.
My dad believes in manual labor. He doesn’t hire people to do things that he could do himself. Growing up, the weekends at my house were often times for fixing things, cleaning things, seeding the lawn (brutal), putting up Christmas decorations, taking down Christmas decorations, and so on. I actually learned many of the skills that have helped in this RV renovation from the times I spent helping my dad fix things around the house. But there was one particular thing that my dad did that I will never forget. Once we finished with a big job — let’s say we were shoveling snow off the back patio area — he would insist that we take a few seconds and look at what we accomplished. No photos, no showing anybody else, just a few moments where we got to enjoy the finished product.
I think in my own creative life, I take my dad’s concept of ‘smelling the roses’ and push it over the edge. When I finish a video, I watch it endlessly, as if I’m going to notice something different on the 20th time. In high school, I used to listen to my own band’s music on repeat when we finished a record. I have a theory that the longer I am able to watch a video or listen to a song, without getting bored, the better that video or song is. In college I listened to a Rick Ross song called “Usual Suspects” on repeat for 8 hours while I made a piece of art for a contest. I ended up winning the contest, and I’ve always felt like I might owe Rick a slice of the prize money.
But in the bigger picture, it’s easy to see that some people are hungry to create, and that hunger never goes away. The momentary fixation on a finished product gets swept away by the next project. And that’s one of the reasons why The Unknown Tour was a project that we felt was worth pursuing. It’s a 3-month shoot that will be followed by months of creative work on the back-end. It won’t be an easy thing to finish and forget about. We will experience excitement, exhaustion, pride, frustration, and endless other emotions — about this project. We won’t be able to escape it.
And at the end of the day [or, rather, the end of the year] that’s really why we are doing this. To create an experience that we can own and share forever.