When Process Trumps Results
I’ve always like to make, build, and take stuff apart. My early curiosity lead the dissection of a battery. I was 8 at the time and was intrigued by the “Coppertop” commercial where the battery swung open on a hinge. I wanted to know if it actually worked that way. Needless to say, it didn’t. Batteries don’t have hinges.Not to be deterred by my first experience with deception in advertising, I began to peel away at the D-cell battery. What I found was a pool of black acid that surrounded a metal layers. Which lead to battery acid leaking all over my toy room and a heavy scolding from my mother.
My innate curiosity has fueled much of my learning. I have constantly tried to figure out how something was done and how someone might do it better.
Thank God for fellows like the Patron Saint of Process, Austin Kleon. Author of such titles as Show Your Work. Kleon best describes it as “a book about how to influence others by letting them steal from you.” This is best done by displaying your process and allow others to emulate you.
I contend that artists and creators show their work and sometimes the process is as great as the art.
Which brings me to Frank Howarth, wood worker extraordinaire, and his fascinating videos. In a recent video he showed the process and mindscape behind crafting an ornate wooden bowl. The end result was one of exceptional beauty and aesthetic, but the real art was in his telling of the story and showing his works.
Frank is hardly a flashy guy. He looks like just about every other dude in Portland, a plain dressed guy in horn-rim glasses. The brain behind the unassuming exterior crafts some exquisite pieces, but even more exquisite are his videos on the process. They are aesthetically simple but well executed basic process footage coupled with stop motion animation and simply narrated by Frank’s monotone. He leads people on his adventure from concept to finished product.
Sometimes process and documentation is nearly as good, if not better than the end result (whatever form that may take). And often in life the story is more powerful and beautiful than the genuine article. Make good art, because one cannot exist without the other.