Phaidon continue to publish beautiful books. Akademie X : Lessons in Art + Life is one of them. It is a practical guide to the creative process and offers the processes behind the creative practice of 36 working artists and writers. Each “tutor” is featured in turn with c/v page followed by instructional/theoretical essays on working as an artist. Each artist in turn offers an assigned reading, viewing and listening list of various lengths. The format of the book is quite enjoyable and I took it as an opportunity to mimic the format as below.
Tutor: Justin Patrick Moore
Born/Lives: 1979 Cincinnati, Ohio
Training: Antioch College drop-out.
Public Library: As a self-taught autodidact the library has not only been the provider of my financial survival, but is a work place where I continue to pursue an ongoing edumacation.
Active apprentice in a school of the Western Mystery Tradition with a few affiliations to other lodges & groups.
Founder: Sothis Medias & Oneiric Imprint
Underground Rivers, poems 2015
The Dyslexicon issues 1-8, editor and contributor.
Water in the Dry Land 2012
The Library Angel & It’s Oracle, in issue 4 of Abraxas
Music from Sirius: The Dreams of Karlheinz Stockhausen
Many Chapbooks from Aurore Press.
Radio Work: Founder, The Psychedelicatessin 1998-2000 on the pirate radio station Anti-Watt in Yellow Springs. Programmer on Art Damage on WAIF 88.3 FM from around 2001-2003/4. Programmer on On the Way to the Peak of Normal (also on WAIF) from 2005-2014… taking over responsibility for the show in 2012.
Bands: The Astral Surf Gypsies (1996-2005), WildCraft (1998-), Neato Torpedo (I joined up with these guys in 2002). The Hollow Crown (2013 -)
As a kid I took a bunch of crayons and heated them up with a blow dryer and worked with melting them onto a piece of paper. This is when I first knew I was an artist. I knew I was a writer when I started mimicking the trashy fantasy novels and Dungeons & Dragons tie-in material I read. Later, in high-school, when I realized I sucked at playing the guitar and dissolved the first punk band I was in, I fell in love with the tape deck and the ability to edit a collaged sequence of sounds and speech. This was before I’d ever run across Burrough’s cut-up experiments or Genesis’ splinter-test theory on sampling as a type of holographic magic. My primary motivation in making my first tapes was to create something which would trigger a sense of deja vu in the listener. And/or cause them to question the very nature of reality itself.
Later I became involved in “The Art”, the quintessence from which all of the other arts flow: Magic (at the time usually spelled with a K). I embraced Thelema and Crowley’s system. Though I now view it as flawed, it triggered a number of solar flares that set me on a path of continued creativity, yet also forced me to meet up with the unraveller on several occasions.
I hadn’t yet learned to appreciate the beauty of discipline, of work habits as regular as bowel movements. I still struggle with maintaining the practice because my mind is as changeable and whimsical as the wind. The only work habit I really have maintained is my work at the library, and too much reading.
After a year and a half of college I realized I would be better off dropping out. I had wanted a degree in religious studies and psychology, but realized the study of occultism, and the ideas of Wilhelm Reich and Carl Jung wouldn’t get me a day job. Perhaps I was just too immature and pessimisitic to see how I could marry my true vocation with a means for making a living in the world. All those Crass albums I’d listened to as a teenager had really sunk deep into me. It seemed safer to leave behind the trustafarians of the campus -though I will always have a love for Antioch and Yellow Springs- to focus on having a day job, and later a girlfriend who became my wife and a family. Along the way I have still managed to write and get published & self-publish, do readings, make music, play shows and have albums put out out and put albums out, and make the occasional visual piece. I continue to work in my training as an apprentice Western Mystery Tradition magician.
In this respect it is worth contemplating what it means to be a local artist/writer. Someone who is dedicated to not just the arts and cultural life of a given town or city, but someone who embraces the deeper dynamics of the bioregion. As resources around the world dwindle, “being an artist” on the world stage may end up being more about setting up a stage in your back yard for community theater, a noise show, or a poetry reading. It may be more about turning the spare room in your house, and using your spare time, to set up the business of running a small and independent multimedia firm. It may mean creating a home where using Less Energy Stuff and Stimulation becomes a way of life.
The book Akademie X is thus a helpful guide for aspiring artists who would rather bypass the clotted arteries of the educational system, skip out on the exorbitant debt, and do it themselves.
Workshop 1: Get yourself a cheap spiral notebook. If it was trash picked, all the better. Begin the practice of keeping a dream journal. This is a place where you can let your mind and soul ferment. Every dream is a potential poem, story, painting, or at least a lesson telling you how you need to drink less alcohol and quit smoking cigarettes. To sleep better take cat naps and draw or write the hypnagogic imagery. These journals will become treasure troves to dumpster dive when the dreaded block has overtaken you. This practice is a basic way of opening yourself up to influences from beyond, and beginning to let them percolate in your work.
Warm Up Exercises:
-20 minute meditation
-tarot readings on the work in progress, using the cards to help decide direction of a chosen project
-freestyle chanting to loosen up
Elders: It’s always good to continue to have mentors to to for advice concerning the Great Work. Mine have tended to be more informal, so in keeping with born again pagan tradition, I consider them more as elders. Hang out with the older artists in your area and do some chores for them. You will learn so much.
Assigned Reading. As a library worker this list is extremely incomplete.
-Delany, Samuel R. The Neveryona novels: Tales from Neveryon, Neveryona, Flight from Neveryon, & The Bridge of Lost Desire. These works are semiotic masterpieces. If you have time read all of his novels to learn how to properly construct a sentence. Dhalgren, Triton, Nova, Babel-17 and Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand are my other top Delany picks.
-Ballard, J.G. Highrise This book is an in depth look at the psychology of the XVIth tarot trump, the Tower.
-Robinson, Kim Stanley: Three Californias trilogy sets out three possible futures for Orange County. His novels Shaman, set in the earth previous ice age and 2312 set approx 300 years from now, are a great resource for anyone interested in landscape art.
-Lopez, Barry: Crow and Weasel. To learn about storytelling.
-Moss, Robert: Conscious Dreaming & Dreamgates. The basic texts from Moss to help you get started exploring the dreamworld.
– Ayers, Nigel: The Bodmin Moor Zodiac. An account of Mr. Ayers ritual walks and psychogeographical workings in Cornwall.
-Legard, Phil: Psychogeographia Ruralis. An essay on music composition, magic and psychogeography.
-Silverman, Kenneth: Begin Again, A Biography of John Cage
This fascinating biography gives many techniques to plunder from.
-Ende, Michael: The Neverending Story. Many keys to the mysteries are contained in this work.
-Dick, Phillip K.: The VALIS trilogy for basic gnostic reality rewiring.
-Holmgren, David: Permaculture, Principles and Practices Beyond Sustainability
Snyder, Gary: The Real Work
Assigned Album Listening:
-The Incredible String Band: Wee Tam/The Big Huge
-Shirley Collins: False True Lovers, Power of the True Love Knot, Love Death & The Lady.
– Current 93: Thunder Perfect Mind, Of Ruine or Some Blazing Star, All the Pretty Horses
-Karlheinz Stockhausen: Hymnen, Tierkreis, Licht opera cycle, Trans, & Sternklang to get started
-John Cage: Complete Sonatas & Interludes for prepared piano, Anarchic Harmonies, Thirteen Harmonies, any and all.
– Nurse With Wound: Second Pirate Session, Soliloquy for Lilith, Funeral Music for Perez Prado, An Awkward Pause, etc.
– Coil: Musick to Play in the Dark vol. 1 & 2, Love’s Secret Domain, Remote Viewer, The New Backwards, Ape of Naples, ElPh vs. Coil and the rest of their discography.
-Joe Meek: I Hear a New World, It’s Hard to Believe It compilation
– Sun Ra: Other Planes of There, Atlantis, The Solar Myth Approach
-Crass: Feeding of the 5,000, Christ-the album
-Chumbawumba: Jesus H. Christ
-Negativland: Escape from Noise, Helter Stupid, Dyspepsia
-Legendary Pink Dots: Nemesis Online, Asylum, A Perfect Mystery, The Maria Dimension, Ancient Daze…
-Nocturnal Emission: Blasphemous Rumors, Invocation of the Beast Gods, Nightscapes, Stoneface Spiritflesh, Mouth of Babes
-Terry Riley: In C, Atlantis Nath, Shri Camel, Aleph, Chanting the Light of Foresight, Harp of New Albion, Assassin Reverie, Book of Abbeyzoud
Assigned Film Viewing:
-Mullholland Drive (2001)
– Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
– Gummo (1997)
– El Topo (1970)
-Innauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)
-Blood Sucking Freaks (1976)