In honor of Gene Wilder I'm going to expand what I was going to write about today and start out with a little bit of a tribute to him. When I was young I watched Willy Wonka for the first time, I think I was at a friends house and I remember being in awe, but not of the fantastic sets or the dream job given to Charlie at the end, I was fascinated by Wonka. I think even then I knew that there was something a little strange about me, and the most relatable character for me was not the kids about my age, but this kind of grumpy kind of off middle aged man (I still tend to relate to kind of strange old men, ask me about my stand-up viewing habits) . He lived in his own world, that anything that he could dream up he would make happen, and I found that incredible. I knew I needed to make a world for myself, and that movie gave me permission to retreat when I had to.
I spend a lot of time alone, I didn't as a kid, but I like being alone now and I think that was another thing I had in common with Wonka. My circle is small and strong and I think that's really important as an artist. I can say with confidence that I am the most stereotypical introvert that walks the earth. The only kind of conversation that gives me energy is really stimulating conversation, I don't like crowds, and after a long day I need to decompress whether it's painting or writing I need to get away. I even sometimes get nervous being around people that I know and love and trust (for the most part, but we're not getting into that)
I digress, the fact that someone could be so strange and so creative and so charismatic made me feel like I didn't have to make the effort to "fit in", and I didn't. I'm still friends with the same weirdos I was 18 years ago, and I've added important people to that circle since, but they supported me in my strangeness and encouraged it. Saying yes when I asked them to do weird things like cover themselves in glitter or get naked and put paint on their bodies. Not hesitating to take a hysterical call even though they're all the way across the country and are dealing with their own stuff. Telling me I could make it through what seemed like an endless grueling "art bootcamp" that was my senior year.
I don't know why this particular death is hitting me so hard, I think its a lot of sentiment and thinking about the bits and pieces of my childhood that imagination and creativity were essential to how we played (fairy houses, our own game of life).
I think it reminds me that I should keep a little bit of that awe of a man who lives in his imagination and allow my own imagination to dictate my art a little more. To free myself of the restraints of second guessing and being too careful.
So I suppose, come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination.