By Trent Rentsch
The party shows no sign of slowing down in the virtual Creative Tap Room, as Creatives from a variety of disciplines gather to ponder the question, “Where does your Creativity come from?”
If you’ve read this column anytime in the past few years, it’s no secret to you that one of my passions is magic. I’ve always felt that, at its best, it’s one of the most Creative entertainment arts. So it will come as no surprise that I’ve invited a couple of Wizards to the party. Although, it KIND of surprised everyone else when they appeared in a flash of light and a puff of smoke…
The first to step up is Jay Sankey. I’ve talked about Jay in the past… a “magician’s magician,” who invents magic effects that have been performed by about every contemporary magician you can name. He’s a gifted performer in his own right, both as a magician and a stand-up comedian. You can find examples of his work at his website, sankeymagic.com. He has more energy than any 10 people combined, and when he puts his sharp mind to something… stand back! When asked where his Creativity comes from, there’s no hesitation in his answer, even as it begins with questioning the question:
“Why not ask where it is going (instead of where it comes from?) I think it is an instinct, a desire, probably ultimately a coping mechanism for some people we tend to call ‘artists.’ Some are driving to KNOW, some ENCOURAGE, and some to frick around with! Create. To influence the world ‘in our (thoughts) own image.’
For me it comes down mostly to a sense of PLAY + my ego’s desire to IMPACT.
I love creating ‘effects!’”
As he proves that love by making my wife’s wedding ring disappear, then reappear in a chunk of ice from her drink, I reflect on his “Jeopardy-like” answer. Where is our Creativity going? What’s the point? In the radio production world, are we being strategically Creative, in an effort to lure customers for our clients… or are we simply entertaining ourselves with all the witty audio gymnastics we can Create? It’s an important distinction.
As the applause for Jay’s icy illusion dies down, I introduce our other guest Wizard. Kenton Knepper is another “magician’s magician,” who has also spent his life Creating magic and mind reading illusions for the magic community. In addition to Creating and performing magic over the years, Kenton is also passionate about music and sound. He plays the Tibetan Bowls, and has released several CDs (you can find his work at bowlsounds.com). He is a teacher, a writer, and a believer in the power inside every person. As you might imagine, his journey is spiritual and reflective, which isn’t necessarily the norm among magicians (long story… goes back to Houdini. Remind me to tell you sometime). He doesn’t care. He doesn’t have to. His body of work is considered groundbreaking in the world of magic. We have just lately become friends, but I already consider him one of my Creative brothers and a kindred spirit when it comes to believing in the power of sound and magic. His answer to our Creative question is as thoughtful and articulate as he is:
“Being Creative is being. It is allowing. It is a flow that is fully in the moment. Sometimes it is more of a drift than a flow, but without such drift I think society would be even more adrift. I often joke that my Creative abilities are “Channeling.” I am there, I participate to a degree, but ultimately I am the one observing and experiencing as the Creative Act occurs. This is why I can listen to my music and think, ‘It was amazing how they did that’ or ‘the Instruments decided to play in such a way.’ Often people have made brilliant statements to me and when I tell them so, they tell me I wrote it in some book or article. That’s how I know that Art and Creativity is about something More...because it certainly is more than the little aspect of me and my thinking. A Creative Knows Something is within them, and perhaps within all, and that’s what does the work. We all grumble at times because our bodies are the ones that have to do the physical part, like writing long hours or touring, when it is that Something within that does most of the rest of it. Call it “subconscious”, “Superconscious”, “Collective Unconscious” a “Muse” or a “Higher Power” it is that Connection to Something that comes through and makes all creativity divine, even if one does not believe in divinity.”
We are, therefore we Create. Sounds about right. Most Creatives I know are just drawn to it like a moth to the flame. Or Kenton to the card someone just selected…
The hour grows late, and I see our Server headed to the table with, “LAST CALL” on her face. But one or two guests still haven’t arrived. Hopefully they’ll show. At this rate, I need a designated driver.