Recapturing Naivete

I remember the moment clearly: It is 2002, I’m in art school studying Media Arts & Animation, interning at Crossroads Community Church, and U2 released The Best of 1990-2000¬†along with a companion DVD featuring some amazing motion graphics. My friends and co-workers were very adamant, “We cannot show Chris this video, I think he’ll lose it.” Eventually, I watched it and they were right. I lost it. I was amazed at what I was seeing and the visuals would begin to shape me into what I would later become.

I was very much into computer graphics, animation and video. I was tireless, ready to absorb everything, eager to learn and push myself towards a standard that matched what I was witnessing in the U2 DVD as well as what my colleagues in art school were producing. It was an exciting time and I was very naive. I believed that other people valued the level of artistry in video and computer graphics. I believed that video and animation could change the world. I believed a lot of things that compelled me to continually create content. But the more I created, the more aware I became of the critics. The content became harder to produce because perfection was overshadowing excellence. Eventually, my naivete died in a glorious explosion of burnout and I stopped pursuing growth and telling stories. It was late 2005, I was unemployed, burnt out and completely unsure of who I was, what I believed, and where my life was headed.

Fast forward to today. It’s late 2011, six years later, and for the most part, I have been able to learn how to create content in the midst of a continuous state of burnout. Over the last few years, I have learned a few important lessons: First, burnout takes a long time to cure; second, once your innocence is lost, it takes a lot of time and energy to regain an intentionally-naive attitude that is necessary to endure in a creative career; and third, random acts of serendipity occur to hammer a metaphorical chisel into the years of accumulated ash upon my creative soul.

Today, I had a meeting at a really cool place. I could feel the excitement of all those years ago. I could feel my inner child screaming to be let out and revel in the visual joy that I was immersed in. I tried not to be too overtly excited, but deep down inside I could feel that battle happening. My naivete was coming out of its coma and ready to get back to work.