Art: A Spectrum Theory

Art: A Spectrum Theory

As I often say, Art exists along a spectrum between Expression and Communication: the Artist expresses, and the Audience understands. (Dark Side of the moon REMAKE2, by Norman Bates.)  In what I call “the Spectrum Theory of Art,” artistic creativity runs along a triangular spectrum. At the origin – the narrowest  point – the Artist Expresses inspiration. At the point of broadest dispersal – the broadest extreme of the spectrum – that inspiration becomes mere information or sensation, with little or no personal connection to the Artist. Along the way, hopefully, Art hits a “sweet spot” where the Artist’s intended Read more »

Art is Work; Work has Value

Art is Work; Work has Value

(Image by Evangeline Neo of Evacomics; used by permission. See http://www.eva.sg/.) Art is work.  This is true of all artists: writers, musicians, dancers, photographers, actors, filmmakers, and so on and so on. All of it demands skilled labor, training, materials, passion, and an obsessive devotion that gobbles unimaginable amounts of time and focus. Art is not a plaything. It does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot happen without struggle and dedication to one’s craft. An artist must love the art, but cannot survive to DO that art on love alone. Art is not “data.” It can be playful, but the Read more »

Mage 20 Q&A, Part III: Mage and Various Mass Media

Mage 20 Q&A, Part III: Mage and Various Mass Media

PART III: MAGE’S MEDIA INFLUENCES   (Jaz Coleman – chaos magician and bandleader of Killing Joke.) Q: What are some of your favorite movies, TV shows, comedians, and musical artists? And how might they have influenced your work on Mage? For starters, I prefer artists and shows with something important to say. “Mindless entertainment” doesn’t really do much for me. A sense of passion is also vital. Especially given the vast landscape of art and entertainment we can access these days, I have no time or patience for stamped-out commercial product. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy big-budget spectacles Read more »

Mage 20 Q&A, Part II: Who's Satyr, and What Does He Have to do With Mage?

Mage 20 Q&A, Part II: Who's Satyr, and What Does He Have to do With Mage?

PART II: A SEATTLE SATYR IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS COURT (For Part I, click here.) (“Verbena,” from Mage: The Ascension 1st Edition; art by Michael William Kaluta.) Q: What’s your involvement with White Wolf, Onyx Path, and the World of Darkness? That short question has a very long and complicated answer. I’ll just give you the relatively simple version of events – it’ll still keep us busy for a while. I’d been a professional writer for around two years when my college friend, roommate, and gaming buddy Bill Bridges went to work for White Wolf in 1992. At the Read more »

Mage 20 Q&A, Part I: What IS Mage, Anyway?

Mage 20 Q&A, Part I: What IS Mage, Anyway?

PART I: WHAT’S MAGE, AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?   Q: For people who may not know about it already, could you please describe what Mage: The Ascension is all about, and tell us what Mage means to you? Put simply, Mage is a collaborative story-telling game about people who believe in what they do so strongly that their beliefs literally change the world. Such power, though, is dangerous. And because these “mages” – devotees of magic, faith and science – disagree about how it should be used, they wind up fighting shadow-wars to advance their various beliefs. Some pursue Read more »

A Testament of The Fragile Path

A Testament of The Fragile Path

…And I have seen it pass sterile into textbooks, just more facts to be learned to please a stern tutor, then forgotten when the lesson is over. But the lessons of the Awakened must never end. By the divine Avatar within each of us, we are bound to history just as we are charged to create it. We, of all mortals, cannot forget what has gone before us. Nor can we shunt it into scraps of paper and shove it onto library shelves, just another book to be checked out when required. We are history, the past, present, and future incarnate, Read more »

Art is Terror

Art is Terror

Art is terror. It is a sublime expression of human frailty and the urge to rise beyond it, capped by the fear that we cannot. If you feel scared when pursuing your art, then you’re doing it right.  By definition, the sublime space exists outside of your comfort zone and off in the realms of the gods. 

Appendix: A Game of You (Part 3.5 of 3)

Appendix: A Game of You (Part 3.5 of 3)

As a supplement to the three-part article I’ve been posting these last few days (and as part of the original article series in newWitch magazine), I commend the following works to gamers intrigued by “real world” magical/ spiritual elements. Cited authors are the primary creators. None of the following games feature “real-life” spellwork or demand the blood of innocents. Enjoy!  Ars Magica, by Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein•Hagen (many editions and publishers; currently Atlas Games, 2004) Armageddon, by C.J. Carella (Myrmidon Press, 1997; Eden Studios, 2003) Authentic Thaumaturgy, by Isaac Bonewits (Chaosium Games, 1978; Steve Jackson Games, 1998) Changeling: The Lost, Read more »

Gaming: From Premise to Print (Part 3 of 3)

Gaming: From Premise to Print (Part 3 of 3)

“The number one rule,” I said, “in storytelling is this: Keep your audience engaged!” It was winter 2008, and the geeky kid had become the seasoned pro, standing in front of two dozen students and teaching a course inconceivable in 1978: roleplaying game design. At the moment, RPGs are more popular – yet less profitable – than ever. Although MMORPGs(1) dominate pop culture, the book-based medium is a dying industry. High costs and low profits force even the most successful publishers to produce books at a loss. Fortunately, the independent game scene is booming. Technology (2) allows anyone with a computer, some software and Read more »

Gaming: Serious Fun (Part 2 of 3)

Gaming: Serious Fun (Part 2 of 3)

“It’s all yours. We don’t have the slightest idea what to do with it.” So spoke Ken Cliffe, my boss at White Wolf Game Studio, as he handed me the advance copy of Mage: The Ascension, first edition. This was 1993, and my introduction to game design. From summer ’93 until winter ’98, I helmed this purple-cloaked beast. Since then, I’ve managed other game lines, notably Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade and Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium. In that time, I’ve journeyed from part-time Pagan gamer to full-time Pagan author, learning volumes about magic, gaming, publishing and myself. I could fill a book Read more »