The arrival of an epiphany is often preceded by a big life change; for example, your first child is born and your whole world is different, or you get fired, decide your true passion for pie baking was being impeded by your accounting job and you use your retirement savings to start a bakery named after your childhood imaginary friend. Sometimes epiphanies are modest, and not so epic in their arrival, but still worthy of investigation. Example: I had what might be considered a second-hand epiphany while watching “Knocked Up.” Remember that scene when Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd take mushrooms and watch Cirque Du Soliel? As one performer steadies himself upon the hands of the standing performer below him, Seth Rogen has an epiphany and says: “Whoa! Those guys are at work right now.”
That was it.
From then on every time I saw a person enjoying themselves while doing something odd, or cool, or challenging in order to make a living, that line would pop up again. “They’re at work right now.” The guys jousting at Medieval Times—they’re at work right now. That lady handing out samples of her mouth-watering dried sausages at the farmer’s market in the middle of the Marais—she’s at work right now.
I also started to realize that when you are an artist, you are always at work. Everything an artist makes is a form of self-portraiture, and so everything an artist does is part of their work. We see, listen, feel and taste, and then we process all of this information and project it back into the world in the form of song, painting, writing, film, food, wine, clothing, architecture, photography, design—you get the picture. The title for this blog is a nod to this second-hand epiphany. We like thinking about what a person’s work looks like, whether you are paid handsomely or otherwise, big or small, each of us has a line of work.