Fly Tying, Art and the Creative Process

Last night I watched a fascinating documentary called Full Tilt Boogie, which was about the filming of one of my favorite movies of all time From Dusk Till DawnIt actually made working on a film set, at least a non-union, independent film set, look  a lot like one of those “not really a job” jobs that I remember so fondly from my misspent youth (and my misspent early adulthood). It also did an excellent job showing that the mass majority of people who work in the movies are real people and not all… Hollywoody. Even the actors seemed pretty legit.

That’s until the interview with Harvey Keitel. 

Mr. Keitel, as I’m sure he prefers to called, came off as a pretentious asshat. He spent most of the interview (which was the one and only time he allowed himself to be seen in the documentary (and only because Quentin Tarantino did the interview)) talking about “his process” and “his art”.

“Ah,” I thought as I rolled my eyes so loudly I was worried I would wake up the kids. “Here’s the Hollywood douchery I expected.” My next thoughts were “shut-up and just do your fucking job Keitel”, “creative process my ass” and so on.  If you didn’t notice, I have very little patience for that kind of thing.

Then I started to think about my “art”, fly tying. I’m not even sure why put “art” in quotations. Fly tying is an art. I’d be lying to myself and everyone else if I tried to claim any differently.Feathers and fur tied onto a hook in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing to the human eye and appetizing to a fish has to be art doesn’t it? And there most definitely is a creative process to making a fly, especially one that’s original, be it original to the person tying it or the world at large.

Yep, looks like art.

I personally find myself thinking about fly tying, or “my art”, quite a bit actually. How can I tweak this fly to make it swim better? What can I do to get that greyish, brown-olive color of a BWO just right? What if instead of marabou I use arctic fox or Finnish raccoon fur? What if this fly were articulated…

So what I want to say is I’m sorry. Sorry for being a big ‘ol hypocrite when it comes to the creative process and other peoples art. But not sorry for calling Harvey Keitel an asshat. Any one who goes around talking about “his art” and “his process” is, and will always be an pretentious asshat.

6 thoughts on “Fly Tying, Art and the Creative Process

  1. I like your rant.
    yet, Keitel has all the record he needs to be a pretentious ass in my book. Bad Lieutenant alone is worth more than most guys in California can boast in a lifetime. Now add Mr. Wolf and Mr. White, and the dude with the camera in Smoke…and that’s from 92 to 95.
    amazing.

    • Honestly his attitude surprised and upset me more than a little bit. I’m fan and still will watch anything he’s in, but out of all the people on that movie set he was the only one who put off that arrogant ” but I am an ACTOR” vibe…
      On the other hand he was by far the best actor on the set. :?

      • well, I guess the entertainment industry is toxic for your sanity.
        being partial, I’d say that maybe the guy takes his job very seriously, explaining why you don’t see him often in those endless multi-millions shitjobs Hollywood thumps on our undeserving souls.

        • Yeah, I think you’re right about me and the entertainment industry.
          But, on a side note, I’m from a city full of professional artist and I’ve learned that you can take your job in an artistic industry very seriously without being a snot about it. Of course Charleston is notoriously laid back place where millionaires mingle with the help and no one is too good for canned beer. ;)

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