Northern Voice: Fuck Stats, Make Art

Comments 20 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Have I mentioned before that our pal Dave Olson is awesome? He’s here to talk about how Art Makes the Future. History may have been forged by popes and generals but the only reason we KNOW about it is because someone took the time to write and paint about it.

Update: “If you’re going to get serious you have to take serious classes”. “I did hard time doing grade 11 in Utah.” “I had to bring a note to say I was allowed to read a book, wow that’s fucked man!” “I didn’t go to Art School and I don’t own a black turtleneck.” Looking for the live stream, I bet Jay’s got it on his BlogTV.

“This was the earliest blog post I could find – I think it was about cats”. Dave is talking about craft, passion, simplicities and defining your heroes. Dave’s sessions are always the best – filled with an organic and creative visual presentation (just photos) mixed with witty comments dashed with a truly natural humour.

Dave is still bringing up interesting and inspiring people, from centuries ago til now – even mentioning the amazingly talented Bev Davies (buy her calendar!) and Jer Crowle.


Photo Credit: Dave Olson on Flickr

He’s going through various ways to get your message out like being creative and just starting somewhere – even with Xeroxed fanzines from the 1970s. Embrace transparency translucency. “Transparency” is this year’s “synergy” or “leverage” – “I don’t want everyone to be transparent!” Photo document, share things, put things out there but keep your ass out of trouble.

You can have something (a blog) that is lovely and scenic but “it’s still a dump” if you don’t have your own content. Study about yourself, read the classic, just go make stuff. “Everyone can type on a keyboard but there’s a difference between typing and writing.” Dave goes on to explain how sitting on a grassy knoll inspired charcoal drawing, which lead to oil painting, then writing and podcasting about said grassy knoll and the experience of sketching and painting it. The creative snowball effect can be achieved by anyone – you don’t need fancy tools, just go for it.

Update: Okay for the rest of the post I’m just going to paraphrase and capture some of the main points Dave is tossing out there.

You’re not constrained by time, it’s the beauty of a blog. “Local man provides commercial-free commentary to the world!”.


Photo Credit: Dave Olson

What’s of more value… writing the book or having someone print copies and send you around on a book tour? This flows into Dave’s next point about redefining success. What to you is successful art creation? It’s for you to define.

Share your stuff, don’t get wound up, things will get ripped off, at what point does imitation become stealing? There’s not black and white answer here but the words “Relax” pop up on the screen. Dave notes the “Hunter S Thompson” rule, being that he could get away with anything because he could just write very well. Build your own artistic integrity while you’re building your brand and push yourself.

The value of validation. Dave notes it’s more precious to him to receive an email from a podcast listener about being an inspiration than it would be to have 100,000 views on some YouTube photo of some dude “smashing his nuts on a BMX or something”. Declare yourself – “let your freak flag fly!” “get on the train” get out there and enjoy it!

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20 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Tod MaffinSaturday, February 23rd, 2008 — 12:15pm PST

    Best talk so far. Totally inspiring.

  2. Stephen ReesSaturday, February 23rd, 2008 — 6:59pm PST

    I had three pages of scribbled notes in my moleskin to transcribe. It seems to me that you got the spirit if his – very impressive – presentation. I also liked

    “craft + intent= art” “Cave art was not doodling”

    and on translucency “There’s a lot of shit I don’t want to know about you”

    “there’s a big difference between typing and writing” – which is not only true but makes me cringe since I am an incompetent typist too

    “Time constrained is another way of saying lazy”

    And the image I liked was the logs that are stacked together so the shiitake mushroom spores can travel

    Know Much Fu is something I am going to have to scrawl on a wall somnewhere

    Great reporting, thank you

  3. DaveOSunday, February 24th, 2008 — 7:28am PST

    Thanks for the enthusiasm and kind words. Knowing I inspired exceptional creators like Becks, “the bath guy” and Mr. Rees feel fantastic. I am pleased I somehow articulate these most personal passions and sentiments to such an engaged group. So glad you enjoyed!

  4. Northern Voice Blogging Conference stream of consciousness debrief « raincoasterMonday, February 25th, 2008 — 3:44am PST

    […] did one last year on Stats: The Forbidden Love, and give that this year there was a talk on “Fuck Stats: Make Art” maybe it’s time for another one. After all, they are independent, not antagonistic. […]

  5. raincoasterMonday, February 25th, 2008 — 3:45am PST

    This is a great summing-up of that awesome presentation. You really got to the essence of things.

  6. Full Circle Associates » What I missed at Northern VoiceMonday, February 25th, 2008 — 9:49am PST

    […] on Walls” session – tapping into our creativity. I’m glad the session was recorded and blogged. It was interesting to see that there were quite a few sessions that pinged on a central core of […]

  7. Barbara DodukTuesday, February 26th, 2008 — 1:12pm PST

    Miss604 babe, thanks for passing on this link to me in response to my blog post. It is very cool.

    I have to agree with the last bit, it is very cool to received personal messages. Two come to mind for me, one was an email from a woman in Hong Kong who found my courage to escape an abusive relationship and blog about the heart ache and healing an inspiration to her. We went on to chat online over MSN and share our poetry. That kind of connection makes it all worth while.

    The second was just recently, I posted a story about a dinosaur and a promotional woman from NOVA contacted me by email to say she had seen my post and offered me a link to further information on the subject. Those are the types of real connections that make doing this all worth while.

    I started a web site in 1997, it included my creative writing and artwork, but it always had a journal. I enjoy it very much and have loved watching this blogging world explode over the last years. I have always loved the fact I have met a good lot of really awesome folks through the power of the web.

    I still don’t think I’d ever pay to go to an event like NV but I am glad it exists, for those of you that can get out of it, what you seek.

  8. northernvoice 2008 :: Inside OutTuesday, February 26th, 2008 — 3:42pm PST

    […] Personally I recommend Dave Olson’s F**k Stats, Make Art This is also available as mp3. [Addition] I just found some great notes on this insiring, funny and motivating session by miss604. […]

  9. Tell Ten Friends» Blog Archive » My Northern Voice Wrap-upWednesday, February 27th, 2008 — 10:47am PST

    […] My favorite presentation of the weekend wasn’t about blogging at all, but rather a homage to making art; a visually stunning and clever rant by my good friend Dave Olson entitled “F*ck Stats, Make Art.” A standing ovation followed his talk, and I think I was first on my feet. Rebecca wrote a great follow-up post on his talk. […]

  10. Sweet Nectar of Validation – NV08 wrap up, reviews and podcast « Ephemeral FeasthouseFriday, February 29th, 2008 — 6:51pm PST

    […] about the session that touched me the deepest. it was dave olson’s “f**k stats, make art”. miss 604 has a great synopsis of it, and you can find my notes at the end of this […]

  11. Ariane | West End Girl » Blog Archive » Bits and piecesWednesday, March 5th, 2008 — 8:00pm PST

    […] keynote talk and Dave Olson’s rad talk entitled “Fuck stats, make art” (good overview on Miss604,  Audio of the presentation documented by Cosmo).  I can’t even really communicate how […]

  12. WordCamp Vancouver 2008 Live Blog » Vancouver Blog Miss604Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 11:59pm PST

    […] don’t have an audience can you really be called a writer? Bruce has views that are similar to Dave’s “F stats, make art.” He doesn’t write for stats or to please the numbers. Side note: he used to be a composition […]

  13. Sexy Geeks Get Pwned » Vancouver Blog Miss 604Monday, May 12th, 2008 — 12:03am PST

    […] of Mighty Mouse and Astro Boy. This whole online world should be about content (for a refresher see F*ck Stats, Make Art). From what I gathered when I met Amber and Lisa, is that it’s also for women who have a good […]

  14. I will be back… soon, I hope « Random Thoughts of a Student of the EnvironmentMonday, May 12th, 2008 — 10:27am PST

    […] focus, so I thought I would say “I’ll be right back”. I am going to take the mantra of one of my heroes (the awesome DaveO, in a Northern Voice 2008 talk nicely liveblogged … and forget about the stats and how this may affect my readership, but it’s time for me to go […]

  15. The Value of Blog Posts and Bloggers for Hire » Vancouver Blog Miss 604Monday, May 12th, 2008 — 10:20pm PST

    […] know I am a student to the DaveO “F*ck Stats, Make Art” school of thought but I’m under the impression that some people would like your art, […]

  16. Statistics Tracking Tools Reviewed » Vancouver Blog Miss 604Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 — 4:00am PST

    […] the liveblogger for my friend Dave’s “Fuck Stats, Make Art” session that I attended at Northern Voice, I know full well that none of my content revolves […]

  17. Happy Birthday Dave, Everybody’s Favourite Uncleweed » Vancouver Blog Miss 604Saturday, August 16th, 2008 — 6:38pm PST

    […] in podcasting, Dave is also an inspiration to bloggers having coined the now internet-famous “Fuck Stats Make Art” motto at this year’s Northern Voice […]

  18. Northern Voice 2009, Save the Date » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittSaturday, November 22nd, 2008 — 11:43am PST

    […] diligently liveblogging the conference for two years (including Dave’s infamous talk), being a panelist, presenter, wrangler, wiki editor and putting the word out (to folks like Jennie […]

  19. 2008 in Review: January to June » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittWednesday, December 31st, 2008 — 11:29am PST

    […] This was the month for Northern Voice where I live blogged, updated wikis, wore a sheriff badge, was on a panel, and captured my friend Dave’s now internet-famous talk, “F*ck Stats, Make Art“. […]

  20. Northern Voice 2009 Dave Olson Letters from Russia » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittFriday, February 20th, 2009 — 12:39pm PST

    […] fact, his F*ck Stats Make Art talk last year was so successful that he was asked to present it this year at […]

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