I have been fortunate to be around artists at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café who remind me to get up and stop sitting on my hands. They remind me that it is OK  to express myself. Every artist who shows up at the Dirty Dog  comes with a style and an attitude that is his/her own. I usually leave the club inspired.

In my thoughts on the four stages of the creative process the final stage is where the fun lies.


After an artists (1) finds a subject (2) uses all their senses looking at or listening to all the possibilities, (3) edits to clarify, (4) they get to put their stamp on the creation and it becomes uniquely theirs. They can go wild and add dabs of color or twist a phrase, no one can come in a room and hear Louis Armstrong or Frank Sinatra and have to ask who it is. A Woody Allen or Coen Brother movie is pretty easy to spot and a Van Gogh shouts Van Gogh. A Mark Rothko is sublimely a Rothko.


While I am in France I will spend time with a friend of many years, Pascal Balay. Pascal has supported herself and successfully raised three children with her skill as a potter. Pascal is more than a potter, she is an artist. Her work is uniquely hers and each piece stands on its own as a work of art. Her spirit comes with the purchase of anything she produces.

Pascal was trained in England and can communicate in English about her art. She makes it clear that her art is always going to be her art. Even though the potter’s wheel goes round and round in exact circles it is her hands that will create a Pascal Balay piece. There will be no perfect circles nor repetitive color glazes. It will be easy to know whose hands did the work. For Pascal each pot, bowl, plate or platter will be a new adventure. She has a healthy respect for keeping art in her craft. I have spent some time rummaging around her workshop. She has any number of discarded pieces thrown into the bushes and along the studio wall. I would love to own most of her rejects. They are Pascal’s and they are unique and they are special.

Pascal, like many artists I know, will probably never be wealthy. They will be satisfied with rich lives, lives that they define. The decision not to produce products but to follow your vision has benefits. Among the benefits are the  respect of other artists, users, listeners and viewers. Pascal Balay has always willingly shared her passion with students. Watching her with eager young potters reminds me of Detroit’s master teachers working with up coming jazz artists.

Being around highly skilled but wildly creative artists like Pascal and the jazz musicians at the Dirty Dog I am able to detect a playful attitude, a freedom to express themselves that borders on bravery. They lack a fear of failure. They are very fortunate.

We are lucky we can come out and share their good forfune.

John Osler


#Detroit #DirtyDog #Jazz #Music #DetroitJazz #DirtyDogJazzCafé #JazzinDetroit #JAZZMUSIC #musicDirtyDogJazzCafe

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