the scan artist

Paul Morganthall

What is a scan artist?

scan artist = scanner + scam artist

According to Barbara Sher in her book Refuse to Choose:

Scanners love to read and write, to fix and invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and sing, and to create the perfect dinner party. (You’ll notice I didn’t use the word “or,” because Scanners don’t love to do one thing or the other; they love them all.) A Scanner might be fascinated with learning how to play bridge or bocce, but once she gets good at it, she might never play it again. … To Scanners the world is like a big candy store full of fascinating opportunities, and all they want is to reach out and stuff their pockets.

scam artist: person who gains the confidence of someone in order to defraud them

When I create, I often feel like a fraud. I’m not really an artist. I’m not really a creator.

I just program computers and bake bread and knit and study ants and read tarot and I Ching and solve Sudoku and love science fiction and cook and teach the dog tricks and think of ways to do laundry better and remember which way each key turns in the lock and play games and program games and speak Esperanto and build in Second Life and grow vegetables and look at the stars in my telescope and am probably in the 90th percentile of 3x5 card and imported Japanese pen collectors.

Huh. The list is incomplete and it already sounds pretty creative. I’m definitely a Scanner. And an artist. What I lack is a way to hold myself accountable for production.

Thing A Week

For inspiration, it doesn’t get much better than Jonathan Coulton. He quit his tech job to become a songwriter and performer. He has done really well. JoCo describes the beginning of his Thing A Week:

To keep the juices flowing, I am going to post one piece of work per week until further notice. This may be a complete song, or it may be some kind of experimental thing, a mashup, a remix, some audio of me eating cheese, who knows. Not every one will be good, or even tolerable. Many of these things will not makeany sense to anyone but me, and some of them will certainly suck. But there will be one a week, so that’s got to be worth something.

I’m going to adopt the Thing A Week practice. It worked really well for Mr. Coulton. Some of the songs he produced were genius (Re Your Brains). Some seemed kind of lame, but later turned into sensations (Mr. Fancy Pants). But he produced something every week, for 52 weeks.

That’s the plan. Each week I am going to publish something. It might be a Ruby program, or a loaf of bread, or a photo of fresh-picked green beans. It might even be art.

This week’s Thing is the scan artist blog. All done now. Come back next week.