On The Edge: Forever Starts Here

02.01.02
By Deborah McMurray
Published in Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing

Forever starts here. I’m the Blue Dog and I can go anywhere. For George Rodrigue, Blue Dog was his ticket to firmly root his Cajun heritage, yet also transcend it. He’s revered and collected as an American artist – not simply a regional Acadian painter whose subject happens to be a soulful, yellow-eyed pup with a fixed gaze. What is she staring at?!

Blue Dog has taught George a thing or two and can also teach us some lessons, as well. For example, it was Blue Dog who taught George that “to keep moving forward you not only have to look at the future, you have to inhabit the future.”

George, in the book, “BLUE DOG MAN”, says, “for art – and life, for that matter – to be fulfilling, it has to constantly celebrate newness and feel the bristling latent energy of all the things around us.” In other words, don’t ignore the past, just look at your environment, your job and the people in your life in a fresh new light.

Blue Dog is playful and whimsical. She finds herself in the middle of a hurricane, a TV, a jack-in-the-box and an American flag, sitting by rushing rivers and old, weathered oak trees. Even though her gaze doesn’t change, it seems to, based upon her surrounding environment. Sometimes she’s downright funny and others she rises above her environment with such focus that I can’t help but take her very seriously. What is she telling me??!

When an artist (or anyone) receives critical acclaim for one way of doing things, that person’s challenge is to resist recreating the same tired thing over and over again, hoping to garner the same acclaim. We hear, “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Isn’t it our job, our responsibility to make people happy and comfortable? It’s fine if we want to be contemporary and original, as long as we don’t ruffle their way of doing things . . . the old way . . . the right way.

“NO!!,” Blue dog screams. “It’s OK to explore and experiment. Surprise me! I don’t need to bark or roll over or shake hands – it’s my flatness, my sameness that makes me liberating. Cut me out and take me to a new environment. I’ll transcend myself and every little world that I inhabit.”

Embrace the power of Blue Dog (“life is a journey, an odyssey”) and heed the lessons of the Blue Dog man (“Being new and different in the modern world is not an easy task.”) Don’t see her as just the same old dog with the same fixed gaze. Don’t think of George as just a Cajun artist from the bayou. Don’t fall into the trap – don’t become a prisoner of your own creation. In the painting, “By the Light of the Journey”, Blue Dog, in multiple forms offers to light the way for you.

(If you haven’t met Blue Dog, you can see her in “The Millennium” at www.bluedogart.com.)

Deborah McMurray is a strategic marketing consultant to the legal industry. She can be reached at 214.351.9690 or mcmurray@contentpilot.net.

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