Passion: How much is enough

I had the opportunity to see the band Jethro Tull in Denver recently at Red Rocks on their 40th anniversary tour of the classic rock album Aqualung. Red Rocks is simply one of the most breathtaking concert venues in the world and it often inspires artists to give incredible performances. If you have never seen the epic film “Under a Blood Red Sky” by U2 you owe it to yourself to get a copy and take in the scenery and ambiance of Red Rocks.

But even a venue as amazing as Red Rocks is, it still has it’s limitations in stirring up a passionate performance from a band that has done the same material on stages the world over for 40 plus years. Let’s do the math shall we? A band like Jethro Tull plays live maybe 150 days a year. And, Ian Anderson, the heart and soul of Jethro Tull, performs the song Aqualung at every show. Without fail. Every single night. For. 40. Years. That’s 6000 times!


(L) Ian Anderson 1975, (R) Anderson 2011

Even the most fervent artist among us might get weary of doing the same song every night for 40 years right? Then again maybe not. Because when Ian Anderson and his band performed Aqualung for the 6000th time at Red Rocks on June 8, 2011, they performed it with every ounce of passion an artist can humanly give an audience. I venture to say they played it MORE passionately than they did some 40 years ago. That’s passion. Passion that both ignites  and inspires an audience. So where does passion like that come from?

It comes from being true to yourself as an artist.

It comes from creating from within with freedom and conviction.

It comes from being fearless and unrelenting in your desire to bring your song,  painting, poem, novel, or comic to life.

It comes from deep within the very soul of you. When it comes from there, the passion will pour out of you like a surge of boiling hot water spilling over the sides of a kettle on the stove. It cannot be contained. It cannot be harnessed or suppressed. It will flow out of you because it’s the only thing it can do. It has no other choice.

Passion thrives when you feed it truth. It thrives when you create from your authentic self. Even after 40 years. 6000 times.

You can get this awesome Tull Tour T-shirt at


Welcome to the Creator’s Incubator


Welcome to my Laboratory, “The Creator’s Incubator”.

What’s it all about?

The single most asked question I get as a cartoonist is “Where do you get your ideas”? Aside from the answer “ I drink a lot and sleep late” once given in jest by cartoonist Gahan Wilson, I’ve always stumbled my way through it.

I’ve long been intrigued by the creative process and have often wanted to find a way to answer that elusive “ideas” question. So I decided why not feature daily insights, tips, and suggestions about this thing called creativity and how we can all apply it to our daily lives. Why not go “inside-the-lab” with stories about other creators and how they hatch their amazing works of art. We’ll delve into it all, including music, writing, character development, movie and TV show development, cartoons, comics, comedy and just about anything else that can be created. We’ll make it interactive, so that you too can share your own creative thoughts and insights. Think of it as one big Creative Community. A Creators Incubator. That said, it’s time for the grand tour.

The Creator’s Incubator upcoming Features
Sparks: Those things that inspire creativity. For instance, one of the most fascinating stories about the creation process of the Beatles infamous Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club album revolved around the John Lennon song, “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite”. The songs lyrics came directly from a circus poster Lennon had found in an antiques store. That’s a spark.

Creativational Quotes: Quotes to motivate the creative spirit in us all, like this:
“A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe-

Creative tips: Like this one… Ever read billboards? Sometimes they can provide great ways to create powerful, well defined ways to communicate ideas. The key is in the simplicity and in the way one grabs your attention. Just don’t drive off the road doing it.

The Rhino Recommends: Once a week the Incubator will give it’s recommendation of a book, a movie, cd or blog that can offer something valuable to the creative process. Not exactly Oprah, but you get the idea.

Inside-the-Lab. We’ll go behind the scenes into someone’s creative process giving you some cool information about how other creative people come up with their stuff and how you might use it at work or in your daily sure to read my daily cartoons as well.

Created on this date: Highlights of the worlds most creative achievements, like this:
On June 29, 1964 the 1st draft of Star Trek’s pilot “Cage” was released.

Readers comments, tips and insights. The interactive part of the Incubator.

Ask the Rhino. Send in your questions about creativity directly to the Rhino. He’ll answer one good one a week.

There you have it. I hope you’ll join us here for the Creator’s Incubator starting July 1.