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Johnny Cash

Country Music Legend

It goes back to that music teacher when I was 12 years old. After the third lesson, I was singing some popular country song of the day. I forget the name. I think it was a Hank Williams, no, it was too early for Hank Williams, I guess. Whatever the song was, I didn't sing it like the artist had sung it on the radio. And she said, "You're a song stylist." She said, "Always do it your way." And from the age of 12, I didn't forget that. But that was the way I had to do it, because it was the way it was with me. I had to do it my way. I couldn't read those notes, singing those great songs, like a lot of those singers could, but I could do it my way -- the way it felt good to me. And that's what music is all about, emotion.
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Dale Chihuly

Master Glass Artist

Dale Chihuly: A couple of years ago, I started thinking about hanging Chandeliers over the canals of Venice. At the same time, almost, I thought I'd like to go to different countries and do this. And at the same time, I also thought it would make an interesting movie. So the idea just sort of went boom, boom, boom. Chandeliers over the canals, several countries, a film showing the whole thing. I thought about the idea, and I just went ahead and did it. That's one thing that you have to be able to do, I think, if you want to really reach high points, is you've got to take the idea and go, knowing, of course, that it can fail. But never thinking I've never once thought about this thing as failing, even though I'll tell you at the end of the story some of the problems we're having. But we went first to Finland, with 30 people from the Boathouse, my studio, and we worked hand-in-hand with the Finns to make Chandeliers, but then when I got there I started doing some other things as well. Because I'm constantly changing my mind about what I want to do. Then we went to Ireland. Then we went to Mexico. And now we're about to go to Venice to hang these Chandeliers --15 or 20 of them -- over the canals of Venice.
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Dale Chihuly

Master Glass Artist

I was in a restaurant in Barcelona, a little kind of Italian restaurant, and it had some Venetian chandeliers in the restaurant. I walked in and I was looking right at a chandelier, sort of at eye level -- normally they're overhead -- but then when you sat down on the table you could look underneath it and have your meal, and it sort of acted as a centerpiece for the table. I'd thought about chandeliers before, but I didn't want to make a light fixture really. It didn't interest me to make something that was going to look like a light fixture or a decoration. And when I saw that chandelier at eye level, which this restaurateur had figured out would be a nice way to decorate his restaurant, I put that away, that this might work. And then later on, I decided to do a chandelier, and I put it not only at eye level, I put it almost floor-to-ceiling. And I made very simple parts. The parts for the Chandeliers -- which sometimes are as many as 3,000 parts -- are just simple blown parts that a beginner could almost make. Then we just wire on some wire on the end, and you hook them onto a steel armature, so you put the first one on and the second. So the whole piece, the Chandeliers, could be made by almost anybody, yet nobody had thought about -- except for this restaurateur -- thought about putting a chandelier at eye level.
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Dale Chihuly

Master Glass Artist

Dale Chihuly: One of the problems in working with glass is that, because glass is so beautiful, and almost no matter what color it is, it's gorgeous, so no matter what you make, people are interested in it. So, in a funny way, you can get away with a lot, because just put the glass out there and people are going to be attracted to it. And the fact that it's so beautiful doesn't work for everything you're trying, for a certain type of thing -- statement you want to make, or concept you have -- glass might not work. Unless you're interested in beauty. Fortunately, that interests me a lot, the idea of making things that make people feel good and give a lot of joy to a lot of people. We talked earlier about the idea of working and not ever having anyone see or appreciate what you're making. And artists have worked, sometimes, their whole life that way, in total seclusion. I can't imagine that would be very fun. But for me, not long after I was able to make things that people were interested in seeing -- I was lucky it happened to me soon -- but the more I was able to make that interested people, the more I wanted to interest people. I was really, maybe to a fault, interested in being able to do exhibitions that would have a wide appeal. I like it when a lot of people enjoy what I'm doing. On the other hand, I am capable of making things that people don't like! But I like it better when they do like it. Or I like it better that -- eventually, what I'm making -- that they will like, and under some context it works. What I'm doing here, at the Academy, we're hanging six Chandeliers for the banquet, and these Chandeliers, which I started making four years ago, initially were not very appreciated, for whatever reason. In that case I didn't pay much attention to that, and within a couple of years, people started getting interested. And now, when they see them, they like them more. Part of that is just the familiarity of seeing something. You can't always expect people to like it the first time.
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Tom Clancy

Best-Selling Author

Seeing something that is not yet real, and trying to make it real. That's what we do. And that's what achievement is. It's taking something that isn't there and making it be there. That's what we do. That's what we are, and that's how we got here. As a result of that, we all get together for the awards dinner, we sit around with each other and talk while the kids are listening to somebody. And there's a little knot of us off somewhere talking about stuff, and we have much more fun with each other than the kids do, because we have the advantage of not being intimidated by one another. When you're 20 years old, you tend to be intimidated very easily. There's something not just similar, there's something identical in all of us. We all had an idea, a dream that we wanted to make real, and we all stuck with it until it was. We're in all sorts of different fields, like two of my friends in the Academy -- Marv Minsky, head of the artificial intelligence lab at MIT, and Susan Butcher, that crazy gal who takes sled dogs all the way across Alaska -- they're both dear friends. That's about as different as -- Tom Clancy, the writer -- that's three people about as different as people can be, and yet we're all the same. What unifies us is this image we have of the way we want our lives to be, and the fact that we were unwilling to give up on that dream.
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