Have you had a chance to read Biz Stone’s Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind? Biz Stone is the co-founder of Twitter. It’s a quick read and if you are too busy revising your memoir, put it on your Goodreads list.
I used to say, “I learned everything I needed to know about working in the real world from art school.” At Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts I learned how to chunk down complex projects into efficient timelines. I mastered techniques and discovered the importance of creating something in a step-by-step manner. I experimented with new mediums and technologies, and maybe most important of all, I learned how to take constructive criticism.
After reading Stone’s book I’m now adding a second experience, working in the graphic design industry. He was a book cover designer in his former career and I’ve had a steady career in graphic design ever since my first job out of college. Stone says, “Graphic design is an excellent preparation for any profession because it teaches you that for any one problem, there are infinite potential solutions. Too often we hesitate to stray from the first idea, or from what we already know. But the solution isn’t necessarily what is in front of us, or what has worked in the past . . . My introduction to design challenged me to take a new approach today, and every day after that.”
Creativity and wellness message for today: Be inspired and fulfilled by your new ideas. Let them change you, your company, our nation, and the global community.
Here’s my next post on how to make art fun. Today I’ll talk about trusting serendipity. As you know from my last posts, I recently had the pleasure of attending an inspiring printmaking workshop. Due to my busy schedule at work, it was weeks before I had the chance to unpack my sturdy, large, nicked, and scarred black-leather portfolio.
Strewn across my oak kitchen table were newsprint pages I used during the workshop to blot up pigment residue. They were not the actual prints themselves, but they were too interesting to throw out at the workshop. As I unpacked them I saw how fragile the pigments were; there was no way to save them. Quickly pulling my cell phone out of my back pocket, I snapped photographs of them, thinking I might use the photographs in an art show.
In the video of life, fast forward to me submitting to the art show, pause on me realizing that one of the images I knew I shot, was missing. I fumed for a few minutes. The concept for the artwork had been brewing in my mind. Then I allowed the fortunate mistake of the missing photo to adjust the image in my mind. Instead of two different images, I modified the design to more of a yin/yang type.
Problem solved, artist happy, artwork ready to submit.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Save time, energy, and your artistic sanity by inventing in the moment. Trust those happy accidents.
We can all take ourselves too seriously, in life as well as in art. One of the secrets to happily navigating both is to lighten up. Recently I had a professional opportunity that required scanning a lot of my paintings, prints, photographs, mixed media collages, and graphic design projects. Work that had been completed over several decades. Once I viewed the images on my computer I was struck by the fact that what I thought to be my best original art didn’t represent that strongly in digital form. In a quandary, with a deadline looming what was I to do? Lighten up!
I put on completely new eyes. Gave myself an attitude adjustment and became enlightened. I surveyed my work from one perspective only “What graphically shows the best.” I made selections from that sole point of view. Boy, did it simplify the creative process! No longer did I take time remembering the success of that piece or reminisced about what collector bought it. No longer was I seduced by my own feelings of yummy art memories, lightening up became practical, efficient, oddly enjoyable, and freeing.
Artworks that I would have considered not so good, showed me their strengths in digital form. I was educated anew to the value of my work, it was like a refresher course. Once the project was complete I even had fun making a video out of some of the art and design, the different viewpoint sparked more creativity.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Be surprised at the increase in your rate of production when you lighten up.
Yesterday I was talking with a neighbor when tears briefly welled up in my eyes. We were talking about art and design. I felt sad that I wasn’t spending enough time for my artist’s soul. I realized I’m longing to put pen to paper in textured, tactile ways. Daily, I’m writing and designing, but it’s all online. I’m not feeling the tug and pull of a wet paint brush. I miss the salty smell of red carmine and the sulphur overtones of vermillion.
Being a fine artist is all about the touch, smell, sight and sound of making art, not just the end product. It’s about getting messy and making happy mistakes. It’s about hearing the calligraphy nib on a hand-tooled wooden pen scratching toothed paper. Give me the sweet smell of amber in gum arabic and the sharp bite of black touche on a Bavarian limestone.
Drench me in the crisp scent of tautly stretched canvas. Let me run my fingers along the deckled edge of handmade paper. Lie me down with solid Sumi brushes and let me listen to bright white paper as it wicks up watery midnight-colored ink.
Creating this ode to the senses of art refreshes me. I’m now pleasantly anticipating my next artistic sojourn.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Sing the song of your own artist’s soul.