As a creative person, as with any career or interests, there are lots of limitations: time, space, materials, connections, and all the other external stuff that can hold you back.
Then, of course, there are those other things that keep you down: playing it safe, not advocating for yourself, or having unreasonable goals for yourself.
Artist and illustrator Keri Smith has assembled a top ten list of what not to do, dubbed How to Feel Miserable as an Artist
Whether you're a full-time creative professional, a passionate pastime artist, or simply a dabbler, it's gonna happen. The creative block - that blank page, empty canvas, one-line melody, uncut yard of fabric, that time where all you wanna do (or have to) is create something, and you just can't get started...or worse, finished.
But not all creative blocks are equal. They could come from a lack of ideas, but also from your own health or emotional wellness, work habits, or even communication. So, in order to become more productive, you first gotta understand what sort of block you have. Which, to me, recalls this classic interchange from Empire Records:
Mark: Hey, Lucas. I've decided I'm going to start a band.
Today is a day of good news, my friends. First, it's the beginning of the best two weather weeks of the year, where the fall leaves start to get really good, and everything smells spicey and cidery, and you allow yourself to eat terrible-for-you cereal again, in the form of its ultimate expression, Frankenberry. (I had my first bowl last night. It was epic.)
Equally important, it's a good day for ManMade, where we bring on our first regular contributor, Martin Refsal. When I began ManMade a year and a half ago, it was just me, navigating the craft and design scene, looking for crafty projects that don't scream, "This is for girls," or
A few weeks ago, I shared a fascinating article entitled, "Ten Myths about Introverts," admitted my own extreme introversion, and explored the possible connection between introversion and creativity. Though the post didn't recieve any comments (no surprise...we're talking introverts here), I did get a healthy handful of emails from readers who were thankful that I shared it, and sympathized with the exploration between artistic tendencies and introversion.
Hmmm...I'm not sure how I feel about these strategically pixelated images from the ad campaign, "Censorship Tells the Wrong Story. "To make a point, the new anti-censorship ad campaign for Reporters Without Borders purposefully blurs the line between decency and reality... Created by the firm Ogilvy & Mather, each image features the text “Censorship tells the wrong story,” and uses strategic pixelization to alter perception and add new meaning."
So, you know those days when it's late Sunday night, and you realize that you totally wasted your free time over the weekend? Like, no projects, no friends, no special meals, no resting, no reading...just cataloged hours down the internet rabbit hole, maybe some laundry, and justa buncha driving?
Then, you know those other weekends, when it's Monday morning, and you're like, "Wow. What a full and awesome couple of days that was."
I had one of those this week.
Okay, well, to be fair, this was an "extended" four-day weekend for me. (No posts on Thursday and Friday. Did you notice?) For my birthday gift, my mom organized a trip to Columbus, IN, which is a small town of 40,000 people that has, like, sixty major examples of modern architecture. All the churches, elementary schools, public buildings, even the jail are contemporarily designed works of art. Six of the buildings are national historic landmarks. The library was designed by I.M. Pei, the church across the street by Eliel Saarinen, and the local bank branch by Eero Saarinen.
"Despite the economy, don't abandon enthusiasm. Your deep, serious desires might be what saves you."
I don't often get terrifically philosophical or motivational-y on ManMade, but when I do, it's usually a variation on, "Make stuff, and do the work you love." Which, of course, is a scary thing in the 2011 U.S. economy, with around a 10% unemployment rate, and many folks who working in jobs that do not reflect their skill sets, training, or education.
But, while it may see frivolous to seek to do the work you love, it's actually essential to improving our economy. The Atlantic reports,
Passion, despite how often we use the term to tout
Musical choices are a peculiar thing, with all your combined tastes making perfect sense to you, and hardly anyone else. (What? I can trace the lineage of David Bowie to the Spice Girls...can't you?)
But, chances are, your musical tastes are at least a little influenced by the stuff your parents listened to. So, in honor of Father's Day, Sonos made a chart to help you source your influences. "There’s no end to the reasons why you listen to the music you do today, but we’re willing to bet that more than a few of you were subjected to your father’s music at some point in the past (or present). So that leads to the question: what do dear old dad’s listening habits say about the artists in your repertoire? In honor of Father’s Day, we tried our hand at finding out."
It comes as no suprise that many artists and creative types are introverts. Creativity is all about ideas, and artists connect to others on the basis of ideas. Which is, basically, the definition of introversion - one views the world from the inside, and draws energy from being alone or with a small group of people, and then uses that energy to operate within the outside world.
The concern is, most introverts don't know they are, and so they don't do the work that restores them and take the time to reenergize. Creative work allows for that rest to happen, even if we're crazy busy.
I'm normally a pretty active reader, but for some reason, I'm voracious this summer. I regularly keep both a stack of to-be-reads and a ongoing list (Listography is awesome), and I'm gonna kill that tonight. Dead. All checked off. That's never happened before.
So, I need a new book, and I figured I might as well ask you fine people for suggestions.
There's no better motivation to get started on a new project than some fresh materials, waiting to be cut up, glued, painted, or whatever awaits. And there's no better way to get fresh materials than for free!
So, ManMade is pumped to be joining up with HGTV to giveaway a $100 American Express Gift Card so that you can buy the things you need to get creative.
Friends, I'll be away for the next three days speakin' and learnin' at the Midwest Craft Caucus. It's a gathering of some seriously creative and talented people from around the handmade scene.
It's already a blast, and is only gonna get better.
Follow the madness at #mwcraftcaucus
It hits you hard. One day, you've realized those things you've clung to for the last decade aren't actually what you're going for. Perhaps, for previous generation, such enlightments really didn't come until middle age, when there are often kids, mortgages, and stock options involved.
But for an increasing number of young adults, mega-life changes hit in your twenties.
Friends, I've worked my way through some serious sniffles, tummyaches, and flu bugs over the last few months, but today, the germs have gottent the best of me.
You don't want me writing anything today. Trust me.
Hopefully, I'll be back with you tomorrow. Enjoy your Tuesday!
I'm typing these very words at a local bookstore/coffee shop. Whenever I have "just-computer" work to do, I try to get out of the house/workshop as much as I can, and often, those days are my most productive of the week. (Provided the wi-fi is reliable). For me, working in public provides just enough distraction: the low din of coffee grinding, the unique and often boring conversations, moms trying to keep their kids from screaming or getting them to eat lunch.
Turns out, there are lots of folks just like me. The Atlantic reports that while telecommuting is a relatively new phenomenon, the need to write and get work done away from the office is not. The author states,
Bon Appètit has begun a new Q&A column entitled "Back of the Napkin," in which they, apparently, talk to famous people about food. First up is comedian Aziz Ansari, the Parks and Recreation star who's standup and movie career is blowing up.
And, as it turns out, it's pretty interesting. And funny.
Austin Kleon is a seriously creative guy, and offers his version of a "things I wish someone told me in college" talk, "How to Steal like an Artist." The Austin, TX-based writer and artist created an illustrated version of ten things essential to the creative lifestyle, and the process that goes into making something you love.