Today’s share comes from Mica Hendricks, an illustrator and graphic artist who blogs here. A few months ago, she created this post. She had received a new sketchbook and had started several illustrations when her 4-year old daughter asked to help. Mica begrudgingly allowed her to do so and was fascinated by the outcome. That inspired her to create more pieces that her daughter would work on as well. She took the finished illustrations and began filling them in with acrylics. The finished pieces are very unique. I think her story is a great example of keeping yourself open. Even though she was initially hesitant about sharing the experience with her daughter; she let go of something she wanted in order to allow another to participate and the end result was beyond her imagining.
This is a very cool post I want to share today. It comes from one of my favorite sites. Danielle Laporte is a Canadian entrepreneur, motivational speaker and blogger. She’s also a best-selling author, having written four books about various aspects of personal development. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of The Arlington Institute (a think tank in Washington D.C.).
These days, she primarily focuses on spreading what she believes to be “white hot truth” to audiences around the world through her speaking engagements, books, and the blogosphere.
In this post, she shares some thoughts on how creatives can focus and be productive. Productivity is something more often associated with task-based work and can be somewhat amorphous to measure in creative types. This list is a quick read, but contains some choice info nuggets. My three favorites are:
Approach everything as a creative opportunity. There is no separation between life and work. The same opportunities to express yourself or get great ideas are at the dinner table, in the stock exchange, and on the subway. Put yourself out there.
Obsession is essential. Know your art and your science. Immerse yourself in the cultures you love and work in: read industry news, the teachings of spiritual masters and successful entrepreneurs, listen to what the people you serve are longing for, asking for, and leaning toward.
Celebrate other people’s creativity and prosperity. Honoring other people’s creativity and success helps shake loose our own brilliance. Whether it’s a hot website, a terrific outfit on the street, or a well known author – go out of your way to say, “You’re great!” “Way to go!” “I love what you’ve created.”
I went to see the touring version of “Peter and the Starcatcher” recently, after having caught it at New World Stages in New York this past May. The tour retains the intimate feeling of the New York version, which I was happy to see. The cast does a wonderful job with the dense, wordy, witty material and includes a number of standout performances. Again, though, I was taken with Donyale Werle’s Tony-award-winning scenic design. Donyale is a leading member of the Broadway Green Alliance, which strives to educate the theater community about making environmentally-friendly choices.
Donyale has said that her approach to the design of “Peter” fits perfectly with the show in that it’s about, “creating something out of nothing”. The proscenium for the New York version includes bottle caps, kitchen implements, sippers, toys, rope and a variety of other items, most collected or donated by kids through the Broadway Green Alliance. Each iteration of the show has embraced that aesthetic, of starting with collected items, then making them into something creative and artistic that fits the show. Due to the rigors of travel, the touring set has less recycled material than the New York versions, but the vision remains intact using green materials.
That vision embraces the imaginative and hand-made. Throughout the show, which takes place on two separate ships and numerous locales on a remote island, the scenery only suggests the locations. The cast fills in the rest, stimulating the audiences imagination by using ladders, fabric, umbrellas, rope, and other various props, along with their bodies to tell the story.
The overall effect is magnificent, but not in an over-the-top way that makes you loudly exclaim “WOW!” It’s more understated, like an under-your-breath “wwwooooowwww”, as you re-engage parts of your imagination that may have been closed off for years. The show pulls off the unique feat of asking the audience to participate in a different way; by taking us to far-off places that are only barely suggested. The encouraging thing is that audiences appear to love the idea and are happy to go along for the ride.
Of course, some theaters have recycled for years, mostly by re-using flats and furniture for different productions; but this approach is significantly different from that. By going out into the community to collect cast-offs and trash, sifting and sorting through the detritus, then re-combining the elements into something new and artful, we have a different conversation about how and what we consume, and what happens to items after they’re no longer supposedly “useful”.
I suppose an argument could be made that all this approach does is delay the inevitable; that after this usage, the items will then end up in a landfill. While that may be true in some cases, I think the greater value is in asking the question: What can we use that’s already out there? How can we be creative and artful with what already exists? Inevitably, creation and destruction are bound together; but are there ways to minimize the impact to our world? These are heady questions; and I’m hopeful that we can find answers, with artists like Donyale Werle leading the way.
Today’s share has been making the rounds of Facebook lately. It’s a timelapse video of Los Angeles that is simply beautiful. Having lived in the City of Angels for nearly 30 years, I can tell you it is an incredible place to live.
The city is bold, sad, and glam all at the same time. There are problems with gangs and drugs, not to mention a ridiculous amount of gridlock. If, however, you’re tuned to the right frequencies, it’s also a borderline magical place to live. Perched at the edge of a desert, overlooking the expanse of the Pacific, it shimmers and sparkles at night.
Colin Rich has captured the spirit of what it feels like. An exhilarating, moving, sweeping, and creative timelapse, “City Lights” is a love letter to nighttime in the City of Angels. It is the third installment in the Trilogy of Light series.
You can follow Colin here, or on Twitter here, and on Vimeo here.
Today’s share comes for Artsblog. In it, Lisa Phillips details six reasons why she believes the arts prepare students with the skills needed for 21st century success. Even thought I’ve posted similar items to this before, I think it’s always worth highlighting and repeating. Education today has become about standardized testing and the arts have been subject to budget cuts in many districts. Lisa Phillips, and those like her, make a business case for the arts that is important to hear and understand. Skills learned in the arts apply not only to their relevant art, but can be beneficial to the business world; if only because they create a more well-rounded individual.
Today’s share is from Medium.com. This post looks at creativity a bit differently; from the business side of things. It speaks to the fact that people who engage in side projects, apart from their normal work, stand out from “normal” workers. I get where this is coming from. It seems I’m happiest when I have a large project occupying most of my time/energy, and several small side projects happening. If there isn’t a side project, I invariably create one (which is how this blog got started…).
The post features several different people and their side projects, and what those people gained from doing them.
Today’s share comes from The Atlantic. It’s a very interesting article from Lauren Davidson examining the disturbing trend of workers putting in more and more hours, not getting enough sleep, and how it affects their work, especially creative work.
One fascinating tidbit – economist John Maynard Keynes at one time predicted that by 2030, only extreme workaholics would work more than 15 hours per week. Looks like he got that one wrong…
Today’s post links to an article from one of my favorite blogs, “Jim On Light”. One of his pals, Mario Fabrio has created a concert lighting rig entirely of Legos. From the stage, to the PA, to lights and the audience, Mario has captured everything. I thought my Lego addiction was bad but it pales in comparison to what this man can do. I think this is a great example of someone asking themselves, “Hey, what if I…?” and using their creativity to engage in PLAY, which is extremely important.
As we grow up, “play” often transitions into physical play, or exercise. That’s fine because it keeps our bodies healthy; but it’s just as important to let your mind play as well. Again, as we get older, mental play might transition to Soduko, Words With Friends or similar games. Again, this is fine because it keeps you mentally engaged. What we stop doing after a certain point is playing like kids. Earlier this year, I realized my “play” had become very structured. I went and bought a bunch of Lego’s because I wanted to play like a kid again. I recommend doing something similar if you feel stuck – do something used to do when you were a kid: play on the swings, build a go-kart, have a pirate battle in the backyard. By freeing our mind from work and obligations, these seemingly childish activities stimulate our imaginations.
I hope you can carve out just a little time during the holidays to be 8 years old again.
Day 3 of 12 Daily Posts, sharing inspiration from around the web.
Bruce Mau is a global design firm specializing in brands and environments, comprised of graphic designers, architects, writers, and managers with backgrounds in fine arts, multimedia, advertising, music, film, and business. In 1998, Bruce Mau wrote a design manifesto for growth, articulating his beliefs, strategies, and motivations; using it as a basis for his company’s design process.
It’s a great statement of creative purpose; and one I keep bookmarked as a reminder for when I get stuck. Take a look at it here.
Day 2 of 12 Daily Posts, sharing inspiration from around the web.
Today’s share was originally posted on Design Taxi in January 2013. Design Taxi is one of my favorite go-to sites for quick inspiration. In this brief post, Lisa A. Riley talks about complacency in creativity and a offers a few thoughts on contemplating your creative development. Enjoy!