Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fire It Up

Tomorrow's NaBloPoMo Prompt (which I mistakenly did today since it was already posted, oops!) -  
"What is the best way to fan the flames of creativity?"

This question is a great one. I think everyone is born with creativity. This doesn't mean I think everyone can paint with the talent of Marc Chagall or write with the artistry of John Steinbeck or capture the world like Ansel Adams. But I think we are all born with an innate creativity. I think many people lose sight of this as they age. Kids can be so free and loose and certain in the art they create. They use color and shape with abandon, they seem surprised when parents can't tell the exact creature or object they've drawn, because they have presented their own perfect version of what they see. But then something happens. We become self conscious. We lose our connection to that magic creativity that used to just flow out of our little finger tips, through finger paints, or clay or crayons. Maybe it's that negative feedback from family or teachers or friends, unintentionally skewing our own view of our artistic abilities.  What happens? Where does it go? How do we get it back?


I am a creative person. I classify myself this way because even though I can't draw beyond very basic Pictionary skills, and I wouldn't know what to do with a paint brush beyond adding another coat to the wall, I can look at raw materials: beads, paper, wire, a blank computer screen, piles of photographs, an ugly wallpapered bathroom and I can see something different. I can picture the changes I want to make. I'm willing to take risks to get it there.  This doesn't mean I'm always successful or that I always feel creative. There are dry spells. I can go days and weeks without making anything. Like many people I let regular life get in the way of my creativity. Maybe that's because I'm fickle with the things I like to try, make, work on. I can jump around with hobbies a bit and I'm not an artist, I'm more crafty. I don't feel like I'm working to communicate something greater than, "ooh that's pretty!" I think there's value in "ooh, that's pretty!" though. Maybe not the same value as say poetry or sculpture, but "ooh, that's pretty!" brings pleasure to people. The daily pleasure of wearing something beautifully hand crafted, or the pleasure of waking up in a bright red bedroom with your favorite photographs hanging on the walls, or the pleasure of reading something that makes you smile and feel connected. While I'm not Rembrandt, I like to think that my creativity, in addition to making me frequently happy, makes others happy too.


I fan the flames of my creativity with a few things. Wandering around the internet looking at the websites and blogs of incredibly prolific, flexible creative types. Wandering around museums, talking and engaging with people that are interesting and kooky and different than me, wandering around flea markets and antique shows, Michael's and Hobby Lobby and Urban Arts and Crafts. I listen to music that makes me emotional and passionate. I study new hobbies and try new things. And I just absorb and consume and read and look and fill my brain with ideas and colors and inspiration. And then I shut it all off and throw myself 100% into whatever project consumes me. This may not work for everyone. This might clutter your head up with nonsense. This might overwhelm you with other people's success and obscure your own vision. But it works for me. It inspires me. It feeds me and connects me. There is a limit. I know when I've seen too much and need some peace and space from other people and hit that "pretty overload." I listen to myself. I back up and go quiet and get a little alone time so I can hear myself again. And then sometimes I just let those dry spells take over for awhile. Dry spells aren't all bad. Sometimes I watch corny gay dating shows like Can't Get a Date. Sometimes I just read or write silly stuff or take random photos. Sometimes I don't make anything at all. And that's ok too. Though I kind of want to redecorate my house right now. Maybe 10:30 at night is too late to start a new project. Maybe just move some knick knacks around. Alright, I'll wait until tomorrow and get some sleep like a responsible adult. How about you, what do you do to get inspired? Do you consider yourself creative? Cause, yeah, I'm pretty sure you are.

1 comment:

Nae said...

I've often wondered where that innocence goes as well. In the arts, there's always this debate about how polished something is. Will it read as raw and unabandoned or childish and undeveloped? etc.

Having an open mind, willing to explore ideas, taking things and making them your own - that is THE way to get back to that place. Overcoming the fear, going on a journey to see if you can make something from those raw materials.

I want you to come decorate/co-design my imaginary house which will one day become reality. You have good eye for color, vision and a real understanding a personal/beautiful space TO LIVE IN! There is something about everything you do that has your unique style signature on it. :) You go girl.