Posted February 18th, 2014 at 8:49 pm by Tanner Christensen
If you intend to be a painter, then paint. Or if a writer, then write.
Do so vigorously and because you see colors and brushstrokes or stories and sentences in your mind.
And when the critics come – and they always come ” saying “who are you to be a painter or a writer?” Don’t listen to them. If you listen to everyone who criticizes you, you’ll have no choice but to doubt yourself. Doubting yourself is the quickest way to prove the critics right, but not giving yourself a chance. Not giving yourself a chance is why you stop creating, sometimes momentarily but all-too-often permanently.
However, if you persist, if you paint or write even when people question what you’re doing, eventually those who ridiculed you will see that you have become that thing that you set out to become.
Because what is a painter but someone who paints? Or a writer someone who writes?
I feel that we often forget such simple “ bit vital ” wisdom. We feel that we’re not an artists, writer, musician, entrepreneur, scientist, or anything else because we’re not that type of person now. But to become those things typically the only thing standing in our way is to do the work that those people do: to paint, to write, play music, start a business, experiment.
Whatever creative thing it is you want to do, go do that thing. That’s the only way to go, as far as I can tell.
Photo by Kelly Rowland.
“If you want anything in life, you have to work hard to get it. That’s really it…It’s hard to find people who want it so badly that it’s all they think about. There’s a price you have to pay, and it’s putting in a lot of hours. That’s the number one thing that I tell people: work, work, work, work, work.”
Art director and artist Michael Cina.
Posted February 18th, 2014 at 4:05 pm by Tanner Christensen
Posted February 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am by Tanner Christensen
Quickly, three different styles of painting are shown below, tell me which one you think is right:
Cubism, surrealism, and realism. Which one did you guess is right? The question itself isn’t a real one. It’s the equivalent of asking what sound yellow makes.
When it comes to artwork there is no “right” answer. A painting that changes style, color, context, and presentation isn’t more wrong than another painting, it’s simply a different style.
The same is true of creativity. But we’re too easily persuaded that’s not the case.
How often do you wind yourself up fearing that your ideas will be in some way wrong? How many times does that fear leave you stuck or like you’re better off abandoning an idea? We become terrified at the idea of someone critiquing our creative efforts before they have a chance to fully understand them. We don’t want to be wrong. So we stand back, we don’t take a chance, we let the idea float into the back of our minds (or notebook) until a less dangerous idea makes itself known.
But, like art, creativity has no right or wrong.
An idea that is different than others – either by execution or context or some other manner – is merely different, not right or wrong in any sense of the words. The only requirements for creativity are that the idea is original and provides at least some level of value. That’s it, and with that definition the world of possibilities for what our ideas can be or become is vastly larger than I think we allow ourselves to see. Your ideas don’t have to fit in some mold of right or wrong!
When we start to look at our ideas in this context it frees us up to experiment more, to play with our curiosities.
All ideas should be explored. It’s only by exploring ideas – getting them out of our notebooks and certainly out of our heads ” that we can see what they’re really about. Only after we’ve done something with our ideas can we see how appropriate and powerful they may be.
Starting today, Don’t worry about whether or not you’ve got the right idea. Worry about what you’re going to do next with the idea instead.
Sometimes I have to remind myself
Posted February 17th, 2014 at 3:09 pm by Tanner Christensen
“Genius, it seems, happens when a seasoned mind sees a problem with fresh eyes.”
Big breakthroughs tend to happen after late 30s.
Posted February 17th, 2014 at 9:51 am by Tanner Christensen
Posted February 12th, 2014 at 7:00 am by Tanner Christensen
Common advice among creative circles is that if you want to be more creative you need to turn off the TV.
Not only the TV, of course. You need to turn off your phone and computer too, step away from the digital world, spend more time being with yourself and your thoughts. Avoid the distractions that television and the Internet bring.
While there is certainly some truth to the notion that creativity can only come when we distance ourselves from distraction and allow ourselves to ruminate, we have to ask about what happens when we distance ourselves and realize we don’t have anything to inspire us or to really think about?
I often wonder where these people who tell us to disengage think the inspiration for ideas comes from exactly.
As Steven Johnson states in his book Where Good Ideas Come From:
“Good ideas are not conjured out of thin air; they are built out of a collection of existing parts, the composition of which expands (and, occasionally, contracts) over time.”
Ideas, particularly novel ones, are the result of our brains sorting through existing information put through the ringer.
The information we have to work creatively with is often brought to us by reading, watching television, browsing the web on our phone, having meaningful conversations, and playing video games. Then – only after we’ve absorbed enough to be meaningful in a context – we have to take time to ruminate, to let all of the input blend together like a soup, and experiment with all of the stuff our brains have soaked up.
The question then becomes not whether or not we should turn the TV off, but when to turn it off.
Photo by Anthony Kelly.