unlikely inspiration

Jean Micael Bisquiat
I started reading Creative Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It has been a great companion for my mission of living a creative life and focusing on it this year.  It was on my list to read last year and it did not happen.  I have been diving into it today and I love it.

Today I was listening while I worked.  My new goal is to insert creative in to the mundane.  At work I am doing a lot of data processing and listening to books or podcasts really help.

Anyway, today I was listening and she was talking about wanting to start a garden. Then how that thought of a garden blossomed into wanting to know more about plants, and then a chain reaction ensued and then she wrote The Signature of All Things.  She talks about what if she just ignored that small voice that asked her to start a garden.  Read it.

Listening to her speak about that process reminds me of something I am currently following.  All the sudden Jean Michel Basquiat has been filling my thoughts.  I have always liked certain aspects of his art but have not really taken a plunge into the study of his work. I would wake up in the middle of the night after dreaming about a certain piece of his.  Finally I decided I could not ignore it any longer.  Now I am researching him, watching documentaries, movies, and looking at any piece of his work I can find.  He inspires me.  I did not think that could happen because of the way he died.  I just never thought someone who lived such a troubled life and then ending his life with a drug overdose would ever inspire me.  Now the way he lived his life and even his death have me looking at his work with a whole new set of eyes.  He was kind and with a soft heart but also rough around the edges and street smart. This beautiful mess he was inspires my own creative path.

thDustheads by Bisquiat

Maybe I will paint a piece inspired by him and maybe I will just let his creative path give me some freedom in my own path.

creative freedom

Grandma and all her grandchildren at the time.
I started when I was young just like everyone else loving my creations.  I remember my first self doubt when I was young sitting at the ranch in my grandmothers office and she sat me down with an orange and some cloves.  She instructed me to make an ornament by taking the cloves and pressing them through the flesh of the orange.  I could choose to make a pattern or I could just cover the orange.  It was my choice.  Oh the pressure of this was more than I could bear.  It lasted about a minute and then my grandma said to me, “no pressure, just have fun.”  She explained the orange was going to be beautiful and smell wonderful no matter what I created.  She took away the pressure I was feeling and replaced it with freedom.

We all feel this pressure when we create sometimes. Some of us more than others.  Some of us do it by putting pressure for money, deadlines, and others self made pressure.  This pressure can suck the joy out of creating.  For me I decided long ago not to play along.  I never place a dollar amount on what I create.  However, I do fall into the deadline category sometimes.  It is a painful feeling to place pressure into my creativity.  Creativity is a natural thing for everyone.  It is a practice we should all partake of.  When we place pressure on our creativity we lose our creative freedom and therefore do not see being creative as a fun, freeing experience.

How can we be free creatively?

1.  By being kind to ourselves.  NO harsh self talk.  When these voices come into your head just ask them politely to go away and then see some good in what you have created or the creative thought you are nurturing.

2.  Don’t box yourself in.  If you are photographer and you want to paint.  Go paint.  I say this because I did this.  For a lot of years I stopped playing in paint and just played with my camera.  One day I decided to play in paint again and it is what I do most of the time.  I still take pictures and I adore photography but it is not my path right now.  Right now it is painting.  So I am following it.

3.  Start your creative process with the bold NO PRESSURE attitude.  Just have fun and enjoy it.

4.  Remember creativity is your God given right.  You were born a creative, we all were.   Do not put a place marker in your creativity.  Don’t compare yourself to others or let them compare themselves to you.  You do not have to be the best or even place yourself in some rank.  “You are you.  That is truer than true.  No one can be you better than you.” Dr. Seuss

5.  As far as deadlines are concerned, start early and give yourself time and space to finish things.