Sunday, January 10, 2010

i challenge you to unplug!

In college I had a painting mentor who told me, "when creating, try not look to look at other artist's work, turn off the t.v. when painting and don't listen to music with lyrics- it can be too influential over your own work". At the time I didn't think much about his recommendations (he was really eccentric), I already didn't look at other peoples work to influence my own- there was not much of an internet then, I didn't have access to t.v. in my creative space but music with no lyrics- that was absurd!!! These days this advice has come back to inspire and haunt me- especially lately. In a world where anything is accessible on the computer, it seems that there is now a place in my life for his words- over 15 years later thank you very much! I have been forcing or maybe I should say "working on" unplugging in my daily creative life. While I still don't depend on other's work to inspire me, I do depend on the computer for marketing, promotion, research and more. I have recently noticed that all this technology is giving me anxiety and fogging my brain and my creative spirit. I find myself thinking of status updates and blog entries when I am falling asleep at night, I watch t.v. and movies when I work, listen to music, twitter, blog, photograph, update, email, check status and so on and so on ALL DAY LONG- sometimes at the same time! It is exhausting, and while I don't think there is any way to avoid technology and perks that come with it (especially when running a creative business) I do think that there needs to be a time and place in order to maintain purity in our creative work.

I want to challenge all of you out there to join me in "unplugging" throughout your week to make time for quiet creating that doesn't have technology attached to it. Here are a few simple ideas to get started-

Instead of t.v or music with lyrics while you create- try listening to jazz or instrumental or even (gasp) silence- just a few times during the week when you are creating.

Pick one day out the week and spend half (only half) the day not checking email, twittering, blogging, checking other blogs, etc. Challenge yourself to work up to a whole day spent away from the computer.

Look for creative inspiration OFF the internet- Look for unique color combos in your everyday routine (grocery store, drive to work, pile of laundry). Get back to basics and sketch. Go on daily, weekly or even monthly photoshoots for unique images or inspiration to use in your art.

Keep a body of your work private. Use some work for promotion, blogging, samples, etc but challenge yourself to work on things only for you. I find that making art without any purpose is best for the soul.

Turn off the t.v. when creating- this is my biggest challenge because often I get bored (while sewing or doing prep work) but have lately that time away from the t.v. while working on creative tasks has helped me thinking clear.

Come up with your own ways to be be authentic and pure in your daily creative life

Good luck!


Kim Klassen said...

wonderful post... very thoughtful...and something i need to do! i'm going to try a half day away from the computer and my blackberry... wish me luck. :)

xxo, kim

primdollie said...

wonderful advise and post!! all so true! I need to do this... so I can be more creative and not find myself here on this computer so much! thanks I will really try to stick with it! I appreciate the challenge!! and love your blog! so happy I found it!
xo linda

Jamie Fingal said...

great post. i often never turn on my computer when i got to my studio. i yearn for the days when i am totally in the zone. but, i can't live without music - it helps drive me to where i need to go. instrumental is my favorite for intense thinking.

Cristi Baxter Clothier said...

Wow, great advice. I've been questioning myself on this very subject lately. Especially other peoples work influencing my own.

Thanks for the challenge! I'm up for it and will start first thing tomorrow.

Kittyj said...

I have found myself craving silence when I work - not like the old days when I painted an entire series with Perry Mason reruns!!! Ha! I'm with you!

Emma said...

I guess I've passed most of your challenge already! I love silence but don't mind the odd Radio 4 or the sound of waves outside the studio (only when there's a northerly, tho) I do tear the odd bit of paper to the tv in the evening. I've decided all my work is for me! Well, most of it:)

I love looking at others work; it's inspiring, gives the connection I need to get going, gives me permission to be me!

Right, now I'll unplug!


kelly barton art + design said...

as much as i hate to even consider it. this is all so true. my husband and i were just talking about the time i spend on email and of course, the devil...facebook. thank god i don't have an iphone or blackberry.

i am going to work on this.

Anonymous said...

As a singer, I've got music in my head 24/7 but, when I'm home, I just love the silence so I try to keep that vibe throughout the day. I DO have to learn to stay away from the computer, though.

I'm taking baby steps to readjust the energy that surrounds me each day and, hopefully, I'll have success.

Have a super day! Love your blog!

Kim Mailhot said...

Thank you for this post ! I am feeling this way a lot my self.
You are inspiring in so many way, you talented Lady !
Thank you.

Kelly Warren said...

great advice. i actually tend to work in silence when i can. my every day is so filled with noise between work (director of student life at a major state college in florida), family and pets that anytime i can escape to my workshop with no noise is a wonderful thing! i definitely understand and get sucked into the technology though.

Jessica said...

I can't get into jazz, but Sigor Ros is amazing creative/ non-lyric music for me. Well, there are some lyrics, but they're in icelandic or made up languages. Also try Amiina and The Album Leaf and Broken Social Scene.

jackie said...

I think a lot of people are beginning to feel this way, the trouble is I sometimes feel quite lost when I decide to leave my e-mails alone for a day - I suppose that is what its like to be addicted.

beccy said...

I teach ceramics and kiln-formed glass at an art college in the UK. We tell our students this all the time - too often the first thought a student has is 'I want to make a teapot, so I'm going to research teapots' Obviously if you are planning on making a functional thing then there must come a point when you have to research how to make it work, but too often a student's sketchbook is riddled with objects plundered from google images and their work suffers from 'accidental copying' as a result. They can often never see the differences between originality, influence and plagiarism (albeit unintentional).

It's a hard habit to break when this kind of research is easier, fills their notebook for them and is at their fingertips.

In my own work I try to avoid all direct influence from books and the internet for shape and form but I have to work hard to ignore the wealth of images already in my brain! My work is also often political so getting my facts straight via the internet and books is essential. I'm old enough to remember a time without the world wide web, but now I can't imagine life without it.

I also find it very hard to work without some kind of background noise - I choose Radio 2, a mix of interesting chatter and older music. I find it motivates me and helps me feel less isolated when I'm working.

Lady Seoul said...

Incredibly inspiring. I shall start this tomorrow~!


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