You are the content you publish.
Sign up with Facebook
Sign up with Twitter
I don't have a Facebook or a Twitter account
Start a free trial of Scoop.it Business
Brilliant BBC Horizon documentary last night - 'The Creative Brain: How Insight Works' on the neuroscience behind creative insights - utterly compelling viewing for entrepreneurial educators like me.
Dave Jarman's article surfaced while I was in the middle of teaching a Design workshop for textile artists. Isn't it interesting that as much as I thought I knew about the creative process, Jarman's take caused exactly the sort of shift for me that he described in his review!
The relevant point concerned assumptions we make. The Creative Brain: How Insight Works suggests that ah ha moments often spring up because we've temporarily let go of our everyday assumptions.
One of my standard assumptions is that workshop participants are more comfortable when they know where we're headed and what we're going to do. I call it mapping the day.
But a niggling thought prevailed, and I decided to make the first exercise of the morning an open-ended one.No explanation of why we were doing what I requested, or what we would do with what we painted. The assignment? Just take black paint and Go!! Fill the page with marks.
Yeah, it was uncomfortable for the participants. There were furrowed brows, and the occasional deep sigh. A few plaintive requests for further explanation...to a deaf ear. Mine. Maybe a little discomfort is good!
Because not knowing where we were going seemed to keep us in present time. Which is a good way to approach making.
I'd swear the pages of marks we displayed later were fresher and distinctive somehow. Was it because they were made for the sake of making? Because there was NO assumption about where marks would end up or how they would be used?
I was surprised, and not sure I'm right. But I'm definitely going to try it again in another setting, and see what happens.
Are you sure you want to delete this scoop?
There are loads of articles out there on creativity and making art. I think the really engaging stuff considers what we make and why we make it. So you can expect the curating I do to focus on the surprising, the astounding, the thoughtful and the bizarre. And if that doesn't cover it, we'll go there anyway.
I am selecting articles that encourage me to think differently - broader, deeper, wider - and that means I won't always like what I read. But hey - that's part of the growth angle of being human. And appreciating conflicting opinions is, perhaps, a right we don't take seriously enough. I am eager to share ideas with you.
Wonder how to navigate the magazine?
To Find a Topic: Click on the Filter Tab above and type in a keyword. All the articles with that keyword will appear.
I won't be including anything gratuitious or silly. But I won't be everywhere either. So if you have an article to share, please feel free to write to me. And take a minute to visit my website: complexcloth.com.
With over twenty years experience teaching and practicing the art of mixed media and surface design, I definitely have an experience base and log of opinions. I hope sharing them will trigger a few insights for you.
How do you stage an international art show with work from 100 different artists? If you're Shea Hembrey, you invent all of the artists and artwork yourself -- from large-scale outdoor installations to tiny paintings drawn with a single-haired brush.
This is a good listen. he's funny and creative and I found myself wondering whether I could pull off what he did? It's an alchemical mix of belief in yourself and practice. If nothing else, his toolbox is now huge and overflowing.
Build color confidence into your artwork Concord Monitor This publicity photo provided by Abrams shows The Bordered Diamonds quilt from Kaffe Fassett's book "Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts" (STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book, 2010) and it also...
Of course Kaffe is on the money with his philosophy of seeking colors that POP....but there's the dilemma. Are some people innately better at - Dare I suggest even genius material - when it comes to intuitively knowing that colors either work or don't?
They are! And he is one.
The rest of us benefit from color theory - which like the Sun and breathing - exist whether we are willing to acknowldge Reality or not.
I admire Kaffe and his work and have enjoyed being in his presence a few times, but I think comments like his have an unintentional consequence. He thinks his words will empower students and others to explore color boldly, but for those less assured than he, the opposite occurs. Students - beginning artists - are less willing - intimidated even - to jump in.
Unfortunately, that's what a free market attitude and survival of the fittest leads to. Those with genius perpetrate genius. Everyone else has to think it over.
I'd rather take a kinder, gentler route and commit time and resources to explaining color theory clearly and reviewing exemplary color choices.
As the eternal optimist, I believe any student I teach WILL UNDERSTAND color theory and employ it succesfully. But maybe now I am showing my weakness as a teacher. I have a lot invested emotionally in believing I can teach almost anyone to do anything, including how to use color more effectively.
Even if you aren’t a foodie, chances are, you’ve heard the name Thomas Keller--the creative culinary force behind The French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon.
Stumbled onto this article, and love his quote - which is applicable to EVERYTHING. Especially art (of course.) Passion is great. Desire is better.
Replace the food references in Keller's quote with those appropriate to art and creating/making - and there we have it.
The Google Art Project is changing the way we look at masterpieces—and introducing a whole new set of problems.
Do I have a right to look at any work of art as intimately as I can - without being censured by the artist or the presentation?
I've always thought so.
I think it's fascinating to look close-up at art work whenever I can. I want to SEE the brushstrokes or stitches and discover how the artist used them to further the purpose of the work.
I find it hilarious that Brueghel "liked to hide things in his paintings - including a man "doing his business..." in the painting The Harvesters.
I don't like Georges Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte any less because the Google Art Project allows me to see that the figures are actually smears of many-colored paint. I like it more. I respect Seurat's creative defiance in the face of traditonal painting of his day.
James Elkins proposes that somehow the microscopic seeing that the Google Art Project makes possible is unnatural - allows veiwers to peer into an artist's private world somehow. As an artist, I disagree. Viewers who want to see detail will seek detail and relish it. Others will observe, perhaps have an opinion or two, and move on. Those who practice the fine art of making as I do, may agree that part of the joy of appreciating work includes analyzing how it was done. It's the whole package.
I may never be able to lift a Joseph Cornell box in my hands and tilt it - in order to see the parts move (as he intended) - but I love the possiblity of seeing his work at an unprecedentedly intimate range. Will I see imperfections? Probably. Will I still love it? Absolutely. Perhaps even more than I do now.
Knowing full well the reclusive nature of Cornell's life, is my desire to see his work up close an intrusion? He might have seen it that way. Or he might have loved my flattering interest.
The thing about making is - it's an act that is inevitably about not being in control. What artists do is create. What I do is create. What the audience, the critics, the gallery or those who walk the planet after I die, have to say about the work is out of my control. I could destroy everything right after I make it; that's one solution. But making it, loving it, and letting it go is less of a time waster. And ultimately more satisfying.
Mounting evidence shows that many people with dyslexia are highly creative, out-of-the-box thinkers, and neuroimaging studies demonstrate that their brains really do think differently.
I did not realize I was dyslexic until I was past 50 and wanted to learn to play the piano. I studiously wrote out the letter representatives for the lines in the bass clef, and checked my work. I'd written the letters backwards. Tried it again and did it again.
The next time I went to the doctor, I brought this odd experience up. I completed a simple test and it was confirmed. I am dyslexic in areas that have to do with numbers, dates and sequences.
It was a huge relief! Now I understand crazy memories from my past - and not so long past: missing flights because I had the date wrong, writing down a zip code with ten numbers instead of five, never being able to keep sequences of dye recipes in my head. And on and on. It all makes sense. I no longer feel defensive all the time. I can relax.
And yes, dyslexia has allowed me to tap my creativity in surprisingly successful ways. I solve problems in ways other people don't consider. And I am proud of it. As my psychologist sister said - I've developed coping skills the have allowed me to thrive. So it's ok.
And this article, written by Melinda Beck for the Wall Street Journal, asserts how ok it is - for lots of creative people. You may be surprised at how many bright minds have a dose - major or minor - of dyslexia in their chemistry. Check it out.
Who says art has to mean anything, or require any creativity whatsoever? Here are some cheap, simple ideas to decorate an otherwise boring wall. (Some great ideas for inexpensive artwork.
I like meaning. I like these ideas. Both things can be true.
Check out this set of deceptively simple ideas. They're sure to fuel the BUT IS IT ART? controversy - you know; the discussion you can never really win.
From the famous idea factory IDEO, here are six steps proven to get your creativity flowing.
I clicked on this link expecting to read a bit of same old, same old. Sure, there are new ideas related to accessing creativity, but purusing tons of stuff, as I have for this column, points out how often we're re-hashing, not truly rethinking.
The message behind the message is what really grabbed me - and it's that D word. Discipline! Can believing in yourself require discipline? Because you can spend as much time as you like thinking about mind mapping, targeted journaling, reading about topics that are brand new to you, but if no action happens as a result of thinking, an opportunity is lost.
If I apply Tom Kelly's six steps to the artist's life, here's what it looks like:
1. Mind mapping: Write "new work" in the middle of the card and free associate out from there? I do this in a linear way...never thought of trying it from the inside out. Worth trying. Will report back.
2. Hire a coach? Where do you need help? Marketing? Cleaning up process? Would a workshop do it? I offer a Mastery Program in surface design processes. Participants acheive mastery over process, but we also work on how to get work out there. What could coaching do for you? Or me?
3. Journaling. It's the targetedness of this that's good. Writing about art process; what's next - keeping track of steps and positing outcomes - that's all fine and been done. Focusing on bigger dreams and working from that angle - it makes sense. I'll try it as soon as I finish writing here!
4. Exposure to new ideas. The Internet is truly a wealth of opportunity. Resolution: Read one new piece - no matter how short - every day, before launching into the day. Or better yet? At night right before bedtime when the night wheels turn as you sleep. My best ideas wake me at 4 a.m. - especially when I remember to ASK for guidance or the solution to a problem before I go to sleep. What could planting new idea seeds turn into at 4 in the morning?
But better yet - the commitment to actually DO something new or unexpected. Something that will surprise the people who know you.
Is it about new materials? Using the same skill set but changing out paper for cloth? Mud for paint? Or will you finally try a new product or a technique that's held you hostage? Something intimidating you? Tomorrow is April Fool's Day. Go for it and play. Be a fool for art.
5. Let no idea escape. A reminder and a valuable one. The dog chewed up my car notebook and I've lost at least four ideas because I haven't had anywhere to write them down. Even an idea that presents itself as clear as crystal can fade away. New notebook in order. Don't miss anything.
6. Reverse mentor. I hosted a 26 year old man for seven months. I thought I'd hate having him underfoot. And then I figured he'd never be around. I was wrong on both counts. His curiosity about how I make art and what I'm thinking translated into new thinking for me. He moved on to a new setting but remembering those discussions proves Kelly's point. I was seeing my work with fresh eyes.
Bottom line: None of the above happens without effort. Choose to engage discipline. The good news: You're worth it.
Eighty years ago this week, the Detroit Institute of Arts debuted 'Detroit Industry,' the monumental murals by Diego Rivera that he intended to be a tribute to Michigan's innovative technology.
This is a poignant piece - including a worthwhile video clip - that goes well beyond recognition of the incredible murals Diego Rivera painted at the Detroit Institute of Arts eighty years ago.
The commentary on the social and political reaction to Rivera's mural underscores the important and honorable role artists play in society - then and always. And also underscores the upheaval experienced personally by making work that challenges public opinion or perception.
The glimpses of Frida Kahlo and the list of venerable Detoit landmarks Rivera and Kahlo frequented contributes to the poignancy, since many of them are no longer standing. I find it rather amazing that a city nearly brought to its knees by mismanagement and the end of the Industrial Age has kept the murals and the Institute intact. That's admirable and lends hope to the rebirthing process happening in Detroit on a dialy basis.
Personal, portable, supportive audience by Shari Elf guaranteed 62% more effective than Twitter! Get your art today: http://t.co/5X802SFtIU
If you need a lift today, check out SharElf's gallery pages. I wasn't familiar with her work but was I in for a treat. and so are you.
I've learned to separate my fears from my intuition and, at times, to follow my intuition through the fear. I've learned that love is a powerful antidote and can scare the demons back into the dark -- but according to Srinivasen S.
Glad to see the power of creation in the summation here.
As an artist who teaches scores of workshops every year, I have long recognized that this is the essential struggle faced down behind the studio door. Artists who "succeed" - however that may be defined - are those who set fear out on their shoulders as "monkey mind" and keep working anyway.
Recognizing fear is important for another reason and it's not to keep you from being a sociopath. Recognizing fear and moving through it to a creative victory is key to self esteem. Building self esteem helps artists - and everyone else for that matter - to keep going through difficult times.
Thanks to Justine Musk for a thought-provoking read on a long airplane trip home!
Wonderful and highly inspirational video. Reminds us all to strive for authentic and purposful communication. So chose your words wisely. They are extremely powerful.
I'm sharing this courtesy of Karen Dietz and Ken Mikkelson - which only proves how worthwhile it is to check out what other people are discovering and writing about on the web. Karen's take is that of a storyteller -business person. Mine is as an artist; where communication is essential and has the potential to be equally compelling. How can we as artists strive for authentic and purposeful communication?
I will hazard a guess that compelling artwork begins in my head as an idea, migrates down through my chakras/system to my heart, where it engages me emotionally, and then lifts unstoppably into my Will - or throat - where it manifests as a proclamation of what I intend to make next.Perhaps that part is sometimes a silent proclamation, but when it happens I know it.
Does your Artist Self recognize this chain of events in you? If not, pay closer attention next time an idea arises and see where it leads.
Thanks to Karen and Ken for a big lift to my afternoon!
I've loved this video for years...always gets me
The power of Words
This abstract art post outlines the influence of Greek Sculpture upon the very early development of abstract thinking.
Find time to watch the video clip, which expands upon Brushfield's premise. What a Universal predicament: striving for perfection, acheiving it and then encountering dissatisfaction and desiring more. Even being bored by perfection!
In this case, creation of The Kritian Boy led to the slow but steady evolution of abstraction, as Brushfield describes it. I was reminded of the advice newbie artists receive - master the rules before you break them. But I'd never fully appreciated the broader evolutionary context before.
Yet it's obvious: one era of making art stands on the shoulders of that which preceded it. From the Kritian Boy to Abstract Expressionism - think of it as an evolution - humans simplifying and broadening the approach to the surface - until there was very little left that could be done to a canvas. What could possibly come next?
Starting at the beginning again? Or going interior - making driven strictly by ideas rather than by a desire to create a perfect form?
Showcasing the preciousness of the greek artist from the Egyptian artist.
Leaders have more power than they realize. They can patiently create a climate of creativity or they can crush it in a series of subtle comments and g
Reading Paul Sloane's article was one of those big "this is so right/this sucks" moments - because he succinctly stated the obvious: the narrow behaviors killing creative thinking in business are basically the same behaviors that kill creative thinking everywhere.
Parenting. Are you the sort of parent who encourages your kids to try new things and explore like crazy? Or are you a worrywart who is passing on fear and negative thinking to the next generation? Take a look at yourself - whose fears are they, anyway?
Friendship. A friend recently confided to me that he was thinking of downgrading a friendship that had been important to him. "She always tells me why what I want to do won't work, and I'm tired of it." he said. Our friends hold our hearts and visions as their own. It's up to us to support and encourage each other. And if advice seems needed, it should be offered with a disclaimer; something on the order of, "I don't want to discourage your thinking - you know I believe in you, but could we check out this angle?"
Politics. Not enough space to go there. Ditto Religion.
And in the world of Making? The same deal breakers! As a workshop instructor, Sloane's observations really resonate with me; but heck - they fit being in the studio alone, too. Here's what it looks like:
Ten Great Ways to Crush Creativity - the Artist's Version
1. Criticize. There's a nice way to say anything. Teachers who belittle or behave dismissively toward students break trust with them. It's always about ego and power, both of which should be left at the classroom door.
In the studio alone? Listen to that voice in your head. It absolutely MUST be kind or you need to retrain. Compassionate open-mindedness is good. Especially toward yourself.
2. Ban brainstorms. Not good to be in an art-focussed classroom toting the my way or the highway attitude. Not even with kids.The best ideas always come when everyone is encouraged to try anything they can think to do. Working on your own? Keep asking that all important question "What If?"
3. Hoard Problems. One of the finest discoveries of my career involved asking students to help solving problems I'd always angsted over alone. Two sinks and 20 people? What should we do? Supplies didn't show up on time? Could we work together on this?
What I found out? Students appreciated being asked to problem solve because it gave them an opportunity to invest in the class and in each other. Same thing is true one on one. If you have a technical problem or one related to design, it might help to ask around. Someone will have the answer. Or will light up the answer in you.
4. Focus on efficiency not innovation. In a workshop this is called working to a project not a process. It saps participants' abilities to make the work their own. The last thing the world needs is more art that looks like Jane Dunnewold's art. Let's see what else can happen. Your personal version? Sure, you can dye 20 scarves in three hours, but when's the last time you explored something new?
5. Overwork. It's a wise woman who knows her limitations. Whether in the studio or the classroom, it's up to each of us to know when to stop. No one ever won an award for staying in a studio way past the point of enjoyment. Or bragging about it. Showing up and working is one thing. It's good. So is walking out the door to engage with other parts of your life. Like people.
6. Adhere to the plan. A total deal breaker. New ideas whirl up spontaneously and that's a gift. Do you know how bored I would be if I taught the same class the same way every time? Jumping in from a surprising angle keeps me fresh and that's a gift to students. It serves as a model in the workshop - it's ok to see what else can happen! And when you are alone there is nothing better than following the proverbial unknown path. It's only art. You can find your way back if you don't like where you've gone. Follow the bread crumbs. You won't end up in the witch's oven.
7. Punish mistakes. This is easy. I never even think of punishing someone, as most people are already masters at doing it to themselves. Whether in a class or the studio at home, turn off the committee in your head. I can act the role of a healthy parent (see above) and help pull a student out of doldrums caused by a mistake. At home you are on your own. Wallow for a couple minutes and then dust yourself off and keep going. It's the dignified way to behave and we are all entitled to dignity.
8. Don't look outside. It's shocking how many people who call themselves artists never look at art. I spend time in every workshop tallking about what's out there... Don't worry - you are distinctly you and your mark is your mark. It can't be copied or taken away. So check out other peoples' work fearlessly. Review. Evaluate. These practices make your own work stronger.
9. Promote people like you from within. The workshop version of this? Shutting down ideas if you don't like the student's attitude. Glomming onto students who flatter you and want to please. (it's not about you; it's about a parent for sure.) The best strategy in workshops - don't veer from the students who are strong and somewhat threatening. (yes, teachers do have issues.) Be fair to everybody, as best you can. On the homefront? Cultivate a few friends who have strong opinions. Talk about things. Stay friends with them anyway. It's all good.
10. Don't waste money on training. Everyone can learn to do everything better than it's being done now. Take a workshop with me, for example. :) Or with someone whose work you love. OR if you are at home, go on-line and check out Utube or buy a couple of instructional DVDs. We can always be better than we are right now.
That's the great hope, anyway.
"Inspiration is for amateurs -- the rest of us just show up and get to work."Questions of why creators create, how they structure their (Can't find inspiration?
Close's words have kep me headed back to the studio on more than one occasion. It may be possible to teach someone strategies for working and problem solving but no one can make you go to the studio. That's the discipline you have to cultivate on your own.
The Art Toast Project is a series of famous works of art recreated using food. Each is on a canvas of browned bread. It’s brought to us by artist and apparent toast-whisperer Ida Skivenes. Sh...
Ok. I couldn't resist. Plus now I'm hungry.
We know enough, we have enough, we are enough and we care enough to make it wonderful.
And now for a treat on a rainy San Antonio afternoon: The Creative Manifesto from Rebelle Society - creatively maladjusted.
I love this site. It isn't afraid to make people think or hurt or laugh or cry. It's so real you begin to read and then without realizing how it happened, you're inside it.
Swiss artist Felice Varini transforms the viewer's perception of space. (RT @curiousoctopus: Indeed!
The street art discoveries just keep coming. One incredible artwork after another.
Just changing things a bit. Complex.com: The original buyer's guide for men. (Cute. RT "@ComplexMag: Don't slip. New street art from Roadsworth.
Fun! I love the later ones and can't help but wonder whether these are presented in chronological order.
From an artist's viewpoint I would love to know which ones came first, to get a glimpse into how the maker's mind worked.
Don't you love it when you are already envisioing the next piece while you finish the one you've been working on?
One of Haiti's biggest shantytowns, a vast expanse of grim cinderblock homes on a mountainside in the nation's capital, is getting a psychedelic makeover that aims to be part art and part homage.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see all the photos.
What a little paint can do.
That part's inspiring, but even more inspiring: The partnering with those who live in the shantytown, which enables them to participate in transforming their surroundings. A sense of ownership goes a long way.
Today is the 84th birthday of avant-garde artist and high priestess of the polka dot, Yayoi Kusama.
Take a few minutes to check out the photographs that document Yayoi Kusama's career. And then - y'all artists out there - use her as an inspiration any time you waver because you don't think you can work on one element and its variations and not become bored.
It's one of those paradoxes - Stay the course and discover that almost anything has the ability to be endlessly fascinating. We just have to look.
When Niki Johnson, an artist in Milwaukee, heard former Pope Benedict XVI say in 2009 that using condoms could increase the AIDS epidemic in Africa, her creative juices started flowing.
Just for fun. This is neat. Move the cursor to create gorgeous symmetrical designs. Could I take a screen shot of this and load it onto Spoonflower.com? KInd of cool to consider the possibilities.....
Have you ever checked out this awesome site? Inspiring art made with uncommon materials. Makes us here at PCCR giddy. http://t.co/qRs643tUrq
This is delight on a Friday night. No other way to describe it. How could anyone dare to curate such ingenuity?
From the site:
Daniel Canogar's "Sikka" is a sculptural video installation constructed from 360 used DVDs that investigates both new uses for discarded objects as well as the phantasmagorical properties of video projections. This multi-thematic piece was inspired by “sikka”, the gold coins sewn to clothing dating back to Babylonic times that eventually became the shiny plastic objects we know today as sequins. Via his website, "In this case, film segments were selected from each of the DVDs for their color, shape and movement value, forming a digital palette from which the final projected loops were constructed. The accompanying self-generated soundtrack is the resulting “accidental composition” created by layering the soundtracks from the actual segments being projected. The final effect is that of an audio-visual mosaic."
A few days ago I had a moment of sheer panic because I couldn't find a pen. I went through the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross stages of penlessness (Denial: Maybe I don't need a pen?
Turns out lots of us still like the physicality of writing. The meat of this article was reinforced for me today, when in the middle of the workshop I am teaching, I went for a file card and pen, even though the laptop, Ipad and phone were all within reach.
All I wanted was to make a few notes. I needed the immediacy of ink on the page.
Who'd have thunk it?