I’ve spent the last year in what some would call art school. I’ve taken drawing, painting, design and computer imaging classes with some of the most creative, innovative, inspiring people I have ever met. Throughout my life, i have always admired “creative” people and wished I could be like them. Those who could be inspired by their surroundings and create something. I thought I never had that potential. I was creative, but in a different way. I could never make art. Sure, I could write a very well-written, thought-provoking piece on a topic that deeply interested me, style pictures and outfits and maintain a blog, but creating art, no way. Spending this last year taking many visual studies classes, I learned that I too am truly capable and creative, and anyone can be.
We live in a world dictated by results, wanting to do things the right way and following formulas. We have a set idea of results we need and do our best to get there as efficiently as possible. Instead of rushing through life to achieve results, I learned that the best results often come from creative exploration. Some of my best works were those where I had the most opportunity to play and experiment. There are no SparkNotes or short cuts for creatives.
I was so frustrated with my professor for giving us a final project in which our only instructions were to create a twelve panel mixed media work that “explored the motion of time through space” using the various techniques and styles with which we had worked throughout the term. What the heck is the exploration of motion through time and space?! And how the heck was I supposed to write an essay describing what I painted?! But I figured it out, and my work had a purpose. And I got that A+. Why? Because I was given creative freedom. I was given multiple weeks to explore and play around with various techniques, styles and ideas before settling on the final piece. I worked with my fellow students, got their advice and also critiqued their work and got inspired from them. And the work of my peers was so different than mine, but equally beautiful. Seeing how everyone took this confusing, vague prompt and created something expressive, meaningful and well crafted was inspiring in and of itself!
So take some time to just explore. Whether that is going somewhere by yourself to get some clarity or just sitting down with some pen and paper, exploring and playing are good for the mind and the soul. If you want to learn to paint, go to Michael’s, buy some paint and paper and experiment. I am certain you will create something you never thought possible. It may even lead to a bigger, better idea. If I learned one thing in college this year, it is that the best things happen unexpectedly.
I have made it a priority in my life to take time to create and think, whether it is writing, drawing, collaging or painting in my sketchbook. Sometimes, that process means taking time to read, watch and admire others’ work. Everyone’s creative process is different, but that’s what makes it fun. Buy a cheap journal and just play. Collage, paint, draw, write, sew, doodle, finger paint… just create something for the sake of creating something. Step out of the mindset of following a specific plan for specific results. Take a step away to explore, experiment, discover and play and you too will be creative.