Posted December 6th, 2013 at 9:58 am by Tanner Christensen
Do you think Picasso ever sat down in front of a canvas and thought it would be his greatest work ever? That once it was finished he would never have to worry about the price of painting supplies ever again?
I just can’t see any of the historically great artists or writers sitting down to work and thinking to themselves: “This is it. This is the work that’s going to change my life.”
Even if that idea you’re working on now does change your life – maybe it makes you unbelievably rich, gets you 15 minutes of fame, or makes you known as an established and wildly successful artist – what then?
Say you make it big and that one idea turns you into an instant artist celebrity. Are you going to not work on your art anymore? Will you suddenly have some other grand purpose in life? If that’s the case, why even work on your art now anyway? Go do that other stuff instead.
Creative work certainly isn’t going to make you money.
I think it’s important to regularly remind ourselves of why we do what we do. That each project or idea we undertake has nothing to do with making it big and everything to do with exploration and expression.
We do artistic work because it fulfills something deeper in us. Not a desire to become rich or famous. Not to see one of our pieces hung in the Louvre or to have our book number one on every best sellers list. Those things are nice, and undoubtedly any creative person would love to have those things.
But what then? The work doesn’t stop. The idea keep coming. The need to explore our thoughts and express our ideas, to solve problems and to make things, will always be there.
Enjoy the ride.
“People who find the act of being creative as a trait of other people are often believing so out of laziness. They find comfort in working the way they do, and when somebody else comes along who wants to work differently: they re-act by saying ‘we’ll that’s just not me.’”
Four things you need to stop believing about creativity
Posted December 5th, 2013 at 7:57 am by Tanner Christensen
If you’re working on things that scare the shit out of you, at least you know you’re doing something creative.
Posted December 3rd, 2013 at 6:37 pm by Tanner Christensen
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”
Steven Pressfield from his timeless book, The War of Art
Posted November 27th, 2013 at 1:34 pm by Tanner Christensen
Posted November 25th, 2013 at 7:00 am by Tanner Christensen
There’s something about art that entices the brain, even for those who don’t consider themselves to be fans of art.
For example, if you go to a museum, you’re bound to find yourself looking at a work of art and immediately asking questions about it. What does it imply? How was it created? When was it created? What was the purpose of the artist in creating it?
I imagine it’s a very similar reaction for the artist. They too have to ask questions, about what medium to use, what colors or melodies.
Now research has indicated that exposure to art makes us smart.
11,000 students from various schools participated in the study, with half of them being part of a test group that was selected entirely at random. The students attended a free tour of the Crystal Bridges museum in Arkansas, and were later given a series of assessment tests.
“Students who, by lottery, were selected to visit the museum on a field trip demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills, displayed higher levels of social tolerance, exhibited greater historical empathy and developed a taste for art museums and cultural institutions.”
Exposure to the art reportedly caused students to not only think about the artwork itself, but to also consider how the artwork was created, when it was created and under what historical context. The experience notably elevated students ability to think critically.
Why is this so?
“We can conclude that visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition.”
Art forces us think critically, increasing our tolerances, considering the history of ourselves and all mankind, and helps us develop our own unique taste for the arts themselves.
The flip side of the coin – for the creators, not the observers, of art – is equally weighted. Creating art forces you to think. It’s not enough to simply place a brush against a canvas or pull a bow across the strings of a violin. You must answer a thousand questions in your heart and mind before you make a single stroke or strike a single chord.
Art can make us smart.
But only if we invest the time to observe it and – for the creative group – make it. So go consume more art today and make some too. You’ll be better off for it.
Keep a notebook, if only for the sake of getting out of your own head once in a while.
Posted November 18th, 2013 at 10:17 am by Tanner Christensen