Thursday, November 17, 2011

new work & creating creative cycles

This is one of my new photographs. I haven't been posting many of them here, sorry! I have plans of sharing more...

Lately I have been achieving this perfect balance of making new work and being inspired to make more new work. I don't always magically feel this way, and in fact, when I don't, I often beat myself up about it. After so many years of studying art making, you would think that staying in a cycle of creating things all the time would be easy...right? Maybe it is for some people, but I think for most of us it takes a little conscious effort to keep it up.

What do you do to keep up your momentum and find inspiration? Here's what I have been doing lately:

- I write down EVERY single idea I have that could potentially relate to my art. The ideas I later find unworthy still usually manage to evolve into something else that I can use. I have a composition book and a sketchbook and I try to keep at least one of them with me at all times. Ideas often come to me suddenly, and I dare say many of them would leave just as suddenly if I didn't write them down!

- I look at other art, but not too much. I look at just enough, until I feel this impulse to create, but not so much that I feel an impulse to imitate. Leave room for your own ideas to develop! But don't try to create in a vacuum where you never ever look at the work of others. I also try to look at a mix of emerging and established artists. It can be daunting to only look at well-known people in your creative field.

- I make something every day (it can be something really small, like a half hour drawing, or documentary photographs of my garden) and I make something towards my serious body of work every week*--even if I don't know where it's going, or I have a million excuses, or I think it's going to turn out badly. It can be tempting to keep on planning, or make just one more trip to the store to get supplies, or do more research, but the bottom line is that you just need to get in there and create something! Making small things every day even on days when I am not shooting my serious work helps me keep up the motion of creating. It is also a good exercise that helps me remember how fun making art is. I would recommend that no one limit themselves only to serious work. You also never know what will become of your side projects.

*I'm always envious of my artist friends who have processes that allow them to be in their studios every day creating work piece by piece! As a photographer, I feel my process is a little different. I do assemble my photographs piece by piece but personally I don't feel I have "created" anything until I press the shutter release button! Others may feel differently, but with this sentence what I meant was actually getting to that final point of shooting a photograph.

How do you keep your cycle of creativity going? Does it come naturally for you or do you find it to be a bit of work?

Next time I will share what things I find distract me from my work and how I am aiming to limit those!

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