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The Wandering I


 

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

I have this idea for a screenplay. It would have a romantic comedy-esque plot line about a young woman who was afraid of commitment, career commitment. She would go through several random career paths and eventually dump them before they could begin to have a more permanent place in her life. The young woman would get bored too quickly, or the job would not turn out to be what it had been when she was first courting it. Nice jobs can seem to turn nasty out of nowhere. She wonders how she got herself into such a predicament. Ever optimistic, she gets out and moves on to another career path. She hopes this time, it will be The One.

She often fantasizes about The One. She dreams of something that will make her rich and fulfill her in every way. Ideally, as romantic comedies go, something will make her realize that she’s been blinded by her impossible expectations. This realization will then lead to the discovery that The One has been waiting right under her nose the whole time. She lives happily ever after, or at least something close to that.

That’s how I hope it ends. Because this movie is based on actual events, I don’t really know how it will turn out. I’ll just have to wait and see.

When I was little, I would have loved school if it wasn’t for all of the group projects, PE, and recess. I know this sounds weird, but it’s true. I’ve always loved learning. Discovering new things was always much more fun to me than running around, trying not to get bashed in the head with a rubber ball. This is what makes me weird. I will read anything on everything, but it’s the unusual stuff that intrigues me the most. I spent my summer reading books on neuroscience and the history of the beauty industry.I am interested in too many dissimilar things. That’s why I just can’t figure out what to do with my life. If I could get paid to just read, take lots of random classes, and learn random stuff, I would have been happily settled into a career already.

Unfortunately, I don’t get paid to learn stuff. It can actually be very expensive to learn stuff. So, I have to eventually settle on something to focus all of my interest on. I am roughly one semester away from finishing my BFA in graphic design. It has taken me a long time to get to this point. Let’s just say that I’ve wandered a lot. I started my college career as a Studio Arts major who dabbled in theatre, creative writing, psychology, and sociology. I eventually switched to digital media, then back to theatre. At this point, I became frustrated because I realized that I wasn’t really learning anything that would make me employable. I was tired of people thinking I spent my days coloring, so I decided to indulge my scientific side. I enrolled in an occupational therapy program. I loved the anatomy and psychology aspect of the curriculum, but I become cranky and miserable if I have no time to let my creative side out to play, so back to art school. I decided to study graphic design because it was creative and practical. I am still more than a little dubious about working in a cubicle in front of a computer for the rest of my life. My creativity is strongly limited by time, budget, my client’s tastes, and my ability to make the computer do what I want it to.  I find it incredibly difficult to make my computer cooperate. I spend a lot of time convincing myself that dropkicking my laptop across the room is a bad idea. People still think I sit at my desk coloring all day.

As I keep getting eerily close to graduation, I find myself wondering what’s next? I’m pretty sick of school but…

Since preschool, life has been scripted. Preschool to Kindergarten, Kindergarten to elementary school, to middle school, to high school, to college. I went to college because I was expected to. I didn’t really know what I wanted out of life at 18 so I just charged ahead blindly. It eventually became my quest to obtain a degree before I hit 30. At 27, I’ll have just barely made it. Nobody tells you what to do after that. There’s no clearly defined path. I could continue my education, or study something different. I could start job hunting, I could start a business of my own. I could start a family. I’m baffled by the possibility.

I don’t regret all of the wandering. I’m sure that all of the major and job changes have made more than a few people think I’m crazy. I have taken something valuable away from each experience. Maybe every class and odd job have been stepping stones to where I’m supposed to eventually land. Maybe I’ll wake up some day like the girl in the romantic comedy and find everything I’ve been looking for has just been quietly waiting for me discover it. If nothing else, at least all of the random experiences make for good stories. I keep telling myself that someday I’ll write a book about my journey. I would just like to know how the story ends.

 

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Architects of the Air-Luminarium


The Experience.

The Luminarium visited Omaha last week. My husband surprised me with a tour. Immediately, we were enveloped in colored light and soothing music. Were were invited to linger and touch and fully absorb the experience. Considering the space was filled with small children running about, it was a very peaceful experience. If Luminarium makes a stop near you, I highly recommend checking it out.

FYI: They allow cameras and it makes for a pretty sweet photo op.

You Don’t See Me


I am currently in the middle of this nifty little book called Imagine by Jonathan Lehrer. It’s all about creativity from a neuroscience perspective. I can’t give a full review right now because I’m only about halfway through it, but let’s just say so far so good. The reason I’m writing this is because I have just stumbled into a part of the book that has struck me profoundly. At this point, the author talks about perception and how creativity needs persistence. He uses graphic designer Milton Glaser as a case study in this particular section.

At sixteen, Glaser decided to draw a portrait of his mother. Sitting down with a pencil and paper, he realized that he really had no idea what his mother looked like. Her image had been set in Glaser’s mind at a young age and hadn’t changed.

This phenomena is actually very common. We walk around barely seeing those around us. Our minds just get used to the everyday people and places and carries with it a set image of how they’re supposed to look. Our brain saves its attention for new places and experiences. As Glaser says, “We are always looking, but we never really see.” It’s a little sad, isn’t it? Just think, we don’t really know what our loved ones look like. We just think we do. This is where drawing comes in. Drawing actually forces the brain to pay extremely close attention to the artist’s subject. One will see the lines around the eye or the quirk of the mouth that you could swear was never there before. Drawing is a form of thinking. I’ve noticed this in my own portrait work. I usually consider myself a relatively observant person when I’m not drifting around daydream land. However, I still feel like I’ve not truly seen a person until I’ve drawn them. Maybe this is why I enjoy doing portraits so much. This is also probably why I also hate self-portraits. I’m my own worst critic.

I hope you’ve found this little tidbit interesting. I couldn’t help sharing. So, my challenge to you is this: Draw somebody. I don’t want to hear any of that BS about how you can’t draw a stick figure either. Just sit down with a pencil and paper and really look at somebody. Study the lines of their face. Trace the shape of their nose and mouth. Really, truly SEE them for the first time.

Creative Kleptomania


1. Steal like an artist.

2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.

3. Write the book you want to read.

4. Use your hands.

5. Side projects and hobbies are important.

6. The Secret: Do good work and share it with people.

7. Geography is no longer our master.

8. Be Nice.

9. Be Boring.

10. Creativity is subtraction.

These are the ten rules to creativity that artist Austin Kleon introduces in his book, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. The major premise of this book is that nothing is original. Everything there is to be said has been said before. All great creatives study one another and steal from each other. Some may find this depressing, but Kleon points out that this is actually a good thing. He says knowing this frees one from the crippling need to be original. Kleon claims that in order to be original, study several people that you admire, then study those peoples’ influences. Once you’ve studied up, take bits and pieces from these peoples’ work and mix them together into something new. Take a look around art history. This is not a new idea. A lot of people forget this.

Being a slightly burnt-out art school student, this book was a much needed breath of fresh air. All of the advice offered in this book is very different from what I had been given throughout my college career. I am used to being under pressure to come up with something “different”. I also find that we all seem to be living under the artist stereotype. Yes, I am tattooed and have blue hair, but I really don’t lead some crazy lifestyle. This is probably why rule number six, Be Boring, resonated with me. You mean I’m not supposed to be going to wild parties and getting wasted all the time? I can totally handle that! I prefer hanging out at home with my husband and dogs anyway. Read a lot? I suppose you may have to twist my arm a little…

I also really appreciate rule number four, Use your hands. My background is in fine arts. I love to paint and sculpt. I’m slowly but surely making my way into graphic design, but going from fully interacting with analog media to just sitting in front of a computer screen has been difficult for me. I need to make messes. I love to be fully immersed in my media. Weird, I know, but true. Kleon says that art that only comes from the head isn’t any good. You have to try to involve your whole self into your work. Look out world! Behold the messes I shall make!

Steal Like an Artist is a quick fun read. It is filled with a lot of great quotes along with Kleon’s illustrations which help to bring home his points. I would recommend this book to artists and designers, especially students. It also has a lot of good advice for anyone who just wants to boost their creativity. Everyone is creative. Seriously. Don’t give me that “I can’t draw a straight line” garbage. I can’t draw a straight line either. At least, not without a ruler. Creativity’s not just about drawing or painting either. You can be creative in any area of your life.

Check out more from Austin Kleon on his website: www.austinkleon.com

Title: Steal Like an Artist
Author: Austin Kleon
ISBN: 978-0-7611-6925-3

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