Feb 21, 2011

When you're flying solo.

I have so many creative friends.  More of my friends than not are working in creative fields.  Back in the day, we would get together and bounce ideas around, talk about art and design, look at art books together, hit art shows and spend hours drawing and designing.  I've written before about how surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a great way to keep your own creative juices flowing.  What happens, though, when the group disbands and moves to different parts of this gigantic country?  What happens when you stop creating because life gets in the way? How do you get back to being the lean, mean drawing machine you used to be, when much of your inspiration and motivation is now over a thousand miles away?

The first thing that I've done is to make an effort to follow my friend's blogs.  It's cool to see how they all keep the flame burning, and how they're growing and changing as time goes by.  Two friends are more into photography these days.  One friend is getting into interior design and vintage furniture restoration.  Following their blogs and talking to them about their projects every now and then helps me get motivated to start some projects to talk about as well.  That way I'll have something to say aside from how the baby is, and what new skill she's developing this week (it's commando style crawling, if you must know).

The second thing that I'm planning on doing is frivilous, but inspires me just the same.  I'm really into fashion, but with the cold weather and time restraints, I'm unable to pursue that interest at the moment.  To compensate for my constant attire of jogging pants and drool covered hoodies, I'm starting a fashion look book.  I have a huge stack of fashion magazines, and I'm gonna cut out all my favorite pieces and glue them in an empty sketch book.  Fashiony stuff doesn't only inspire me when i'm sewing, but it also inspires my illustration work.  I loves a drop of interdisciplinary inspiration b'y..

The third thing that I'm hoping to accomplish this week or next is to rethink my studio concept.  Right now, there is a computer and a buttload of music gear in the big studio, and all my other art stuff is in the little blue room (images in this post).  We're planning on making the little blue room a music/computer room for Sebas, and then the large space will be ALL studio, with all my gear, tables, sewing machine, paper, etc. stored in one place.  I'm looking forward to it, because now I do all my non-printing work at the kitchen table, and it is FAR too easy to get distracted here!  The phone, the baby, my computer, delicious foods, it's all within my reach at the moment.  Part of being creative is having the time to work through an idea without having to constantly stop every 2 minutes for some reason.  It's actually taken me all day to write this post.  I can't imagine if I was trying to draw something, or draft a pattern.  It'd be in the garbage by now!

Anywhoot, those are my starting points for pulling myself back into the "art world", so to speak.  I'll let everyone know if they work.  What does everyone else to do stay motivated and inspired?

Feb 19, 2011

on creativity

 So, there's this awesome video of Thom Yorke dancing to "Lotus Flower" that came out this week (I think?).  Both myself and Myri really enjoyed watching it the other morning when it popped up a bunch of times on my facebook news feed.  As I was watching it again this morning, it got me wondering about how people get to moving like that, and then how people get to making music like that, or how people get to drawing the way they do.  I asked myself how people get to be creative in general. 

It's a pertinent issue to me, as I myself am pretty creative (and working on being more so), and I want to foster my daughter's creativity as she grows.  It will strike me as odd if she turns out to be a world class Muay Thai fighter, and never touches a Staedtler or a Micron in her life.  Though I'm assuming that her impressive musical and visual arts lineage will impart some type of creativity to her, I also want to know how best to augment whatever it is in her nature to be.

When I think back to my own childhood and what might have made me the way I am (besides my awesome genetics), I recall spending lots of time alone.  That's it.  Except for a few months of gymnastics when I was 6, and piano once a week for a few years, my time was all my own.  I can't imagine a life where every day of the week was a different class, along with homework, studying, and family time.  After all that, when is there time to think and develop one's own ideas?  It takes more than 15 minutes of free time before bed to become a Kahlo, or a Dostoevsky.

Perhaps in the end it's all genetics.  Maybe some kids, when left to their own devices become shiftless hooligans, out dealing crack at all hours of the night.  I won't say I wasn't a shiftless hooligan, it's just that I was up drawing or writing poetry by candle light at all hours of the night (I was such a tortured soul when I was 15) instead of pushing drugs on street corners.

No art classes, no summer camps, no weekend creative writing groups.  Just me and my sketchbook, which never left my side from the age of 13 onward.  I guess what I'm trying to get at is that even the most well intentioned structure can be stifling for creativity, especially when there's a lot of it.  I guess I'll wait and see when it comes to Mimi.  If she wants to take kickboxing after school, I'm not going to stop her.  But I'm certainly not going to force her into classes she doesn't want to take.  I mean, just think of how Thom Yorke would dance if he had been sent to dance classes after school?  Or if he was also in Cadets, Boy Scouts, and the Chess Club? Not like he does in that video, that's for sure.

Feb 9, 2011

Waiting for the perfect moment.

I really like writing this blog.  For me, this blog is a link to a part of me that I don't get to express very much in my day to day life.  All day long my thoughts are consumed by Myriam, and my time is consumed by mundane tasks that pile up if they don't get taken care of right away (hello, cloth diapers).  I'm typically doing 2 or 3 things at once; cooking while I wash dishes and dance for M in her high chair, folding laundry while wearing the baby on my back.  Checking out facebook while M is hanging off my boob.  I've become remarkably domestic.  While it's nice that I've been able to adapt to my new role in life, it makes me sad that there's a substantial part of me that's being pushed to the backburner for now.

When the midget is out of my hair (either sleeping or downstairs with her dad) and the timing is just right (I'm not too hungry, there's not too many chores piled up, my online banking is done, the moon is in the seventh house, etc. etc.) then I can really let loose and write a post.  I know, how exciting, a blog post is how I let loose.  Whatever, shut up.  It IS exciting for me becuase it's the only occasion that I can focus on creativity, writing, business, and just random thoughts that *don't* revolve directly around the midget. 

Here's the problem though, Myriam needs me all the time, I'm always hungry, there are always chores piled up, I NEVER do my online banking, and I don't even know what the seventh house is!  So you see, the timing is never just right for me to let loose.  I am always waiting for the perfect moment, and that moment never seems to arrive.  My mother told me this, when I was not sure if it was the right time to try to have a baby.  She said to me "Jillian, there it's never a right time.  But you do it anyways".  Thanks mom.  No, seriously.  That is some good advice.

Maybe you want to start a business, or have a baby, or write a blog post, but you're waiting around for something (an invitation perhaps?)  It's never gonna happen.  I may as well shut down my blog if I'm only going to post during an ideal moment.  Right now, I am eating supper that I cooked while writing this post, nursing my baby, and finishing this post with my one free hand.   Evidently, the perfect moment is now.

Multi tasking: crocheting while caring for Myri.