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Art & Creativity

Living life as an artist is a practice. You are either engaging in the practice or you’re not. It makes no sense to say you’re not good at it. It’s like saying, ‘I’m not good at being a monk.’ You are either living as a monk or you’re not. We tend to think of the artist’s work as the output. The real work of the artist is a way of being in the world.
~ Rick Rubin
  1. An artist’s mind is like a box of crayons: colorful, diverse, and occasionally, a little broken.
  2. NEVER stop creating.
  3. Always be true to your creative voice. Your job as an artist is to translate/communicate your ideas and feelings into something tangible, whether on a canvas, in a photograph, from a piano or something you have written that is uniquely yours. Do not follow trends and be open to learning from others.
  4. Get a pair of wireless noise-canceling earphones to wear if the environment you are making your art in has a lot of sound distractions. You do not have to play music.
  5. The gift of artistic creativity lies in harnessing one’s imagination and original thoughts to craft pieces of art that convey emotions, ideas, and viewpoints in distinctive and significant ways. It entails delving into diverse mediums, methods, and styles to create something fresh and exceptional that connects with the intended audience. The journey of artistic creativity is an ongoing dance of envisioning, experimenting, and refining, ultimately culminating in deeply personal and, at times, transcendent expressions.
  6. Do not create art with the sole purpose of selling it, unless that is your job. The best work produced by most artists (especially musicians) happens before they are recognized and begin making money or becoming famous.
  7. The most you should explain your artwork is by giving it a title. Let an observer find their own meanings behind what you have created to allow them to have an even more personal relationship with it. Have others tell you what they see in your work. Sometimes you will be fascinated to find hidden objects that others see that you did not.
  8. When viewing someone’s artwork, really look at it and tell the artist what you see and feel.
  9. Do not listen to anyone and do what you love — make things that you love. Make your favorite things and make them for you. It is extremely difficult and often futile to make art that is true and real to you if it is for someone else. Particularly when money is involved. It doesn’t matter if anyone likes your artwork or not. Your job is to create…not to please others.
  10. Art supplies are always okay to buy.
  11. You’re one-of-a-kind, so celebrate your individuality and let it shine in everything you do. Use your unique talents and perspectives to stand out from the crowd.
  12. If you must get a job to support your art, that’s fine. It’s probably better that way.
  13. If you have a friend or family member that is an artist and they are selling their artwork or something with their artwork on it, make it a point to buy something and to share their work with others.
  14. If an artist wants you to critique their work, then provide honest and constructive feedback on the quality and skillfulness of their work. You do not have to understand it.
  15. Have a place set aside that is comfortable, private, and has good natural light. Surround yourself with things that foster creativity and freedom. This is your studio. Make it yours.
  16. Recognizing true beauty comes from the heart and mind working together, and not just a quick glance from someone’s eyes. Art is not defined by the people who view your work, but by you, the creator.
  17. Keep an open mind and always be willing to explore new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. Staying curious will help you grow and adapt to change.
  18. If you truly want to be an artist, then be an artist! Live a life of creativity and make something new every day. It is okay if it sucks. And though it will be hard, the only way to get better is to put your time in. You would not love it as much if it were easy. You may have some natural talent, but it takes work and dedication to develop your skills. Do your art solely for the process, and never ever worry about what people might think of the finished piece. When you are done making something, really be done with it and put it out of your mind.
  19. Do not buy an artist art supplies unless you know exactly what they want or need. Artists are usually very particular with what they like to work with, so if you are unsure what to get them, a gift card for an art store is always awesome.
  20. You do not have to be starving, flamboyant, rude, controversial, depressed, live in NYC, have a beard, or be in some sort of pain to be an artist.
  21. Beware of wishing you had more likes on social media. Sure, some recognition from others about your work can be motivating at first and even provide some confirmation that you are communicating your thoughts and ideas well with what you create. Just be careful that you do not allow yourself to think about these things during your creative process. This will certainly change your art and your attitude toward your work.
  22. Even if you believe in your dreams, follow your heart, and are passionate about your craft, you will still be outdone by people who are learning new things and working harder than you.
  23. Experiment and learn new ways to create. The levels you are willing to push yourself to be uncomfortable is a direct measure of how much and how well you grow your art. Break through your fear and doubts and allow yourself to expand and grow. You did this when you learned how to walk. You did this when you learned how to write your name. You did this when you learned how to ride a bike. These were hard and scary things to learn, but you tried and tried and look at you now. The process of learning something new is absolutely no different from these things.
  24. Inspiration is like a sneeze. You never know when it’s coming, but you can’t hold it back when it does.
  25. Do not do your art for fame and recognition but focus on the process itself. These things can be a great byproduct of what you create, but focusing on the outcome of your work will take you down the path of eventually despising that you are an artist.
  26. Do you have a creative block? Take a walk. Clean your studio. Stand on your chair for a few minutes to change your perspective of your world. It is super-important to remind yourself that having a creative block is a great indication that you are growing in your work, so do not allow yourself to be depressed or frustrated at this.
  27. Please stop comparing your art and what you do with your art to other artists. Learn from and be inspired by other artists and remember that every artist must have their own unique voice and will always be at different skill/experience levels.
  28. Photography gear doesn’t matter as much as other photographers might make you think. A nicer camera doesn’t make you a better photographer…just a photographer with a better camera.
  29. If you take photos, do it with the mindset that no one needs to see what you capture. Look to capture moments that mean something to you. Focus on creating photos that please you versus what (you think) someone else might think. Most people will never sit and look at one of your photos for more than a second or two.
  30. Being an artist is a journey without an end.
  31. Stay true to yourself. Do not undermine your taste or voice as an artist as a reaction to someone else’s opinion or desire. Instead, show the world who you really are.
  32. No one will see exactly what you see, no matter how hard you try.
  33. We are not here to do what has already been done.
  34. It is okay for your work to be cliché if you are learning and progressing toward finding your voice. Whatever that is.
  35. There is beauty in everything. You just have to look for it.
  36. Please do not measure yourself or any other artist by their last piece of artwork.
  37. When taking a photograph, remind yourself to slow down, breathe, and pay attention. And remember that it is hard to compensate for bad light.
  38. There is a fine line between adjusting a photo and photo manipulation. And it is up to you if you cross the line or not. And if you do, who cares?
  39. Being bored, frustrated, uncomfortable, or uninspired are signals that you need to push yourself to learn and go further.
  40. You can have a gut feeling and an eye for good composition, but you should not always trust it. Composition rules are important to be mindful of, but you don’t always have to follow them.
  41. Fight against the short-lived instant gratification that social media promises.
  42. If your art feels too safe and comfortable, it might be time to step out of your comfort zone. Venture just a little further than you think you can handle, where you can’t quite touch the bottom. That’s when you’re in the perfect spot to create something truly thrilling and exciting.
  43. If you look through the years of the photos that you have taken, you will gain some insight into what turns you on the most.
  44. Don’t worry about fitting in. It’s too painful. And it’s distracting.
  45. Learn about what it means to be creative, even on a scientific level, to help bolster and empower your own creative process with true intention.
  46. Art plays an essential role in our personal growth and emotional fulfillment. Whether we are the creators or the audience, we have the potential to be deeply moved, inspired, and changed by art’s ability to evoke emotion, provoke thought, and broaden our understanding of the world.
  47. If you really want to become an artist, you must be the kind of person that creates every single day. Even when you are uninspired. Do the work.
  48. Embracing chaos and darkness, breaking down barriers, and venturing into the unknown can unleash the untapped potential of your imagination, allowing you to explore uncharted territories of self-expression and ultimately create artwork that transcends conventional boundaries and challenges the status quo. This can be a transformative experience.
  49. Remember, there are countless creations that never see the light of day, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable. Embrace your desire to create, even if your work doesn’t always find an audience. Working on your art, regardless of recognition, can be a lonely and challenging journey, but it’s also a brave and admirable pursuit. Unseen or unknown creative efforts still contribute to the cultural landscape. Cherish the deeply personal aspects of your creative process, as they hold immense value beyond public acknowledgment.
  50. Artists should be granted the freedom to experience rough patches, create less-than-perfect work, find themselves entangled in chaos, and conduct experiments that may not succeed. It is equally important to allow artists to traverse phases where their direction seems unclear, where they may repeat themselves continuously, or even produce work deemed cliché.
  51. When you were first drawn to creating art, there was a spark within you…some mystical feeling in knowing that if you could bring this spark or idea to life, you would be released or translating a feeling or expression. And doing so would allow you to learn more about yourself. And even heal yourself in some way. So remember that feeling, and start with that each time you begin something new.
  52. Creative blocks are a natural part of the creative process. Get rid of the pressure to create something perfect or groundbreaking and focus on creating something free from judgment or self-criticism. Creative blocks often arise from being preoccupied with the past or future. Focus on the here and now, and allow your art to flow from a place of presence and mindfulness. Also, recognize that the creative process is not entirely within your control, and allow yourself to be guided by intuition and spontaneity. Approach your art with a sense of exploration, experimentation, and a beginner’s mindset, open to wonder and possibilities, and trust that it will pass as you continue your artistic journey.