People have asked me dozens of times this dreaded question: “Are you an artist?”
I never know what to answer. Creativity is a shy, wild beast, hard to find and impossible to tame, but so essential to life.
Unfortunately, in the process of becoming social animals and internalizing acceptable social behaviors, we often lose our innate sense of creativity.
As a painter, I have encountered a few obstacles on the path and observed the ways in which I was repressing my own creativity. Here are a few tips to get the artist out of you:
1. Get crazy!
Most of us, especially from Western societies, rely heavily, if not exclusively on reason. The problem is: reason is only a tiny bit of our brain and mind. It can’t explain everything, and does not own the key to your most mind blowing art pieces.
So get crazy! Put loud music on, dance until you’re covered in sweat, or practice gibberish 10 minutes a day. Whatever it is that rocks your boat, releasing your unreasonable side will help you discover the whole scope of your creativity.
Don’t hesitate to share these moments with others: going to a concert, a gallery opening or a cocoa ceremony are great ways to get your creative juices flowing. Get inspired!
2. Be honest about how you have been holding yourself back.
I am an always-recovering control freak. I plan things at least a year in advance, and I want to plan everything. I love meal planning, grocery lists, setting vacation time way too much in advance and making playlists to know which songs are going to come in which order.
During a discussion with a dear friend, she pointed out that I was quite the control freak—but what stunned me was when she mentioned it was incredibly obvious in my art. I painted defined black lines to separate colors, prepared my ideas religiously and made sure I looked at designs for the elements I needed.
After this conversation, I decided to get a bit crazy and mix it up rather than sticking to one technique. Art can be a great way to channel your control freakiness, but you also need to be let loose once in a while.
3. Stop and pause.
It is no secret that we are over-stimulated: from our phones to our computer screens to ads on the metro, our mind is always on. Very few take the time to simply be, but it is an essential step of the creating process.
Stop and just breathe. Take a walk in the park. Meditate in bed, even just for 10 minutes. My favorite way to get ideas is to write two or three pages in my notebook right when I wake up. My brain is still somewhat foggy and it is easier to let go of judgment. This process allows me to write down whatever idea comes to mind, and also to put down whatever it is that I have to do. Writing it all down allows me to feel relaxed about what’s coming up in my day and remember my best ideas for my next pieces.
So am I an artist? I don’t think it is that much of an important question.
Maybe the only appropriate answer is that we all are.
Author: Soizic June Hagege
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Image: Courtesy of Author