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How I Stay Creative

Scott Looking at his work on the wall
Creativity ebbs and flows. Life brings with it times of plenty regarding creativity and can also be peppered with dry spells.  I don't always want to create something and it's a constant challenge finding ways to be creative. The major take away from the following list: Persevere, try to surround yourself with creative individuals and make it a central part of your daily routine.
 
1) Experiment and Play :
It's important to allow yourself time to play with a variety of mediums, subject matter and artistic approaches to art. This is especially important for younger artists. Mastery comes with a life time of work. You have time for that, what you need is to carve out time for play and experimentation. Those two things will inspire discovery and get you closer to who you are as an artist.
 

Experimentation with Band 50 Man Machine

Experimenting with The Band 50 Man Machine - I did the video art behind them as they performed. [] More


2) Look inward, not outward:
I admit, for most of my student career (all the way through grad school)  I didn't study many artists. Mind you, the internet was in its infancy and the Library and Museums were my main source of information. As such I was not willing to browse the library bookshelves when I felt the need to be in the studio. I even found myself curating what I looked at when traveling to Museums and galleries in NYC. Instead, I found my inspiration during periods of isolation. You can't substitute the countless hours one needs in the studio.
 
3) Know the difference between constructive criticism and criticism based on self interest:
Ever had someone critique your art based on what they would do to make your work better, not specifically what you should do to make it better? There is a difference. If the person looking at your art does not know or ask what you are trying to say with your work, their criticism comes from the wrong place. (I make a point of critiquing based on the individual's needs, not my own.)
 

My Work Has Changed A lot Over the Years

My work has changed a lot over the years! [] More


6) Be an Individual and seek change:
Fine art is many things. For me it is individual, honest and seeks for a type of truth. Some art is social, some a rejection of the current artistic trends. Other art is created in homage to the past or done for purely aesthetic reasons. My work is highly personal and I believe this adds to its uniqueness. My growth as an artist and as an individual is directly reflected in the work and illustrates my personal journey. I have no idea how some artists paint the same picture for years. It makes me wonder.
 
5) Tackle multiple projects at once: 
I don't always want to paint or draw on my most current project. So I start another. As of this post I have 6 paintings I am currently working on. If you do this, you can continue to work and keep your level of interest high.
 
6) Stay Away from Fads:
Artistic fads will make you stuck. It's tempting to create in a specific genre or style that you like. But it will only stop you from moving forward and your work will look just like the rest of that genre. Instead use a style or genre as a launchpad, a departure point for your own form of expression. 

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7) Find a community:
I am lucky to be a professor at a great University surrounded by talented faculty and hard working students. This is my community and it has helped me stay on track and continue working. Do you have a community to keep you excited? If not, you may be able to find it through gallery openings, museum visits and social media. 
 
8) Create every day:
Always...

 

* My thoughts are based on 20 years as a professional artist and professor. They are my own thoughts and may or may not apply to you, so read, but in no way should these thoughts supersede your own experience.