Updated: Sep 28, 2019
Being a creative person can be a blessing and a curse. I'm not saying it to make it sound scary, but if you have found yourself in the middle of the night struggling to sleep because you just had an idea and need to act on it or at least write it down to retain it, you might know what I mean.
A creative mind is a wind-whirl of ideas and obsessions. Creativity kicks in at random times and sometimes it is too overcoming.
Here are 8 things I obsess about, why I do it, and how I handle them:
1. Buying supplies
Visiting the art store with ideas is like shopping for groceries while hungry.
Buying supplies can be an obsession because they are the tools of our trade–what we need to feel ready to create.
There will never be enough tubes of paint, brushes, canvas, or palette knives, for each is a world of possibility and we want the universe!
The first picture above is from my friend Michelle's brush collection, the second, is of the aftermath of shopping at Michael's while there is a 70% off sale on canvas.
It is hard, but in order to resist my shopaholic tendencies, I have to make a list of what I need to get or set a budget before I venture to the art store.
The most important part to not go broke is recognize what you need, what you'd like to have, and what you can afford at the moment.
2. Feeling like an artist
I believe we become artists the moment we set the brush on the canvas and allow our creativity to flow.
There is, however, that unavoidable sense of uncertainty as on when exactly we can consider ourselves a professional artist, or just an artist.
Is it when we make out first sale? Set up a social media profile? Achieve our first exhibition? Reach a certain number of followers?
Do yourself a favor and never try to measure your worth as an artist.
If you believe in yourself, others will too.
Try to find reasons of pride, and tell yourself you are good enough, and that if you're not yet an artist, you will make one of yourself.
Throughout your journey, you are your most important supporter, everyone else is just a bonus.
3. Finding your style
What do we want to be known for? Sometimes we know, sometimes we have to explore to find out.
Even the greatest artists start by experimenting with known techniques, and once they feel comfortable with a medium they dare to venture into new ideas. Sometimes you have to get a little bold to experiment. It is about trial and error.
Once you find your medium and technique, don't be afraid that it might seem repetitive. If you are proud, own it, and let it evolve.
I have seen my own art change throughout the years. At the beginning it might have seen common, but perhaps the evolution of my own style is what makes me the most proud.
Sometimes you'll surprise yourself by what you're capable of creating you won't even know where it came from.
4. Bringing new ideas to life
Remember I said that creativity can kick in at any time? I know sometimes it can be hard to make a project a reality. Sometimes you want to try something really bad, which is part of the process of evolving as an artist. When you have an idea, act on it or write it so you don't forget. I was serious about not being able to sleep at night because of it.
I have even been impressed by other artists' creativity and what they create. I try to do it with my journals and I've seen pretty unique ideas out there, such as Meghan NutMeg's earrings and pouches! Or Elysia Myers wine art! .
Retaining and bringing new ideas to life is one of the most important aspects of being a creative because it leads to innovation. I could name many more artist who think "out of the box" and I believe this kind of creativity should be supported and encouraged in the community.
5. Finding time to create
The ultimate goal for some artists is to create art full time–most artists on social media have to find time to create because they have to support themselves through other means.
When you have a busy life (school, work, family) it is hard to find time for a painting session, and it ultimately leads to a creative block and fear.
Finding time to create is a sacrifice to some, just as taking a break is sometimes necessary.
The question you need to as yourself is: Is creating art full time what you truly want? if yes, you have to push yourself to work hard and make it happen, though recognize when you need to take a break to fill your creative well.
6. Having a presence on social media
Social media is how we get to be known outside our home communities. It is important for different reasons: marketing, community, and connecting with your audience are the main ones.
I had to learn through trial and error how to make my presence stand out, although sometimes all the research and all the work doesn't guarantee that you will get the results you expect, let it at least be one of many things you do for your career.
Mostly, I focus on instagram, but there also is Pinterest Facebook and Twitter to consider.
Take professional pictures, write good captions, research your hashtags, and interact with your followers and those you follow.
Nothing will give you the best results than creating strong engagement.
7. Building relationships with other artists & potential buyers
The art community on Instagram is strong. I am so grateful for the relationships I've built and the support shown between artists. One of my favorite communities is Empowering Creatives (@empoweringcreatives), it is for artists, by artists, and we help each other and are open about asking and answering each other's questions to make our journeys better.
Empowering Creatives has a strong presence on Facebook, which is how I started engaging with the community. If you want to check out the group, you can click here.
It feels great not to be alone in your journey. Connecting with other artists also leads to opportunities of collaboration.
Below are two blockheads I painter for Blockhead ATL (@blockhead_atl) who has collaborated with many other artists. It was such an honor to have the opportunity to do this because it allowed my art to fuse with his.
Collaborations are always fun. They allow you to think of new ideas and find a balance between your art and someone else's.
I am currently seeking collaborations for the handmade journals I make, so I will keep you updated on that!
8. Overcoming creative fear
Creative fear is not the same as a creative block. A creative fear makes you avoid painting through excuses. Everything else seems more tempting than picking up your supplies to create. Why? Sometimes there isn't a rational answer.
I experienced this last year. I would be busy all day at work, and ideas would pop in my head, but as soon as I would get home, sleep seemed more tempting. I realized it was fear that stopped me. Fear that my hands wouldn't have the same magic I felt before. I would only make excuses, excuses, excuses.
It took me months to talk myself into creating again.
I realized it helped when I knocked out the excuses and realized that simply, it wasn't my time to go back to create. I needed to recharge and I was able to come back inspired after my trip to India last summer.
Taking your mind off it it's the best remedy.
Allow yourself to recharge and come back inspired.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
I have never been alone in my journey and here are my little obsessions out in the open.
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