Something is better than nothing

A lot of people never start because of the fear of imperfection. But when it comes to creating, something is better than nothing. That something could be as little as a blog post -- private or public -- a diary entry, a podcast, or a simple doodle of if you prefer to speak through images, an Instagram post. #gif #art

A lot of people never start because of the fear of imperfection. But when it comes to creating, something is better than nothing. That something could be as little as a blog post — private or public — a diary entry, a podcast, a simple doodle, or if you prefer to speak through images, an Instagram post.

The habit of making and sharing your art builds confidence. Of course, there will always be others that want to put a dent in your endeavors but most people are encouraging.

Even more, two things happen when you show up to produce every day.

  1. Your craft improves.
  2. You establish an archive of work to pull from.

Once your daily practice of making art is set in the stone and you've kicked down the frustration barrier that prevents so many from being consistent, then you can go back and pull inspiration from your work.

New ideas will bloom from the stems of your first drafts, especially the shitty ones. You'll start making connections and flag concepts that need further elaboration or clarification. Through this process, it'll start to become clear what types of work you enjoy, what you want to be known for, and where you want to spend the most time improving.

Creativity is not rocket science but it is still hard work, one that requires both commitment and trial and error. The professional shows up the good days and the bad to hack away at their inner genie. There are zero shortcuts to building quality and long-lasting output.

gif by youngcoconut

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What does it mean to do work?

The word ‘productivity' was originally an agricultural term meant to assess the output of farmers. As technology replaced field labor and allowed people to move into cities, productivity turned man into a machine.

Instead of plowing the fields, people cultivate threads of emails. They label manila folders into ten different categories. Indulging in the work-related tasks is a never-ending obsession.

But most productivity hacks are a waste of time. Doing more in less time risks skipping the fundamentals.

“Workaholics aren't heroes. They don't save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.”

Jason Fried, Rework

Unlike making art, busy work isn't always meaningful work. You can only get so good at Twitter and email.

When you're creating something, at least the purpose is self-expression. Even when you plant seeds and nurture the crops you get something back in return.

Let's be honest: What did you really do with all that “work” you put in?

The to-do list can wait.

Maybe the best way to get things done is to pursue more play, to disconnect from the tyranny of doing stuff entirely.

Arbitrary resets are more fruitful. Some of the best ideas emerge through a conversation with a friend or a solo walk in the park. Disengaging helps you out of your own head.

So what's the work that's worthwhile and enjoyable? Probably the vocation that lets you feel the most human, so you can less time acting like a machine and more time doing something fun, interesting, or remarkable.

“Those who work much do not work hard.”

Henry David Thoreau

Consider doing more heart-work.

A curious rebel

When in doubt, you can always depend on your curiosity. It is the fire starter for all important questions. #giphy #gif #creativity
via giphy

When in doubt, you can always depend on your curiosity. It is the fire starter for all important questions.

But inquisitiveness is not the only fuel you need. Sometimes you need an anarchic kick. The best medicine is straight up rebellion.

When conviction fights convention and curiosity whets the mind, the amalgam produces an orderly disorder that begs for reinvention.

How to appear completely

It’s a place where we disappear, locked in thought of the imagination. The pen moves mightily, an effortful attempt to get locked in with each written word.

Each sentence is a constant beginning, a chance to practice a stroke of brilliance.

We just might get it, someday. Get what, you ask? Perhaps nothing but the chance to do it all over again tomorrow.

What's the rush to the pedestal?

“The chief thing is to humble one’s self and become a little child, to be content not to master all at once, to be obedient to what Nature can teach, and to be patient through years and years.”

Auguste Rodin

Art constitutes thought’s core

We don’t make art because we need to. We do it because we have to. It’s not just an addiction; it is therapy.

Without our work or side projects we are an empty shell. Each project gives us meaning.

Yet, the tendency to overthink our work’s value often misconstrues the act of performing it. Sometimes making stuff doesn’t need thought nor interpretation. Like laughter, it just is.

The power to take a picture, draw, run a science experiment, or just write clears the fog of perfection or the need to appease others. The end product is not always for Instagram but for us. Art constitutes our thought’s core.

The homogeneity of stuff begs our mind to make what’s unique to the person. Limits are self-inflicted. Artists are inspired individuals.

Beware the mind virus

Creativity dwindles with age. First, school sucks it out you and then corporate work puts the nail in the coffin. // Beware the mind virus #gif

Creativity dwindles with age. First, school sucks it out you and then corporate work puts the nail in the coffin. 

Patterns of normality and absolutes are leaches. Like a mind virus, they kill off organic reflexes whereas cultivating the imagination sings with possibilities. 

If you're lucky, you'll have no choice but to follow the siren song of vocation. If that's an artist, great, if it's a bank teller, ditto. Whatever calling comes your way, make the follow-up deliberate and worthy.  

Don't let your ambition slip out of sight. 

“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”

Brian Eno 

art by David Koblesky

Never a blank canvass

Remote but close enough to remain within earshot. The artist beckons for renewal but never wants complete anonymity. #art #gif #productivity #creativity

Remote but close enough to remain within earshot. The artist beckons for renewal but never wants complete anonymity.

Purpose-driven, looking for a way of life rather than chasing the material. The artist strives to stay in form all year round like a professional athlete. Except his work never retires, it only gets ‘abandoned' as Leonardo da Vinci once proclaimed.


The Art of the Photo


The artist sets goals and rides the wave of success and failure. Each crest is a learning experience. If a one-hit wonder provides the economic backbone to make more, he will gladly take it.

Making art is like brushing the teeth. If you don’t do it consistently, you’ll feel like filth. The mental stain pulsates until the canvass gets some color.

Nothing numbs the pain more than doing it again tomorrow.

art via tumblr

The revolt of you

Fight predictability and slothfulness. Chase life all the way to the the edge.

Uncertainty is where all the good stuff happens. #gif #creativity

In constant revolt, we take on new challenges that others can’t see or are too preoccupied to try.

The mother of invention is necessity, with the brave and curious making that tiny start.

The endeavor to do is to learn, not just about ourselves but how we can influence other people.

Fight predictability and slothfulness. Chase life all the way to the the edge.

Uncertainty is where all the good stuff happens.

Head to head ➡️ 🧠 ⬅️

There are two people living inside our heads, one left brained and analytical and the other right brained and more free-flowing and creative. Together, they work in harmony. #gif #philosophy #life

There are two people living inside our heads, one left brained and analytical and the other right brained and more free-flowing and creative. Together, they work in harmony.

Of course, we also have a third piece of our brain that spaces out. Daydreams are moments that spark the foundation of new ideas, where the subconscious connects the dots.

The mind’s left-right dichotomy begets a full revelation, that we narrate ourselves and pluck information to shape our agenda. But the quest for certainty and meaning eventually come head to head.

art via giphy

Between convention and originality, Vivian Maier’s color work

Between convention and originality, Vivian Maier's color work

Amid convention and rebellion, the artist vacillates from Jeckyl to Hyde.

The artist uses cash to pay for the sex — the stuff they wish they were doing for a living. Vivian Maier was a babysitter who in her off-hours roamed the streets of Chicago with her 35mm color camera capturing beautiful everyday moments.

Maier didn’t have Instagram so she kept all the film to herself, under her bed where they were discovered fifty years later.

We all have a special genius or talent hidden in the fabric of our virulent selves. Neither fame nor fortune, expression is as essential as your day job.

Do you want to drive the car or polish it?

Do you want to drive the car or polish it?

That’s the metaphor best-selling author Karl Ove Knausgaard uses to cure writer’s block. Writes Quartzy:

“Writer’s block, to the extent it exists, stems from a suspicion that your work may not be great, and a reluctance to face that fact. When you’re always polishing the car, as Knausgaard puts it, you never go anywhere. That means you won’t get in an accident or discover that the places in your imagination weren’t that great in reality, but it also means you can never find out what’s truly possible, what you are actually capable of accomplishing.”

Perfection is the work of the devil. If you want to go somewhere, you’re going to have to set a schedule and show up to work consistently.

The habit of writing daily is like practicing bicep curls or brushing your teeth, to the point you’ll feel empty when you don’t do it.

It is anticipation that’s the real mind killer. One would rather scratch the itch then toil in the inertia of what ifs?

Only when you start any activity does the fear dissipate. Remember Nelson Mandela’s motto: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

So set a daily goal and stick to it regardless of your excuses.

Take the information you need and throw it away

In order to be creative, we need curiosity first. #amwriting #gif

There it was, knocking at the door of imagination and begging us to take it for a walk.

The mistake we all make is assuming we have all the information we already need. After all, Google spits up all the answers.

But just because every grade school has an art class doesn’t ensure that the students will be creative.

In order to be creative, we need curiosity first.

When we’re not chasing absolutes, grades, or even the pennies, raw interest accumulates on behalf of what’s alien.

gif via hellotrythis

‘I have the vanity of an artist, I want my work to be seen, but I don’t have to be seen’

“I have the vanity of an artist, I want my work to be seen, but I don’t have to be seen." David Hockney #art #artwork #painting
David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972. Courtesy of Christie’s

“I have the vanity of an artist, I want my work to be seen, but I don’t have to be seen.”

David Hockney

Now the world's most expensive painting by a living artist, David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold for $90.3 million from the Christie's auction house.  

‘The idea of painting two figures in different styles appealed so much that I began the painting immediately.’

The language of art

Poems are made of sound. Photos conjure up words. Creators, like linguists, endeavor to translate their work into narratives that make sense.

Artists are storytellers just as much as they are makers. They spend some time consuming content but more time recreating it, recasting their influences, inspirations, and identity into their work.

To be in a spot where curiosity overlaps with the fungi of creativity is the ultimate siren song. With a little effort, art can renew your heart and change your life.

If you too want to make something, don't want another minute. You are the supreme fashion designer of your life.

gif by William Redgrove

When originality fails

We discover our uniqueness through failed conformity. We're not here to follow. We're meant to bend standard practices in strange and wonderful directions.

Thinking different is the ultimate motivator. It carves us into individuals. We just have to remember that that's who we are, purple cows instead of mindless little robots.

“Originality consists of trying to be like everybody else and failing.”

Raymond Radiguet (view books)

When we wield the paintbrush, our imaginative grip never dies. It is then the masses want to steal chunks from us.