“Each one of these platforms encourages a different kind of communication and the amount of time we spend on social media has skyrocketed. I challenged myself to create a visualisation of how I could represent each social platform’s user interaction in the most simplistic way that people could relate to and find conceptually amusing at the same time.”
Feel free to laugh and cry while I check my Tweets.
Ainslee Henderson takes interesting “stuff” (wood, stick, wire, leaves, broken electronics, etc.) and turns it into stop-motion puppetry. Says Henderson on the creative process:
“It’s like making music, you just see where it leads you. I stick and scult and keep scraping, putting things together and shaping things and then suddently what was just stuff becomes this character staring back at you.”
By the end of the video, he’s got all the puppets playing music together.
“They’re like little actors that only ever get to play one role. Everything they do is their swan song. They have a tiny little life and then they go back to being an inanimate object again.”
“The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care.”
— Hugh Macleod, Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
NASA engineers eat peanuts before every launch as a lucky charm. Picasso held on to his fingernail clippings to maintain his spiritual “essence.”
You can more read about artists and their peculiar amulets in Ellen Weinstein’s new book Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People.
Why do some creators hold onto some strange and unique amulets?
The primary reason for holding on to such talismanic devices is to establish an aura of positivity. As artists, the muse sometimes works against you, wanting you to fail or hide. Hanging on to or wearing an object of fortune allays those fears and sets the tone for confident action.
Crafted from found objects—string and bottle caps from Phuket, a cracked mask from Venice, a piece of sea glass from Long Island, New York—the 74-year-old celebrity photographer uses them to ward off bad vibes on his set.
But lucky charms go beyond the workplace and creative endeavors. They also have everyday importance.
Everyone needs some type of pacifier to calm down, whether it’s the lucky necklace, rock, or prayer they cling onto before takeoff. These items act as security blankets, placebos, and in doing so, instill the confidence to proceed.
As they say, let go (or rather hang on) and let God…
Chris McDaniel is a plumber at a hotel chain in Tampa Bay, Florida. But he’s also a talented GIF artist.
He recently partnered up with illustrators from online print store Society6 to animate some art pieces.
I’ve always loved the world of psychedelic art and how people would turn the original art into flashy gifs. I wanted to add to the world of it because I always saw the same things. I ran across some work that George Redhawk did and was fascinated by the motion art. It took me about a year to find out what it was called and how to did it. Once I found out the method, well, you can say the rest is history.
I have a lot of people asking to show them how I do it. But I can’t. If you’re truly passionate about motion art, then you’ll take the time that is required to learn your own style.
We need doctors who specialize in heart surgery and spend 100% of their time helping other people. But we also need polymaths (Newton, Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.) to combine ideas to push society forward.
As Dilbert’s creator Scott Adam points out, achieving excellence is rare.
If you want something extraordinary [in life], you have two paths:
1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.
The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.
The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.
The fox and the hedgehog
Said the Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” When it comes to survival, all the hedgehog has to do is protect itself with the skill of its spines. But the fox is more versatile. It can adapt against a multitude of predators and different scenarios.
Furthermore, our success may hinge on what two or more things we can combine. We should think about our life experiences and how we can merge them with preexisting skills. We have the responsibility to create our own vocation if it doesn’t yet exist.
Both experts and practicians make the world a better place. One can’t exist without the other.
Diana Pietrzyk is an interdisciplinary artist who explores an array of mediums including gifs, painting, illustration, and photography. Most recently, she designed neon signs for Nike’s Air Max Day.
I discovered her amazing work on Giphy where she’s racked up 1 billion GIF views!
How would you explain what you do?
I guess that depends on if you are asking about an individual medium or all. I like to call myself an Interdisciplinary artist because I explore different mediums when it comes to expressing myself. I enjoy GIF making or amateur animation as I call it jokingly. Next to GIFs, I am an Art Director/ Graphic Designer, Illustrator, photographer, sort of a set/prop maker once in a while, and I enjoy painting. When I paint it can be on anything from pots, canvases, to windows for storefronts on Holidays. 🙂
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am just working on my own passion work as time goes. I am also being filmed for a small documentary about female artists which is pretty neat.
How would someone recognize your work?
Most of my work has a neon aesthetic. I’ve been working with this look and feel for about a year and a half now and I think it is sticking pretty decently haha. I mean, I’ll have friends send me stories from other IG accounts using my neon stickers asking “Did you make this?!” Or they will send me other neon works and say it reminds them of me which is cool.
How do you choose what to work on?
I choose to work on whatever my mood is telling me to. I mean unless it is for work. I have experienced ruts where the work was not coming in and I had no creative passion so I just don’t make anything. I don’t like to force my work. It has to come to me.'I don’t like to force my work. It has to come to me.' — Diana PietrzykClick To Tweet
Where do you get the ideas for your work?
My ideas are based on my imagination. Which is fueled by my own experiences in my life and things I see just living an everyday life. I daydream a lot.
Things I love that fuel my imagination:
- Astronomy/ Outer space. I’ve always loved looking up at the stars since I was a kid.
- Lights. Colorful lights (neon, Christmas lights, lite brites, etc).
- Mexican folk art. I come from a Mexican family so you might see some references here and there to the culture in my work.
- Flowers. I almost went to college to pursue a career in floral design lol
How long does a piece typically take you?
For the animations, it takes me a few hours depending on how complex it is. I start from scratch and then kind of improvise a lot once the piece gets going. I can spend even more time when it is not just right.
If I am painting something, usually a few hours for a day or two. I paint when I feel like it so I kind of get impatient after a while haha.
What piece of work are you most proud of?
Currently, I am most proud of the work I did with Nike. They had me design 5 neon signs for Air Max Day which was a check off my bucket list for me. I’ve always wanted to have neon signs made based off my designs. Looking into learning to bend neon one of these days.
This GIF is cool too- it’s part of my new exploration in my work and I felt proud of myself after I created it.
Where did you get your training?
I’ve always been an illustrator my whole life and began learning technicalities in middle school art class. It all kind of started there and in High school, I dove into film photography and took college level Art/photo classes. Following that, I went to Columbia College Chicago to study Art + Design with a double minor in Photography + Creative advertising.
Once I graduated, working at an agency is where I learned a lot more of the things I know now and try to implicate into my work. I taught myself how to make gifs 🙂
Who inspires you or who do you look up to?
I look up to a lot of my creative friends in Chicago. I love everyone’s passion and determination to keep it going.
My mom has always been a superhero- cheesy? Nah. She taught me work ethic and I think to be a successful artist, you need that. My dad always pushed for my creativity as well as my boyfriend who is an artist himself.
Again, being surrounded by creative friends is one of the best things in my life I could say.
Where can people find you next?
Find me all over GIPHY: https://giphy.com/dianapietrzyk
You can use my stickers in your Instagram/Snapchat stories. Just search “Ptrzykd”
Bonus questions: Anything goes…
What are you currently listening to?
I’ve been revisiting Plastic Beach by the Gorillaz. I think it is an underrated album 🙂
Also, Have you seen the new Childish Gambino video? I love him.
What less than $10 item would you recommend/gift to someone else?
A small cactus + a hand painted pot. 🙂
Sarah Anne Johnson is an experimental artist. Using her photographs of natural landscapes, she distorts their reality with altering materials including oil paint and rainbow tape.
“My general interest in photography is showing what something looks like, but also what it feels like [… by] altering the surface or image in any way, I can describe what a space feels like psychologically, what it feels like to be there”.
Sarah’s latest exhibit ‘Rosy-Fingered Dawn‘ is on display at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York. You can see more of her work below:
It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison bubble. You always want what we don’t have. You are incorrectly taught to copy, just as you’re erroneously taught to think in absolutes.
Celebrate what makes you unique
You should do what makes you unique. You should feel free to steal ideas from other people and build on top of them. Don’t just copy-paste.
The worst nightmare will be looking back on your efforts and thinking we you just couldn’t be yourself.
Being different, standing out, is what should push you on.
If you need more encouragement:
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Walking
Lonac is a Croatian street artist who paints surreal images based on his experiences growing up Zagreb.
His new exhibition “Strange Tales” appears at the Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles.
The artist’s Croatian pseudonym translates loosely to ‘cooking pot,’ a nickname he hated as a child but went on to embrace while in search of a moniker as a young graffiti artist. After having spent his teen years as a graffiti writer, he began exploring figurative subjects and styles, expanding the scope of his aesthetic and the reach of his content. Working from a combination of influences, including a love of comics, graffiti, music, film, and an immersion in skateboard culture, Lonac developed a signature style that incorporates highly sophisticated representation with free association and surreal juxtapositions. His works often contain portraits of people he knows, including himself, his father, and friends, bestowing a level of intimacy and diaristic intimation to the imagery instead of a generalized anonymity.
Keep tabs on Lomac’s new work by following his blog.
Hearing impaired photographer Kate Fichard teamed up with a former design school classmate at the Paris-based F&D studio to create a fashionable hearing aid.
Called the H(earring) project, it just won first prize for accessories at the most prestigious festivals for young designers, The International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, France. Kudos to the F&D team for injecting some style and design into hearing aids, what some would consider high-fashion.
There is no such thing as the perfect idea. As Rebecca Solnit writes in Hope in the Dark, ‘Perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible.’ Or as novelist Iris Murdoch instructs, “Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”
Our creative work calls for more action than reaction. Sure, there are benefits to structured procrastination but at some point, we have to sit our ass down (or stand up, whatever your preference is) and do the work.
How do you know when to stop working?
Ernest Hemingway’s writing habits always ensured he sustained momentum. In Moveable Feast, he writes: ‘I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.’'I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.' — Ernest HemingwayClick To Tweet
Hemingway’s approach for writer’s block was to write badly and then hold on to the bit with the most truth.
Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. So, finally I would write one true sentence and go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.”
The discomforting tensions around perfection are means to go, a green light to turn a work into something fresh.
Read more about conquering creative struggles:
- “Creativity is like breathing”
- Creativity: Faith in process, faith in rest
- Creativity Is Messy
- Do small things, slowly
- Get Physical
- ‘Good work only comes through revision’