Categories
Productivity & Work Psychology

A single holistic view

gif by Mattis Dovier

There’s a private voice and a public voice, things we say internally and keep caged out loud.

The former helps instill the external self, the latter influences our inner narrative.

Somewhere between the middle of our diary and how we act among people represents who we really are.

But there’s a third self that exists on the web.

We live an edited real life in the social media age through our avatars. Yet a curated identity can be an addictive substance, especially when the behavior is oblivious to our staring.

Life, like the weather, is something we can only try to control. At some point we’re forced to ride the wave chance has given us. Adaptability is key, per say.

We should develop our own time recorder, know it and understand it. Because the loveliest people are already at peace with themselves.

Categories
Arts Books Creativity

‘A dragon day is a day when you refill your creative well’

4. Everyone needs a dragon day. In the middle of my burned-out period of the challenge, I started sculpting little dragons out of clay, just for fun. I did this on Sundays, which is my permanent day off from painting (thirty-in-thirty challenge or not, I still wasn’t planning to paint on Sunday). When I was talking to my sister about how I was feeling so uninspired about painting, but so excited about making cute little dragons, she started calling Sundays my “dragon day.” And I liked that idea so much that I now call Sundays my dragon day, whether I’m sculpting a little dragon or putting together a photo album or baking a new yummy treat. A dragon day is a day when you refill your creative well; it’s a day to do anything creative that you want, just for fun, with no expectations that anything will come of it other than the joy you get from the act of creating.

This reminds me of the author Tim Wu’s piece in which he observes that today’s Instagrammable edited real-life era has pressured people into hobbies only where they can excel. Instead, he implores people to enjoy a hobby for the hobbies sake.

The exploration of imperfect creativity produces a raw pleasure one can’t find in meticulous planning.

Categories
Arts Books

How jumping reveals the real person

Iconic Latvian photographer Philippe Halsman shot some of the most famous portraits of all-time for every major American magazine, including credits for more than 100 Life Magazine covers. He shot the Albert Einstein photo for Time Magazine.

But he’s also renowned for one of his side projects in taking black and white images of popular faces in mid-air “jumpology.”

During a six-year period in the 1950s, he’d request an off the cuff photo of a celebrity artist, author, scientist, or film star jumping into the air. He captured nearly 200 portraits of celebrities including the Marylin Monroe, Salvador Dalí, and Aldous Huxley and published them in a book aptly titled Philippe Halsman’s Jump Book.

“When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears.”

Philippe Halsman
Categories
Arts Writing

Why writers feel like they do nothing

gif via tumblr

As writers, we may feel like we do nothing.

No matter how much daily effort we put into it, writing doesn’t feel like a regular job.

Instead, writing feels like a blessing — whether we do it for pay, as a hobby, for therapy, or because we enjoy stitching together words as art. Or all of the above.

The process of interpreting the picture we have in our mind and converting that into words is a beautiful sensation.

Of course, the first draft is rarely any good. Writers harbor good bullshit detectors.

But the expectation is that we can tweak our words until they sound right. Revision wields the pen to our advantage and protects sentences from the erosion of complexity.

Never to be killed by comfort, the writer types on.

“What did you expect? It is work; art is work. Nobody ever said it was easy. What they said is: ‘Life is short, art is long.’”

Ursula K. Le Guin
Categories
Arts Books

Begin with a bookshelf

Book dam by Jacek Yerka

Build a board of long-distance advocates. These can be authors, leaders or personal heroes of yours you might never meet. You’ll never share coffee, perhaps, but their books and ideas can impact your career. I’ve never met him, but author Steven Pressfield greatly impacted the hustle investment of my Career Savings Account. I never would have been able to finish my first book without the encouragement of his book The War of Art. If advocates or a table of strangers feels like too big of a stretch, begin with a bookshelf.

Jon Acuff, Do Over

Reading not only creates a theater inside your head — it can also inspire you to do the work you’ve always wanted.

Categories
Arts Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

Material to hone

It starts with something to play with. Then it builds into an enormous flower of connections and surprises.

The problem isn’t speeding up — it’s calming down the circuits of the brain that are overworked and over-wired.

A prompt here, a rough sentence there, stock phrases, we inject certainty onto the page. But the dominance comes later through the editing itself.

Once we loosen up the control and do the work, we realize that perfection never meets the maker with great exactness. Everything is at first messy, as it should be.

The hardest part is calming down enough to zoom in and see it out.

And then we get to it — we write.

Categories
Arts Fashion Photography Travel

Meet Bolivia’s powerful female wrestlers, Flying Cholitas

Photographer Todd Anthony took pictures of Bolivia’s indigenous female wrestlers for his new project, Flying Cholitas.

This unique group of athletes wear more than stylish dresses and beautiful petticoats — they come together to demonstrate pride in their history.

Once colonized by the Spanish and rejected as lower-class citizens, pejoratively known as “cholita,” they have since embraced the name to symbolize their persistent fight against subjugation and hierarchy.

Symbolizing the culmination of strength, power, and beauty, the cholitas will not be denied in activism nor aesthetics.

Categories
Arts Photography

Speaking through pixels

The facticity of a photo also lies within the pixels themselves, en route to perception. What we see is what we get. #gif #instagram #amwriting
art by Maximillian Piras

We take pictures intending to show someone else — whether it’s our Instagram followers or our family and friends.

But the illusion of infinite shelf space keeps so many pictures on the phone, gone and long forgotten.

Photos should not be stashed away in the closet or hoarded on the hard drive for safekeeping. Even the snap-happy tourist collects a souvenir of the present that few eyeballs witness.

Photography binds us

We communicate in images. And each viewer brings to the picture their interpretation of the truth.

But the facticity of each photo lies within the intensity of the pixels themselves, en route to perception. We can never look close enough.

Just imagine what it’s like when we train the eye to see.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy

Less is best

We achieve breakthroughs because of restraints, not because of profundity.

There’s a reason we feel happy when someone removes the cashews at a party; given a choice, we’d keep chowing down on them.

A surfeit of choice creates self-control problems. When we have a limited offer on what we can use, eat, etc., we’re more careful in our entire approach.

Constriction is a passport to better decision making, a challenge of a challenge, that forces us to innovate or cope with what we already have.

Everything else appears as a pleasant surprise.

Categories
Arts Creativity

Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn

London-based artist Julie Cockburn discovers old prints of primarily faces and landscapes and uses hand embroidery, ink, and paint turn them into neat-looking collages.

Once I have committed to the designed image, the needlework has to be perfect — there is no longer room for play or error. The result is that each embroidered motif is a gesture of integrity that becomes a part of the old, often dilapidated print.

Julie Cockburn (source: FT)

She says her work requires incredible patience as its slow and methodical.

After she photocopies a print, she sketches over it to find an aesthetic that works. She then spends the next five days to two weeks stitching over the template.

Cockburn is proof that any image can be converted into something more interesting and meaningful.

Take a look at some of her glorious pieces below. Follow her on Instagram.

Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn
Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn
Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn
Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn
Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn