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Arts Creativity Quotes

Why simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. He would paint over work that didn’t meet up with his expectations. Not surprisingly, Steve Jobs adopted da Vinci’s maxim in designing Apple computers.

Simplicity is the reduction of complexity. It unclutters the multiplicity of crayons and fence-sitting gray space in the middle and replaces objects with mere black and white.

Simplicity comes from revision

Simplicity retains the essence and deletes the rest. Take a look at the sequence of Picasso’s drawing of a bull. He pairs down the bull from full detail down to its fundamental shape.

The simplicity of design directly relates to the clarity of design — retained and kept implicit is the main thing which gets featured in the work.

'Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication'

Only when we remove the excess can we appreciate the beauty of simplicity. What results only appears natural because all the explaining was wiped our during reduction.

The experts know what to ignore.

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Books Creativity Productivity & Work

Famous artists and their recipes for good luck

Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People

Creatives obsess with how other successful creators do their work. Witness the 2013 bestseller Daily Rituals by Mason Currey.

But instead of focusing on the productive habits of successful artists, author Ellen Weinstein highlights their oddities.

Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People

Her book Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People contains some fascinating and funny habits.

  • Thom Yorke prepares for live concerts with a headstand ritual
  • NASA engineers eat peanuts before every launch as a lucky charm
  • Picasso held on to his fingernail clippings to maintain his spiritual “essence”
  • Frida Kahlo painted plants and flowers from her desk, looking over her garden
Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People
Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People

Creative people can be a bit superstitious, to say the least. As Seth Godin likes to say, “we’re all weird.”

Whatever you do to keep your edge, do it.

All images courtesy Chronicle Books

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Quotes

Picasso: ‘Go and do the things you can’t. That is how you get to do them’

Picasso plays the trumpet

“Go and do the things you can’t. That is how you get to do them.”

Pablo Picasso

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Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy

The placebo effect of a good luck charm

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.

Elle photographer Gilles Bensimon likes to surround his photo shoots with items from his collection. You can see them on display at the Gobbie Fine Art gallery in New York. Writes Quartz:

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…

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Arts

Figurative illustrations of Picasso’s work by Omar Aqil

Figurative illustrations by Omar Aqil1

Graphic artist Omar Aqil creates 3D artwork out of Picasso’s paintings.

Says Aqil, “Still exploring the Picasso’s work and trying to add some more drama to it.”

Figurative illustrations by Omar Aqil3
Figurative illustrations by Omar Aqil
Figurative illustrations by Omar Aqil2

See more of his amazing work on Behance.

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Arts Creativity Daily Prompts Psychology Video

Picasso: Art as a form of diary

Art is where our mind’s eye merges with reality to create a theater inside our head, resulting in the form of a diary. This was especially true for Pablo Picasso.

Picasso was perhaps best known for his practice of public journaling via painting. “My work is my diary. I have painted my autobiography,” he said.

Picasso grasped his inner thoughts and projected them on canvass. His art gave us a peek inside his head, such as his relationship with partner Marie-Thérèse Walter in his formative years.

Picasso: Art as a form of diary
‘The Dream’ (1932) Private collection © Succession Picasso/DACS London
Picasso: Art as a form of diary

Art is therapy

Art is an instrument for coping, part mental therapy part expression. Bottling his thoughts without letting them go would’ve driven Picasso insane. Whether it is painting, writing, or playing sports, we exercise our bodies to verify that we’re still alive.

As Picasso and so many other artists illustrate, self-expression has a real and irresistible pulse.

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”    

Pablo Picasso
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Creativity Life & Philosophy

Carrying crayons into adulthood

Creative all along, Picasso became even more abstract with age.

Creative all along, Picasso became even more abstract with age.  

Unless you’re taking AP courses, high school doesn’t train you for college. College doesn’t prepare you for work. And the cubicle is where dreams go to die.

There’s a reason kids are creative. They carry around crayons and loose imaginations while adults carry around briefcases full of tiresome paperwork.

Creativity is the only way to escape the dangers of ennui. Learning how to express yourself instead of impressing others liberates the inner child.

Your most important work is the one that fuels curiosity and passion and prevents you from drifting into stagnancy.

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Arts Creativity Culture

Picasso baby

"One starts to get young at 60, and then it’s too late." Pablo Picasso

“One starts to get young at 60, and then it’s too late.”

Pablo Picasso

Bullish crows the young. Patience grows the old. Thankfully, the older group’s got the money to invest in all that fledgling hope.

Dreams grow with age until experience dents the pipes. Adults focus on what’s practical and accept what they can’t change.

The good news is that dreaming never dies. It just becomes dormant until adults want to think like kids again. The bad news is that sometimes it’s too late to take risks.

gif by Ryan Seslow

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Uncategorized

Acceptable

Acceptable is good enough. Acceptable is what gets you through high school and college. Acceptable gets you paid at work.

But acceptable only gets you so far in life. If you want to be remembered, you’re either going to have to do something extraordinary, make a ruckus, or make something different that lasts.

Only a select few people get to be Picasso, Steve Jobs, The Beatles, Michael Jordan, or Mark Zuckerberg. Let them be. Everyone else is just looking to leave a trail of significance in their work.

Today is your best chance to show your work and see what happens. Yes, the Internet is full of noise and you’re unlikely to be heard. Yes, your work will never show up in the top 10 Google results. Welcome to the world of trying!

The good news is that there’s still room for you to build a small tribe. Some people say you need 1,000 dedicated fans to build a reasonable business. That’s awesome! So what are you waiting for….

  • Throw out some Tweets, Instagrams, and drawings to see what resonates
  • Connect with like-minded people
  • Embrace your scenius
  • Show Your Work

You want more than a nod when it’s all in said and done. You’d like people to name a few things you did. Acceptable today is therefore a means for mediocrity. It’ll get you through with little guarantee of being remembered.

Stake your claim.

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Uncategorized

Woman in an Armchair (Eva) by Pablo Picasso, 1913.
Woman in an Armchair (Eva) by Pablo Picasso, 1913.