May is Creative Beginnings Month

Much like New Year resolutions, I’m a fan of any opportunities that gives me the sense of a fresh start. This month celebrates creative beginnings, a chance to awaken those creative muscles you haven’t felt in a while. There are a lot of simple things you can do to get started. Here are a few that worked for me.

I heard on NPR the other day that the color Blue actually boosts creativity. It’s a learned association, think expansive skies, or open bodies of water. Being more creative doesn’t get any easier than simply incorporating more blue in you space. My wife always tells me she likes me in blue. Now I wonder if it really is a flattering color on me, or if I look like the ocean to her.

I’ve struggled to quit coffee on and off the last couple years. This spring, I finally fully quit coffee and regained my natural energy. What reinforced my commitment was coming across an article that talks about how to give up coffee. I really resonated with the effects of caffeine on creativity. Coffee is great when I need to get a lot of busy work done but it hinders my creativity when I work on new ideas because I literally can’t think straight. I tend to be more creative when I’m relaxed enough to be aware of my thoughts and can direct them. If you’ve been on the verge of quitting coffee, maybe this will give you the extra motivation. I still will enjoy a cup of coffee every once in awhile, just without the addiction.

You probably have seen me destroy art at some point. A few years ago, I spent an entire year creating an art series “Goodbye Art” where I destroyed each piece of art after making it. A lot of people ask me why I would destroy them after spending so much time and effort. I feel that practicing destruction is a vital part of staying in the creative flow. The act of destruction really helped me see the value of the creative process, and moved me towards letting go of the results. And letting go decluttered my creative space to make room for new creativity. So maybe next time you create something, destroy it and see how it feels.

Lastly, It has been discovered that a city of 1 million isn’t 10 times more creative than a city of 100,000 but 17 times more creative. We are a lot more creative together than in isolation. This is where we can really take advantage of the diverse social network platforms, which allow us to converse with a lot of people from different walks of lives. So here’s to collective creativity, I hope to be conversing with you through this blog. What are some things you’ve experienced that helps you be more creative? Please also feel free to expand or comment on anything I’ve mentioned above.

Always Looking for the Process, Always Curious About What Else

I’ve been contemplating a lot about this blog. I didn’t want this to be a regurgitation of the webisodes so I’ve held off on filling any space here. What I really hope for is to create an ongoing dialog about our observations and applications of creativity, so we have a place to talk about creativity as well as putting it into action. If you find any interesting tidbits or anything you’d like to share on the subject of creativity, I’d love to make it part of this blog. I hope in talking about creativity, it can spur new ideas for us to explore.

I want to rekindle this blog with a video that Karilee shared on Facebook about how to make a Corrugated Cardboard Lamp. Besides watching the adorable old man and the fine cardboard lamp he made, you may also find the concept of light going through the cardboard interesting. My mind is always looking for the process, and upon seeing this process, wondered about other applications of the concept. What if I had a bunch of strips of thinly cut cardboard and glued them together so I could look through the holes, kind of like cardboard curtains. I wondered how this would look in a photo, taking a picture of someone through the holes. I imagined the look of a soft veil depending on the focus of the camera.

I grabbed a hunk of cardboard leftover from other cardboard projects a few webisodes ago, and started cutting strips that are about 1/8th of an inch thick. This took careful holding of the ruler and a hobby knife and multiple changes of the blade to get that super sharp edge. I always optimistically underestimate the amount of time it takes to finish a task, so instead of 20 minutes, two hours of cutting and gluing passed. I glued together the strips of cardboard on a sheet of aluminum foil because the glue doesn’t really stick to the foil (well, sticks a little), which means you don’t accidentally glue the strips of cardboard to your table.

After gluing all the strips together, I grabbed my little point and shoot, took it outside and started messing around with it. Most point and shoots allows you to push the shutter down halfway setting the focus and exposure. So I aimed at my subject and pushed the shutter halfway down, then held the cardboard in between the camera and subject to shoot. This results in the cardboard being out of focus. I quickly learned to not let the light hit the cardboard (middle pic) because the light makes the cardboard too bright and doesn’t allow us to see through the cardboard as clearly, and solved it simply by standing in the shade. Here are a few more photos. I was struck by the contrast in the photo of me in the mirror. One thing that seems so obvious (once you see it) is the effect of looking through the cardboard when there is a little curve in it. In the picture on the right below, you can see that the cardboard was twisted a little bit on the left side, which blocks us from seeing through it making it a very cool effect to utilize. Now you’ve seen 2 possible ways of using this concept of light through cardboard. In looking at the process, I’m excited for you to try this and see what other applications you find for this! Even if you have a seed of an idea that’s not thought out, we can start by discussing it. This is a great way to build our curiosity. And I am always curious.