Friday, August 16, 2013

The Pressure Of Making Art For A Living

Brothers Matt and Jesse Brass are working on an amazing series of films right now entitled "Making Art".  I just had to share part three of their series entitled "Pressure" where they interview artist Preston Farabow about the pressure of making art for a living.   If you like this one, make sure to check out the other videos in their series!

Happy Friday!

Pressure: Preston Farabow from Matt Brass on Vimeo.

If you want to know more about the series click here for a great behind the scenes interview with the brothers about their project that was featured on!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Proper Practice Prevents Poor Performance, and Other Obnoxious Inspirational Notions We Really Wish Weren't True

Shut up, chalkboard.
This week's challenge is one of those simple-stupid things that seem so easy, so obvious, that they barely deserve mention. But let's be real -- how many days so far this week have you actually set aside 30 minutes to create art??

If you just had a stream of protests and excuses come screaming to the front of your brain about why you haven't been keeping up, don't worry -- you're not the only one. If you're like me, it's probably because you're busy -- or at least you believe you are. Or maybe it's because you totally set the time aside, but when you sat down in front of that empty screen or canvas, you couldn't think of anything to make.

Let's rewind. When you first read Monday's challenge, did it remind you of anything? Maybe something that involves people clad in spandex with their smiling promise of rock hard abs in six weeks? That's right, we're coming up on Obnoxious Inspirational Notion #1:

1) The brain (and creativity) is just like any other muscle, and can atrophy without regular use.

The good news here is muscles can always be rebuilt - though if you've been away from something for a long time, it's probably going to take longer to get back into the swing of things. That's okay.

The bad news is, the brain is technically not a muscle. So yeah. Take that, stupid metaphor!

Despite its Biology FAIL status, Notion #1 makes a great point -- all that creativity isn't just going to flow out of your fingertips if you haven't been training yourself to direct your creative energy their way. But before you start the artist equivalent of a Rocky montage, I want you to remind yourself that if you're finding it challenging to actually make art everyday, it will get easier as your creativity muscles grow. As that devilish belle Scarlet O'Hara once said, "Tomorrow is another day." Do your best today, and then do your best tomorrow. Don't let one day's failure because the thing that keeps you from trying again. I promise, you got this.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why Do We Glorify Being Busy?

Whenever somebody asks me "Hey! How's life going!?"  I almost always without fail reply.  "Super busy, but great!"

I do this because saying "oh you know, things are super laid back and easy right now." somehow seems equal to saying "I'm a lazy bum who has no work ethic and just sits around on my ass every day."

Where along the way did we as a society suddenly decide busy is better, that busy means you're successful, and that busy is a good thing?

Now don't get me wrong, I was a self employed college student for years… I understand busy.   I know there are seasons of your life where it just can't be helped.  But I do think a lot of times we don't understand or value personal downtime as much as we should anymore.

But like Kate was talking about in Monday's kick ass post, as creative people, busy can simply suck us dry and take over our lives.  We NEED that down time to relax, recharge, be inspired and have quiet time to work.

No one is going to carve out that time in our lives for us.  It has to be a choice.  We have to choose to say no to one more item in our schedule and protect our personal creative time.

It comes down to this… would you rather lead a busy life, or a productive one?  Busy people spend their lives running around looking like they are being productive, but in the end they never spend enough time in one place focusing on any one task to be productive.  Productive people spend their time fiddling in their garage with stuff that interests them until they've built the worlds first personal computer. The choice is yours.  :)

Here's a short awesome video from Thrash Lab talking about this very same thing!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Challenge #18: Just Do It

Last week, we pondered the question, "Is an artist still an artist if they're not creating?" While I don't pretend to have the answer to that, I do have an answer to the general feeling of malaise and confusion about life that may result from a failure to make art -- and it's GENIUS! Are you ready??

Just. Do. It.

Sorry Nike, I know that's kinda your catch phrase and all, but really, it applies to so much more than athletic footwear.

Sometimes (okay, all the time), I don't feel like taking the dogs for a walk in the morning. But I do it anyway -- sleepy, grumpy, and generally zombified though I may be -- and by the time we get done with our walk, I'll have woken up, the dogs will have used up some of their crazy energy, and I'll get to come home feeling productive. Not to mention that getting up out of the computer chair every now and then is actually good for me. But when that alarm clock starts screaming at way-the-F-too-early o' clock, the only thing that keeps me from smashing the snooze button with the vengeance of a thousand She-Hulks is one simple phrase: just do it.

Art creation can happen under similar circumstances. It certainly did in college, at least for me -- the teacher would give an assignment, and I would work on it. Usually leaving most of the work until the last minute, but still, I would work on it. Whether I felt relaxed and inspired, or if I felt stressed and exhausted, I still did it, because at the end of that project was a grade, and that grade could decide the future of my degree.

"Real life," as many of us post-college noobs have taken to calling it, comes with the same demands -- it can just be a bit harder to understand how our actions will affect our future. Being in school gives us an artificial sense of movement and accomplishment, with graduation acting as the finish line. Once you're out of school, there aren't any finish lines, or checkpoints, or advisors waiting for you to come in for a degree check. You're just existing, same as everyone else, and you have to be accountable to yourself when it comes to setting and accomplishing goals.

Therefore, dear reader, this week we're challenging you to stop waiting for a teacher or a client to put the pressure on you before you create. JUST DO IT -- take 30 minutes every day to work on art. Even if you don't finish a piece this week, you'll still be a lot closer to finishing than you were when you started. Now grab your swag, and get creating!