Something I have been aware of since I started making music as a young girl was that when you trade an instrument with a friend in your orchestra or wind ensemble or music class, the pressure to excel or to perform is completely removed from the experience of making music. You just laugh at how all you can do is make squawky sounds, and try out different fingerings or bow angles or whatever. It's a hoot, and we did it all the time in music groups.
This is a truth about all creativity in general. If you would like to feel unshackled from the drive to improve, or create something in your mind that you can't quite capture and it leaves you feeling intimidated, or inadequate, or stuck...try creating something in a medium you have no experience in. A medium in which there is no reason to feel stressed about being skilled, or talented, or judged by an audience.
I have never been an artist in the sense of someone who draws or paints. I take photographs and make them into art, but using my hand with a pencil or a paintbrush has never resulted in anything one would call arty 😆 but reading Austin Kleon's trilogy of inspiring books, I decided to approach my current intimidation with the very complex and powerful Dream the Rogue Planet podcast, by drawing.
I mean, how much further away from where my own talent lies could that possibly be? I have zero expectations of myself with a stylus in my hand!
I don't have to expect anything of myself when I draw, I don't have to worry about making it better, I just need to enjoy the feel of the stylus on my tablet. (Hand injuries prevent me from working with actual paper - the tablet allows me to use very light pressure and not stress my hands out)
This past week over on Twitter, the artist Jana Heidersdorf had a conundrum. One of her most widely circulated pieces of art, a truly iconic painting that you have certainly seen somewhere, had been copied and used commercially. Needless to say, this was distressing! However, she contacted the people involved and the situation was resolved, and she is being compensated for the use of her work - much yay! This kind of thing rarely works out in the favor of the original artist 🥳
The fun part is, she then started a thread in which she invited anyone and everyone to render their version of her painting in their own style, their own interpretation, to have fun - to let imagination flow. You must go check out this thread, it is full of absolutely delightful versions of her work ranging from the stunning to the haunting to the funny to the scribbly to the spin-off of entirely new pieces. She has even taken the time to comment on many of the pieces, and she is very funny and generous.
Last night I could not sleep, so I decided to get out my tablet and go for it 😁 I mean, I'm not a visual artist right? What do I have to lose! Here is her original piece (complete with her invitation LOL)...
...and here is my scribbly fun hopefully haunting attempt to put my own interpretation on the work.
I invite you to go over to the Twitter thread and do the same - what do you have to lose? Cut loose, have fun, let go of control and just move your pencil or paint brush or stylus in a way that feels good 🥰
Everyone - make bad art! wear your n95 masks! and be good to each other,
(This post was created with speech to text, which can be kind of clunky - and apparently causes me to do dastardly things to commas LOL forgive some of the clumsiness, my hands are currently not at their best so I am being good to them.. with a block of ice 😂)