“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use, do the work you want to see done.” Austin Kleon

anti-design > the creative challenge

Bread light

I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine yesterday about creativity. We were talking about how brave you sometimes have to be in order to show your creativity to people. Whether it’s a new idea for a product, a book you’ve written or it could even just be creativity in your job at work or your life at home. People who work in an obviously creative field like landscape design or advertising do this all the time but for those of us who don’t, showing someone our work or sharing our ideas can be daunting. Two things spring to mind here>

Beachball chair
Beachball chair

1. Creativity is like anything. We get better with practice. We also incidentally, get better and picking the stinkers from the showstoppers. Everyone’s been in a situation where they’ve come up with what they think are some good ideas, only to have them stamped on or suffocated by somebody else. We’ve all been there and most of us have probably been the stomper at one point or another. The point is, just because you have the idea doesn’t make it great, we all have good ideas and we all have stinkers. The more ideas you have, the more you’re likely to come across a showstopper. What’s the answer? have more! Do more. Be less precious and less personal and just do more of it to increase the chances.

2. The second thing is reminds me of is children. Small people can’t wait to come up and show you their drawing or something they’ve made at school. Even if it is difficult to recognise or completely aesthetically challenged it doesn’t occur to them that you won’t like it. And I’m sure even if you didn’t, they wouldn’t be crushed and go home and reconsider the meaning of life and whether this is the right path for them or whether it’s a sign of some bigger dysfunction in their lives. No they’d pretty much just make another. They’d try something else. Use crayons instead of textas. Use more glitter and put more sequins. They’d just do something else because at the end of the day (although they don’t consciously realise it), they don’t need to be precious about their work because there’s plenty more where that came from. Their little minds are bursting with fruit flavour and if you don’t like one, stuff you they’ll just keep going until you do.

Playing on this idea of quantity not just quality being good for creativity, I came across Dominic Wilcox’s latest project > 30-day creation challenge. Each day for 30 days he will make something and the items that he has completed thus far (he is currently on Day 18) are now on exhibit TODAY through Tuesday in London at Mestakes and Manifestos (curated by Daniel Charny). If you’re in the London area, go check it out. You can also follow his progress on his blog Variations on normal.

Each day for 30 days I will make a new object, installation or creative intervention while going about my daily life. At home, in the studio, on the train or wherever my day takes me, I will attempt to make something that interests me creatively and then quickly document it on the M&M website (and here) via photographs, drawings or video. Each day I will receive a small budget of £10 for materials.

I believe that this self-imposed project with it’s constraints on time and money will force me to take an instinctive and experimental approach. The fear of failure and the usual time spent thinking through the potential pitfalls of a project will not be an option and I will need to react swiftly to my thoughts, observations and experimental outcomes discovered along the way. I am not focused solely on the final objects or images but on the creative journey I take. Complete failures are expected and embraced.

Make your home more welcoming with carpet

You can check out the rest of Dominic’s ideas at the Anti-Design Festival’s  Mestakes and Manifestos here. A snapshot about this program >

Mistakes and Manifestos, curated by Daniel Charny, echoes the ADF call to shake off bad habits, to refresh and engage, be awake and active. Presenting a series of works and activities pulled together to excite conversation, the M&M! space is an invitation to think, make and talk about design. Manifestos are calls to action, inciting response, setting principles and direction, responding to the past and conceiving the future, proudly declared and highly desirable to those who create them. They are briefs. Mistakes on the other hand are unwanted results.

So if you’re feeling stuck in a rut, that you wish you could be more creative than you are. Stop thinking. Stop wishing or wondering or pondering and just do it. Have a crack, try something new. Don’t aim for something amazing, aim for ten, no twenty things (even if they feel mediocre). If you can come up with 10 or 20 product ideas, retail ideas, sales tips, networking events, relationship tools or motivating exercises. One of ’em is going to be great.

Read more at Design Milk: http://design-milk.com/dominic-wilcox-speed-creating-project/#ixzz1HuiLOMdf

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