Celebrating Creativity

Hi I'm Kadira Jennings, welcome to Unfolding Creativity, a portal to Abundance Through Creativity.

I am a creative artist celebrating and encouraging the creative in all of us.

My blog is a discussion, and creativity resource. Please take your time, look around and join the conversation if you would like to.
It is my passionate belief that we all have deep within us a creative genius just waiting for half a chance to get out no matter what field we work or play in.

''There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.''
Martha Graham

Well my friends  –  fellow artists and those who are thinking of becoming one – do you want the good news or the bad news?  Let’s  take the bad medicine first – art is a business and unless you can get someone else to market your work, you are going to have to learn to think like a business person.  I hope you haven’t passed out on the floor yet.

Perhaps you might like to get a cup of tea or something stronger.
Tea anyone?

Tea anyone?

Not only that you are always going to be the best person to sell your work because you created it.  No one – I repeat NO ONE  else loves your work like you do.  You art works are like your precious children, Your blood, sweat and tears have gone into producing them, don’t you want to be the one who finds a good home for them?
But wait there’s more: not only is art a business it is also a partnership.  This partnership begins the moment someone looks at one of your ‘children’ and wants to take it home with them.  Are you going to encourage them, give them instructions on how to best look after your child, and then lovingly let that child go.  This ‘partner’ has now invested in a part of you, and that relationship, if you foster it can grow and blossom if you look after it.  What can you do for your ‘partner’ to help them.  Can you suggest a companion painting that might want to join its sibling in their household? Can you provide information on how your ‘child’ likes to be cared for?
As artists we all too often forget about the other half of the painting’s experience.  We neglect our side of the partnership.  We tend to be solitary beings and forget how important it is to build relationships, so we can foster our art works out to good homes.

ART IS A PARTNERSHIP

The relationship between galleries and artists is one often fraught with pitfalls. What causes this?
Generally an inability to see things from the others point of view.  If the two vital ingredients in getting a painting sold, were to collaborate in a more open and honest way, then perhaps  artists could stop feeling so hard done by and galleries could quit believing that all artists need them and that they can call all the shots. Many galleries seem to have the attitude that they are doing the artist a huge favour by hanging their work, there used to be a big name gallery in Sydney which expected a debut artist to give 90-100% comission to the gallery and to pay for the opening.  How little value they accorded  these artists.
If the galleries could thaw their attitudes somewhat they may find the artists much more eager to participate in their own promotion and eager to do unpaid help even.  A shift in attitude is called for from both sides of the fence, let’s get rid of the razor wire first……..
razor_wire
razor_wire
Photo Credit:  http://geekwhisperin.wordpress.com

Fellow artists and those who aren’t or don’t think they are but would like to be – Yes it is true  art is a business. And being a business it requires products i.e. ‘art works’ to be sold.   So many of us would rather just get on with creating and leave the ‘S’ word  to some one else – if only we knew who that might be.

Well, it could  be anybody but me that is!  Like many of you out there, I too wasted years trying to get away from the fact that if it is going to be – you know what,  it really is up to me!  I finally decided that really all it needs is a little re-framing of ones perception.

So yes creativity is a business AND  it is also a PARTNERSHIP.  How is that you might ask?

For an art work or creative piece to achieve completion it requires someone to appreciate it or at least interact with it.  (Ideally someone apart from its creator!)  It requires an audience.  For most creatives there is a definite buzz to be had when someone gets to see your work and have a reaction to it – which means it has touched them in some way.

This is a partnership often neglected on the part of the artist – they send their paintings off to the gallery, perhaps thinking the partnership part is only with the gallery and then that’s that. End of story……. where are the dollars??  And I have to confess I have been as guilty as the next person of that.  It took me a long time to understand that art is a partnership……………

So as I was saying – Creativity is a partnership.  Why do people buy paintings?

Well generally people don’t buy oil paintings or other art works if they don’t like them or have some kind of connection with them.  They will however, generally buy for different reasons, such as –

  • they just love the work
  • it’s a present for someone else
  • the work  goes with their decor
  • it’s an investment

The first two of these reasons both have an emotional attachment to them, the second is more about creating an environment – the art work says something about who they are, implying status or ‘coolness’ perhaps.  However paintings chosen for decor are often chosen by an interior designer and its the look of the whole that is more important.  The last reason is purely financial really, although if one has enough money like Alan Bond you might be lucky enough to be able to afford Van Gogh’s Irises. Although actually even though he

Van Gogh's Irises

Van Gogh's Irises

bought the painting for  US$ 53.9 million dollars  he didn’t have enough money to pay for it. Damn!!! And he had to sell it again.

However if someone chooses your work because they love it – it means you have something in common, even if its liking the same kind of colours.  It is your job to befriend the people who buy your art.

As with any new friendship, trust needs to be built.  So offer them something for nothing.  People love to get gifts, tho maybe not 20 off topic ebooks. LOL !!

Produce something that you keep just to give to people who have bought your work.  You might offer different things for different price points.  Keep these items special, don’t sell them, so that the only way anyone can get them is if they buy your work.  People love to not only get something special but to feel that they have a closer connection with the artist.  For those people who feel that creativity is an esoteric mystery this gives them a way in to share in that world.

None of us create in a vacuum.  We all have influences – from the rising sunlight on golden water to the latest photoshop magazine.

Sunlight on Water

So how specifically are you stuck

  • No ideas on what to work on
  • Bored with your current techniques
  • Come to the end of a series of works and not sure where to turn next
  • Need to upskill
  • Need some interaction with others
  • Have a studio full of works and nowhere to sell them
  • Don’t know how to promote your work
  • Convinced your work is no good and never will be

This list can go on and on – these are only a few of the kinds of thoughts that bedevil us as creatives.

Creativity is a lot like abundance. The more we stress about it the further away it seems to slide from us.

All of the above have a negative focus and therefore will draw that negative thing to us.

So what we need to do firstly when we are stuck,  is to change the state we are in because the more we focus on how stuck we are we just sink deeper – its like quick sand.

As Abraham says – reach for a better feeling place. ie if you are depressed – get angry.  If you’re angry become frustrated. Acknowledge your feelings, feel into them and work through them, dont try to stuff them back down.  Once you begin to clear this stuff your creativity will begin to make an appearance again.  This is where Julia Cameron’s idea of Morning Pages really helps to declutter your head.  Other things that help are –

  • Einstein’s greatest discoveries came to him when he was walking or doing the dishes – Take a walk – notice something new
  • Do something that makes you really happy – when was the last time you did that?
  • Decide to give up stressing about being creative
  • Do morning pages
  • Smile at every person you meet or pass by today  :)
  • Decide to be joyful
  • Go to an uplifting movie or get a DVD out
  • Have coffee with a friend – tell them why you love to create things, why you love them, ask them where creativity shows up in their lives – you might be surprised

So yes,  how can I be kind to myself?  Here are some thoughts to help you become unstuck

  • For the immediate present – forget about your own creative journey and go out and look at what others are doing
  • Visit galleries, museums, art shows
  • Go to the theatre or take in a movie – an art house movie can often times be really inspiring – here is an excerpt one of my favourites from the movie Veronique.

The marionette is exquisite – when seen on the big screen this scene is absolutely arresting.

You will be amazed at what a fresh point of view can do for a stuck creative.   I speak from a recent experience of wading through the Sarah of creative deficiency.  In my case this lasted for a considerable period of time – to the point where I became convinced that I wasn’t really creative at all and that to consider myself an artist was pretty much BS.  I went into a complete denial of my own creativity.

This was ultimately a painful experience because in denying my creativity I was so far out of sync with who I really am that everything else started falling apart as well. Take it from me – DON’T GO THERE!!!

So what really helped me through this was going to see other artists work.  This gave me new ideas and it only took a couple of ideas to get me thinking along a new direction I might take my own work

My BIGGEST MISTAKE was waiting way too long to go and do this.

So be encouraged.  We never actually loose our creativity – we simply bury it or let it wither by default.

Creative Works

I thought that now might be a good time to introduce you to some of my work.  For several years I was immersed in oil painting, however I then went through a bit of the proverbial creative drought so to speak.  Well I thought I did.  What happened was that the creative urge popped out in other ways.  I got involved in making beautiful fabrics, silk rayon velvets that my biz partner the talented Prue Kelsey and I, created together.  We hand dyed and printed them with pearlescent and metallic inks.

Hand dyed silk rayon, velvet, printed with metalic and pearlescent inks

Its strange how the mind works because even though we created some beautiful things  it was around this time that I became pretty sure that I wasn’t an artist and had managed to convince  myself that I didn’t have much going for me artistically.  I guess the point here was that I didn’t at that time, understand that the creative journey doesn’t have to be about one thing. If  I’d identified myself as only being an oil painter then – it was pretty easy for me to view myself as a failure and doomed to artistic insignificance.

It wasn’t until I realized that creativity isn’t one dimensional and that it’s OK to create in different arenas, that I began to understand who I was as an artist and creative being.  Not only that, I finally came to the point of understanding that what I have to offer is unique and valuable.  No one else sees the world through my eyes and that’s not just OK  it’s to be celebrated.

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