|Posted by Matt on February 20, 2014 at 1:45 PM|
It seems that everyone and their grandmother nowadays has a blog... from food enthusiasts, to musicians, and car junkies to travelers. It also seems that artists are particularly supposed to maintain a weekly blog as well and I figured I'd might as well jump on board and give it a try...
As I contemplated (for way too long) what I should try to tackle for my first blog entry, a number of topics crossed my mind and will most definitely have their turns at being addressed. For this post however, the events of the last few days gave me a topic that was sitting right under my nose, wanting to be written about... chaos. Chaos, due to lack of a better word in this instance, breeds creativity. A bold statement to some- sure, but my personal life experience goes hand in hand with the old line of thinking that heartache fuels the creative mind. In other words, it's totally true.
All creative people have had “blocks” when sitting down to practice their trades. Writers, painters, graphic designers, and those in the performing arts have all experienced such blocks from time to time. What is it about chaos that can breathe life into a nameless empty space, a temporary void that may otherwise grow into what we know as a creative block? Or conversely, lapses in other forms of inspiration aside, what is it about chaos that can turbo boost an already fertile imagination?
Sometimes it is a form of direct therapy for one to illustrate, paint, or otherwise give his/her negative feelings a face- to pinpoint those feelings and expel them onto a canvas with brush strokes the same way a yoga enthusiast may expel such feelings with a series of several deep breaths. This process need not even necessarily make these feelings the focal point but rather, may simply be a response to whatever is bothering the artist. It is a purifying process, a process in which even the most realistic painter may only come away with a simple abstract arrangement of color... a process that, whether the artist is absolutely thrilled with the tangible result or not, ends happily with the creation of a new piece for a growing portfolio... and not for nothing, but that new piece will likely be one of the more “raw” and honest images on hand, and people will be able to see that.
Other times, I would argue, the creative process serves as a distraction when chaos is encroaching on a peaceful and content mind. When snow robs us of yet another eight hour shift, when life is not delivering on ambitious efforts, or when bad news comes to the family, perhaps the moment of creation is the artist's ticket to peace of mind... no matter how long or brief that moment may be. I for one have subscribed to this idea for a long time. I have had many experiences where, instead of focusing on the here and now, I allow myself to wander, wonder, and just plain draw something without the burden of too much forethought. As an aside, I have a friend who once told me that “expectation is the antithesis of creativity” and rarely will this quote apply more than in this instance. In moments like these, if the artist lets go of any expectations and is giving it their all, the creative process serves as a form of escapism from stresses weighing on the mind. When the dust settles, the outcome will likely be at least an inspiring start to a new piece worth completing at another time, if not a nice finish in one sitting.
I've touched on two ideas that lend themselves to believing that chaos breeds creativity and I am sure there are others. With chaos comes new life experiences which are incredibly valuable and can quietly (or boisterously!) inform new work for example. My goal with this writing however is not to explore every corner of the topic, or go on and on with doom and gloom, but to instead put it out there as a form of inspiration for other creative minds. When the winter blues have you down, if your heart is broken by another, or if you are just having a straight up shitty day, put that heartache to use. Put that icky vibe of your personal chaos straight on to the canvas. If that's not your idea of fun, use your art to put you in a brighter happier place. Either way, whether you are running from it or embracing it, make chaos work for you and crank out another masterpiece- you will feel a lot better for it.