Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about exploring new ground. I’m just beginning to work on several fine-art projects and in the process trying to come up with ways to help me think differently, try new methodologies, new techniques, etc. The last few projects I have done have followed roughly the same formula, sure there were differences in the details of production, the subject, and images, but the broader arc has remained the same. When you become comfortable with a technique it’s easy to keep applying it again and again, but after a while it becomes a little boring, for oneself as the creator and probably for your audience as well. I want to shake things up and push myself to experiment more.
Getting Out of the Loop
A key aspect of this shake up has been trying to engage with new things. If you’re like me you probably have a few key sources that recommend you things – blogs, your friends, services you use. Over time we cut and prune in an attempt to only let things we will like reach us. Amazon suggests books we like based on ones we enjoyed previously, we follow blogs because they match our taste, and we watch movies that only our reliable friends recommend. But there is a whole world outside of this loop. A world filled with potential inspiration and ideas. So perhaps once in a while it’s good to ask your friends with “bad” (not your) taste what they’re listening to, watching, or reading. And more importantly approach these new things not with judgement and old ideas, but with enthusiasm and wonder.
Change Your Creative Process
Recently we wrote about the creative process and figuring out exactly how to work you best. It’s important to never be afraid to change this, in fact to always try to change it. If you’re a photographer, try painting, making music, maybe writing. Try changing the tools you use or the order in which you work. Change the people you approach with your work and ask different people for their opinions.
A lot of the things you’ll try will likely lead nowhere, the easel will go into storage and the guitar will become detuned. But once in a while something will stick, something that will inform your work moving forward – change it. It might be a big change or a tiny one, but this constant exploration will keep your work fresh and exciting.
Image by raghavvidya