According to Wikipedia, creativity is defined as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work”. But we are all creative in our own individual ways even if you aren’t an artist. Whether you are remodeling a home or being creative with your time, creativity is a big part of our lives. Furthermore, I’ll bet the majority of people are maintaining a creative mind on a daily basis but don’t consider themselves creative.
Being creative as a sculptor can sometimes be a chore. Since making sculptures is expensive, time consuming and requires a certain amount of space (both physically and emotionally) it can be tough to bring an A-game every day. Creatively speaking, it is easy for sculptures to get stale. Especially when you cast in bronze!
Here are some of the things that I do to maintain a creative mind as a sculptor:
- talk about art with friends. I am fortunate to have a couple of studio mates that I talk art with on a daily basis. Furthermore, every Friday we discuss art in depth during lunch. Sometimes our conversations can go for 2 hours! Since we share artistic likes we can usually go into the depths of art and art history. It is a great way to end the week too.
- Go for walks. Being in Colorado means there is a plethora of hiking trails and parks to explore. But because I’m a creature of habit, there are two parks that I frequent. Whether walking during the cold brisk air of January or on a hot summer day, walking frees my mind and allows me to step back.
- Learn to compete with yourself, not anyone else. While I am naturally competitive I have had to learn to turn this inwards for the most productive output (as well as for people to not hate me). I believe if you aren’t naturally competitive you can learn to compete with yourself. There are books on this topic. When I compete with myself, I begin to learn and appreciate what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. I can take this awareness and focus on improving on it or ignoring it. But awareness is crucial.
- When I create a sculpture I alternate between having reference and not having reference available. When I don’t have reference available questions begin to form right away. Such as what happens to the flexor muscles of the legs when the leg is bent vs. straight. Then, when I go to use reference, these questions are answered. On the contrary, if you always work from a model or photographs, you don’t learn to develop questions. As such, the final artwork can become stale because you haven’t really learned why you are doing what you are doing.
- Rise early. Not everyone agrees with the phrase “the early bird gets the worm”. I do. I am up every day at 5am sometimes earlier. To me, there is something magical about the early morning hours.
- Draw, draw, draw. From your imagination. From life. Then repeat.
- Go and “read art”. Study poetry, music and art that inspire you. Why are you so drawn to Beethoven’s piano sonatas? What makes John Singer Sargeant’s paintings so good? Is it in the composition or is it in the handling of the brushstrokes? What makes Rodin’s Thinker so appealing? Don’t just read other peoples points of view, develop your own opinion.
- Quiet the mind. Whether it’s in front of the fireplace with my three kitties and Jessica or just laying in bed daydreaming. Allowing my mind to “de-stress” is equivalent to refilling my creative gas tank. It is a Yin and Yang approach to life and crucial to maintaining a creative mind.
- Stay positive and keep on moving. One day it will take you somewhere.