“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.”
The past 12 months have been wonderful, hectic and enlightening. I’ve started a new job as a graphic designer at an amazing organization that does work I find meaningful. I moved to a new borough and Brooklyn has helped crack my experience in NYC wide open in the best possible way. I’ve travelled and eaten delicious food and drank a beverage or two. I’ve laughed with friends and cried for a variety of reasons. I learned how to play the ukulele and I ran another marathon.
But one thing that I haven’t done as much of these past 12 months is paint.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still been making art, but just not as regularly as I did a year ago. And I’m here to tell you (as well as remind myself) that is okay. Not just okay. It’s GREAT!
You probably just raised an eyebrow and if I were you I probably would too, but hear me out. When friends have asked me why they haven’t seen any new work from me recently or why that mural I was talking about didn’t happen, I’ve been tempted to simply reply with “Oh you know, life just got in the way.” It’s the easy way out that I’ve heard people use whenever something doesn’t go according to plan, but I don’t buy it. At least not anymore.
If you are in a creative field, and I believe everyone is in someway, life simply can’t get in the way. Creativity doesn’t bloom in shadow. It needs light and lots of water. You need a life full of rich experience to fuel creativity. Or you’ll just continue pulling from the same well of inspiration until it runs dry.
Now it goes without saying that there can be to much of a good thing if your experiences stop you from making altogether, just like you can overwater a plant or burn it in the sun (Yes, I’m sticking with the plant metaphor). But as long as you are still thinking, still taking things in, still looking at something and getting inspired, then life didn’t get in the way.
This past week, I’ve seen a surge of creation. I’ve got watercolors under my finger nails and I almost accidentally drank my wash water because I was so into what I was making. Gross, I know. In each piece, I’ve been creating I see a bit of my year drip from the brush. The colors of houses in New Orleans. The pattern of a plant I saw at Prospect Park. The reflection of that feeling you get while sipping tea on the roof with your favorite person.
It’s all there, because it wasn’t getting in the way. It was building up. It was a seed germinating and now it’s ready to flower because I didn’t crush it with guilt for not coming sooner. Life can’t get in the way of creativity because life is creativity. So go live it.