Kids are curious – although my five-year-old just told me that she knows more than me. Apparently she has the answer to everything. I laugh to myself. It has begun already! She seems so young to think she knows it all…
Do you still find yourself curious? Or do you know everything? That’s a rhetorical question!
Let’s see what Leo Burnett, the famous American advertising executive, has to say about curiosity. Next in our series – quote #2:
“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” – Leo Burnett
Curiosity is important, not just for artists, photographers, musicians, designers, writers, and the creative-lot alike; everyone can benefit from curiosity.
- Is a path to learning new things
- Keeps you growing as a person
- Develops meaningful interests
- Makes your artwork more intriguing
- Causes you to ask the right questions
- Helps you get to know people better
Over the summer I read a great (and curious!) novel by Jonathan Safran Foer called Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. The main character is a young boy named Oskar…
… I just realized: it’s fitting that I am reflecting on this book today, since it is September 11. This was not intentional, but my subconscious is tuned-in to the date I suppose. Who can even say September 11 without remembering where they were when it happened? Today, and every day, my heart goes out to all those affected by the events that took place back in 2001. Not long ago I visited the site of the Twin Towers and my heart broke – there were so many names lining the fountain memorials. Too many names…)
Back to the novel: the story is about Oskar’s search for a lock to match the key he found in his father’s belongings. Oskar’s father died in the 911 tragedy.
The author has done a remarkable job of writing from Oskar’s perspective. Oskar’s mind never stops and one idea leads to another. He is the embodiment of curiosity. He wonders about everything… sometimes it can be a little exhausting, but because of his curiosity, he is such an interesting character and comes up with truly novel ideas.
If you have time to read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I’d recommend it. On a side note, it was a very gentle take on the 911 tragedy. It made me reflect on the heartache from a child’s perspective.
Artists – creative people in general – are and should be curious. I believe it is curiosity that prompts art in the first place. Art is curious because:
- It asks us questions of ourselves, the one who made it
- It asks questions about the world
- It asks questions about culture, society, race, religion
Change comes because of questions and questions come because of curiosity.
Have you gotten bored? If so, it’s time to get inspired! Visit an art gallery or museum, read something new, travel to a foreign destination, meet new people, take a class. Curiosity is within your control.
What are you curious about?
How do you feed your curiosity?
Best wishes to you as you pursue your creative passions!
– Alexis Marie
Inspiration is inevitable at the MIT Museum!
The MIT Museum is one of the coolest places on earth. There are robots, inventions and exhibitions that had me shaking my head in awe. Their impressive collections include science and technology, architecture and design, and holography – just to name a few!
If you want to visit the MIT Museum, here are the details:
Open Daily 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. except major holidays
Adults: $10.00; youth under 18, students, seniors: $5:00; children under age 5: free
265 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139
Some of my favorite exhibits at the MIT Museum:
An exhibit that reminded me of Terminator – just kidding (sort of)! There you will see tele-operated surgical robots, robotic legs, socially intelligent humanoid robots and other prototypes.
Featuring Arthur Ganson’s kinetic sculptures, this exhibit was both staggeringly inventive and aesthetically beautiful. The artist’s invitation: “The objects are part of a cycle. I take an idea from my heart, but it is not complete until you have seen it, and found your own meaning in it.”
Their photography exhibits were also pretty amazing!
I am still reeling from my visit to the MIT Museum. Have you ever been there? If I hadn’t visited with my three-year-old and five-year-old who wanted to race through and see it all (as fast as they could), I imagined myself hanging around there all day, sketching the robotics and sculptures, reading every informational panel and soaking up the creativity and inventiveness of the students and expert thinkers and their ideas shared within the space. What a gift! Maybe on my next trip to Cambridge, MA.
What museums get your mind buzzing?
What places do you find yourself lingering and soaking everything up?
At the beginning of July, I shared “Inspiring Quotes for Artists” with helpful words by famous artists, writers and designers. For the next few months I will be writing a creative reflection based on each of the eleven quotes.
I hope you find the reflections helpful – and please comment below with your own ideas, inspirations and revelations from the quotes.
Today, we begin with quote #1:
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”
– Vincent Van Gogh
The hardest part of any endeavor is just getting started.
When I was facing artistic block (the visual artist’s version of writer’s block) when I was in art school, I received one of the best pieces of advice:
PAINT SOMETHING UGLY.
That was it. Paint an ugly painting!
Painting an ugly painting has many benefits:
- It gets you started
- It removes expectations that the artwork should be aesthetically pleasing
- It allows you to have fun
- It opens your mind to be free and wander as you create
- You can explore techniques outside your comfort zone
- And, it sets the bar so low so that when you do set out to make your next painting, you feel proud of the progress from that first messy experiment
It is easy to let self-doubt, insecurities, and fear get in the way of making the artwork you were born to create. An important part of the artist’s job is calming the inner-self, nurturing the creative spirit inside of you, and being uninhibited as you work.
What do you do to break free from artist’s block?
Have you ever tried making an ugly painting?
How do you nurture and protect your creative-self?
Best wishes to you as you make your art!
– Alexis Marie
I love visiting art galleries. It is one of my favorite things to do. Typically, I either leave inspired or disappointed, sometimes neutral. I use the word ‘inspired’ when I’ve seen some truly interesting work that revs me up to get into my own studio, regardless of whether the artwork I saw was paintings, sculpture, photography or instillation art, – or – ‘disappointed’ because I failed to connect with the curator’s vision or the work simply didn’t speak to me.
Art is so personal. It’s okay to love it – just like it’s okay to hate it. Different art forms/artists/concepts/etc. speak to different people, each in their own unique way.
My recent visit to the Art Gallery of Alberta was a mix. The Jack Bush exhibit was fascinating and I learned so much. I’m eager to find a biography of Bush’s life. If anyone has read a good one, please let me know! The Modern/Postmodern show was a bit confusing. The description to differentiate the successive artistic periods was excellent, but I was hoping the visuals exhibited would bring the words to life. Unfortunately, the gallery room was a bit sparse.
May 30 – August 23, 2015
The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Postmodernism
May 2 – September 13, 2015
If you make it out to any of the Art Gallery of Alberta shows, let me know what you think!
Have you seen any interesting exhibits lately?
Here are some photos from the visit:
Here are eleven quotes by great minds on the topic of creativity. These words encourage me and I hope they do the same for you. Below you will find the list, but over the next few months I will take each one of these quotes and write a little reflection on life as an artist inspired by the quote. I’m looking forward to it already! For now, just soak up the words:
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced” – Vincent Van Gogh
“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali
“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss
“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” – Charles Mingus
“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas” – Donatella Versace
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” – George Bernard Shaw
I love people, business and creativity. When these three fuse together, I overflow with ideas, which I’m happy to share. I have been a professional writer and artist for almost fifteen years and one aspect of my job which I love is mentoring others to become more successful.
I am currently mentoring a musician, a photographer, a writer, an artist… They are great minds and I am honoured to help them get where they want to go.
Here is a quote from one of my mentees:
“Being mentored. A wonderful experience of discovery and focus.
The best part about guidance from Alexis Marie Chute, professional artist, has been the inexhaustible amount of knowledge she can apply to your situation or seemingly unsolvable problem. Alexis Marie honestly and without judgement pointed out that in my case, spreading myself too thin with multiple projects and talents, would only result in a lack of finishing my projects and that I needed to find my focus or passion, and specialize.
After two weeks of intense thought on the homework she gave, I came up with precise lists of capabilities, skill levels and what I enjoyed the most. Alexis Marie used effective constructive criticism to then guide my focus as to how I would approach selling my products and gave suggestions for solving the problem in a positive and productive manner. As someone increasingly interested in the arts I would recommend her to anyone interested in putting in the time to seriously start their own artistic endeavours.
On that note, she is a kind and enthusiastic individual whose talent is beyond paint and portrait. Her life experience lends to her awareness of the sensitivity others may need and contributes to her knowledge that sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned so we all periodically need a little encouragement to seek out our hearts’ desires.”
Heather Groeller, Artisan
It is always rewarding for me to hear the positive feedback of clients – and these individuals are often an inspiration for me as well. Get in touch for more information about my mentoring services: email@example.com. I charge $50/one-hour session. It is a worthwhile investment.
Here are other posts about my mentoring:
Get Focused, Be Productive & Tap into your Creativity through Mentorship
Mentoring for the Modern Writer
Coaching, Mentoring & Consulting by Alexis Marie Chute
Alexis Marie: I have loved sharing the stories and inspirations of some truly interesting individuals during the InFocus Alumni photography blog series. Are you excited about InFocus 2016? We will soon release the call for submissions and we would love to see your work. For now, I’m pleased to introduce Robert Pohl, a modern photographer engaging traditional processes.
My name is Rob Pohl. I was born in Edmonton over half a century ago and have lived here my entire life. I’ve been photographing the area specifically, but the world in general for about 35 years. I started out shooting film, and have stayed with it. I spend my working days in an office staring at a computer monitor. When I want to escape from that world and immerse myself in my photography, the last thing I want to do is spend yet more hours staring at a stupid monitor. While the masses have embraced digital photography and image manipulation software, I continue to work with film and traditional wet photography. I enjoy the relaxation and escape of the darkroom, the mixing of the chemistry, the experimentation, and the process of creating something with my hands. I shoot black and white film and process and print everything myself. In this age of digital photography that makes me a dinosaur. But I also think that it sets me apart from the masses that blast away with digital cameras. My approach is much more methodical and measured and I try to make every shot count.
Most of my work is shot with a large format 4″ x 5″ view camera. A dabble a little with medium format roll film, and with the even larger 8″ x 10″ format. I shoot mostly landscapes, landscape details, and historical images. It disturbs me somewhat that our province is falling victim to massive population growth and extensive development. Mankind seems too wrapped up in economic growth and development and seems to place little value on the natural world, and a responsibility to our planet. We all need to step back and take a deep breath and garner a little appreciation for the world around us, and what our lifestyle is doing to it. Hopefully my imagery helps to illustrate an appreciation for where we have come from, where we are going, and what the consequences are.
In early 2015 I became involved in the InFocus Photography Exhibition that has expanded from Calgary and Banff, to the provincial level. The YEG show in Edmonton that I was involved in was curated by Alexis Marie Chute. I felt privileged to be included in that show, and hope to take part in future exhibitions. I’ve included a selection of images that are typical of my work. I regularly post work to my Flickr account, and to my blog…
Alexis Marie: Are you enjoying the InFocus Alumni photography blog series? Today I would like to introduce you to Wilfred Kozub, photographer and artist of many mediums.
Wilfred Kozub, Multi media Artist
These are exciting times as I seem to have a lot of art projects on the go. I have gradually branched out from being a painter and pop/electronic musician to becoming a multi media artist.
I feel that colour and motion are the most conspicuous features in my paintings. These are elements that I typically bring to my photographic images, and to my music, too. I am now applying the same sensibility to my recent ventures in making little lyric videos to post on YouTube for my tunes. An extended music-based film titled “The Weather” will come out in the fall of 2015.
My paintings are frequently populated by swallows, magpies . . . and electrical activity. The goal has always been to engage the viewer with interesting ideas in an accessible format – keep it simple and make it striking! My painting, No One Gets Zapped is a good example of the electrical motion and vibrant colour that I’m talking about, and you can hear its audio equivalent in my song, Wilfred In The City.
Although photography isn’t at all new to me, I have recently brought my camera into action more and more with my photographic images now sharing nearly equal billing with my paintings on art cards and prints that I regularly show at the Royal Bison Art & Craft fair. My paintings have also been displayed in group and solo art shows with The Works, at the Artery, and other Edmonton gallery venues. It was a proud moment for me to ‘come out’ officially as an artistic photographer at the inaugural InFocus show for the Exposure Photography Festival in Edmonton (February, 2015). What a fine show it was, and such an excellent opportunity to have some of my new photographs displayed alongside the works of terrific Edmonton photographic artists.
My artwork and photography frequently can be seen in the graphic design for albums by my band, Wilfred N & the Grown Men. I have come to recognize the decorative quality of many of my paintings which use repetitive images (see I See By The Colour of Your Eyes That You Are One of Us). A new painting titled Delirious World has become the centerpiece for new cards and prints – and for my freshly designed, Delirious World printed silk scarves. That image is going to be expanded and transformed to be re-purposed as the cover art for my upcoming tenth Wilfred N & the Grown Men album titled Passing Through Time. A debut solo Wilfred Kozub album, “What’s Gonna Become of Us” is also in the works, and my photograph Ancient Flowers, Rome will be the cover image for that one. Lots going on! . . . I had better get to work!
Listen to “Wilfred in the City”
The Wilfred Kozub Art & Ponder Tumblr Page:
Wilfred Kozub on Soundcloud
Wilfred N & the Grown Men on Bandcamp
Wilfred N & the Grown Men on AmazingTunes
Nobody Has To Know https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yab2dUwo6J0
Wilfred In the City https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WGA9YpxXPo
Thunder on the Tundra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVmQUZgcR_U