I’ve always been fascinated by the parallels between art-making and life. So much of what I observe in the creative process applies to problem-solving and decision-making in general. Lately I’ve been reading about the creative process of other artists in Maria Popova’s fantastic blog, Brain Pickings and Joe Fig’s book, Inside the Painter’s Studio. The common and unwavering theme from artist to artist, author to author is just show up and do the work. Keep at it until you break through. Chilean American author, Isabel Allende frames it so well: “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up.”
When you ‘hit the wall’ in the creative process – and also the normal problem solving process – it hurts! It’s that uncomfortable place my friend describes as feeling restless. I describe it as a scratchy feeling – kinda like a tortoise flipped onto its shell and struggling to right itself. Not a nice place to be.
It turns out it’s a really good place to be. Jonah Lehrer describes in Imagine: How Creativity Works that “hitting the wall” happens when your brain has exhausted all the obvious solutions, gone down all “the usual” thinking paths and come up short. Hitting the wall should be a welcome event because it’s only then that the brain starts making unusual associations, looking around corners and into dark seldom used places to find solutions. This greatly increases your chances of coming up with a creative solution.
Bring on the wall!
My pet peeve is when people buy pieces of art to match the couch or the colour scheme of a room. That’s what wall paint is for.
There’s no formula for choosing art unless you’re a serious collector. Serious collectors need to consider resaleability, investment growth potential and sometimes buying by “artist.” Of course they also tend to buy art they love, but not exclusively so. If you’re not a collector – and most of us aren’t – then the only rule for choosing a piece of art is this:
Buy art that you love.