By Meredith Bless
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Lovers in their own land. The river that flows through mountains will stop to play in a whirlpool. It will change course if a dramatic storm ensues. Sometimes calm, sometimes raging. But it gives life and love. Sometimes people get hurt if they venture too long or too deep, for waters such as these can be frigid and ice over. But, if you are patient and can survive the cold, the warm waters will soon return. As the sun rises in the east, and the songs of spring whisper in your ears, dive in and let the river flow through you.
The relationship between you and creativity is a love affair that only you can nurture. The transition from winter to spring is always an interesting one, and one that is incredibly important, especially for those of us who have creativity pulsing through our veins. This transition holds meaning on so many levels. Today I’m going to step away from the literal concept and talk about the idea of rebirth in regards to your creativity and career.
When artists start their own business, they begin with their passion. Perhaps it’s travel photography, landscape painting, the color red, macro or natural light. You name it, we’ve all been there. Some of us are still there at the beginning, and that’s okay. For those of you who want to turn your artistic talents into a long-term career, there are a number of business concepts that need to be considered, designed, implemented, and continuously adjusted along the way.
The concept I’ll talk about today is, nurturing your creativity through the development of a personal project. This is important if you are running your own business as an artist or hold a career in a creative field. Creating a personal project will help keep your creative focus fresh, new, and inspired. We all have those moments when it feels like our creativity has frozen over. There have been times I’ve personally thought my creativity would never thaw. Those moments, of course, happen to coincide with overworking myself, stressing about finances, and spiraling into major life questions and doubts. What am I doing with my life? Have I lost my artistic style? Did I ever even have a style?
I’ve learned, that by making time for an ongoing personal project, my creative momentum is much more balanced. I have clarity in the tasks ahead of me and any doubts I may have are manageable and much less dramatic. In the past my personal projects were all visual creative mediums - photography, painting, block printing. Today, I find my ongoing personal project to be writing, which is something I never dreamed I’d enjoy, but here I am, writing.
I want to emphasize the importance of a personal project for a second reason. It’s the first thing I look for when an artist asks if I would represent them. Have you created a personal project? I’m not talking about that time two years ago you went to southeast asia and photographed your backpacking trip. I’m looking for a specific concept that you have sought out, created, designed or captured, and now have it displayed with specific intent, on your website. Remember, your personal project will most likely be the body of work that will shine brightest in your portfolio.
Your personal projects can also aid in the guidance of your career path. I work with two artists who are perfect examples of how their personal projects shed new light, inspiration, direction, and rebirth to their careers.
P2 Stills + Motion first spoke to me at a time when they felt scattered with their portfolio. Creativity was at a low and it was unclear what their next step needed to be. One of my first suggestions was to come up with a personal project. From that direction, Buck the Cubicle was created which lead to a re-brand and a fresh look to their portfolio. This took their creativity, talent, and global recognition to new heights.
[Click images for videos of each Buck the Cubicle]
Karen Wippich was a graphic designer for over 40 years when one day she picked up a paintbrush and began to paint. What started out as a personal side project has now blossomed into a full-time career. Her projects grew to the level where she needed to hire someone to represent her work and consult on matters of expanding her business beyond her local region; and that’s where I came into play.
[Click image for painting demo's by Karen Wippich]
So, I will leave you with this phrase once again, the relationship between you and creativity is a love affair that only you can nurture. For fine art, perhaps you explore a new medium or create a specific series. Commercial photographers, it really can be anything that inspires you to capture on film. And all the rest of us in creative careers, set aside an hour a day, away from a digital screen, then create, craft, or simply just write in a journal. If you are so inspired, let me know of your progress in an email or #TaigaInspired on Instagram!
Cover image by P2 Stills + Motion