the creative process is never linear

The creative process is never linear. Since it’s the end of the year and a convenient time for self reflection, I’ve recently realized something about myself:  I like to shoot my photos within the loose framework of a series. I may shoot under the larger umbrella of toys (or LEGO) but within my photographs you will see consistent themes running through my frequent social media posts. Continue reading the creative process is never linear

In search of an idea for a Still Life

I always think it’s easier to make pictures if I have an idea. If I have an idea for a picture, I usually try to make a mockup of the picture before I go out and then try to make the actual photograph. I enjoy visualizing the idea, trying angles and the setup before I stand outside with my toys and camera. But I don’t always have an idea. I wish I did, but sometime I go out to photograph without an idea… this means that one part of me is going out to search for ideas to “visualize” in my still life pictures. On a good day, I seems to find ideas everywhere:  on commercial billboards, in ordinary life, at work, in literature, mythology and in other artists work. Continue reading In search of an idea for a Still Life

To make a selection

The process of deciding which pictures I will show in the exhibition “In LEGO We Connect: The Adventure Continues” in Seattle, has been hard. I started my selection by looking back at all my toy photographs, but I soon realized I had to choose from those I have done during the last year. Continue reading To make a selection

It will be like replacing a dear friend

Looking at my toys I see that they are old and the plastic is full of cuts, bruises and cracks. One of my favorites toys is literally having a hard time working for me. He is so worn out that for over a year I have said: it’s time to retire him, but I have a hard time committing to that thought. When I go out on a photo walk I bring him with me, and make him a part of the idea that I want to try. With all my patience, not giving up on the idea, we get it to work, despite the fact that he has seen his better days. I have asked myself why don’t I just replace him with a copy, a better, newer version? It’s just a toy, in plastic… Continue reading It will be like replacing a dear friend

Creativity (pt 2)

Now that have I laid out my personal theory regarding creativity and the joys of choosing your own problems, I will tackle the second and third questions recently presented to me. These have to do with developing and maintaining the rhythm of creativity in your day to day life.

So lets get started. Continue reading Creativity (pt 2)

Creativity (pt.1)

cre•a•tiv•i•ty

(ˌkri eɪˈtɪv ɪ ti, ˌkri ə-) 

n.

1. the state or quality of being creative.
2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.: originality, progressiveness, or imagination.
3. the process of using creative ability.

I was asked to write about my creative process, specifically “When and where am I most creative?”, “What do I do to cultivate/develop creativity?” and “How do I maintain / sustain my creativity.” Wow, nothing like asking an artist to peer behind the proverbial curtain.

Ugh!

Continue reading Creativity (pt.1)

Another Kind of Diary

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. ~ Pablo Picasso

This also applies to me and my photography.

I love to look back at my photos and think about where I took them and who was with me at the time. Each photo is an instant flash back to (mostly) wonderful memories. This past week on G+ I have been sharing the few Lego photos I took while in Iceland last year. Looking at them today takes me immediately back there and I experience the exhilaration over again.

For me photography has always been a form of documentation; be it my emotions, my family or an unusually viewpoint of a particular place. It may not seem like one, but my photography is a visual journal of my day to day life.

I have always travelled with my Lego mini figures and my photographs represent the places I have been. Since this is on a micro scale a specific place may be difficult to identify. As the colors and textures of places differ, it is interesting to see those differences in the final shots. This can be especially obvious when viewed as a group.

I am curious how you view your photography.

What role does it play in your life?
Is it a book in the making?
Is it a documentation of your everyday life?
Is it reaction to world events around you?
I wonder if +Me2 takes his Lego with him when he travels for business?

~ xxsjc

Iceland October 2013

Arches NP, Utah, September 2014

What a difference a year can make. 


Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing something.

While we await news of +me2’s grand adventure, I’ve been having a small adventure of my own.

When I left town a few days ago, I packed a wonderful collection of Lego and all my camera gear with grand intentions. My family and I would be driving nearly 1800 miles (2824 km) across the US and we would be passing by some of my favorite places in the country like Yellowstone National Park and Moab, Utah. I was going to be ready!

Five days later, not a single Lego picture was taken, not even a quick iPhone photo. What happened? In our spare time we decided to do stuff a 9 year old boy wanted to do: a train museum and a dinosaur museum were the highlights. Besides having fun I realized I was actually taking a much needed mental break. I have enough photos on my iPad to feed the Instagram beast for a couple of weeks and it was more important for me to take a breather.  
When you embark on your creative path, it’s important to realize that when you’re not working on your work…you probabaly still are. Even when taking a break, your mind will continue to be working out those artistic road blocks. And this is what happened to me this week. At some point while driving I realized where I wanted to go next with my Lego photos and what my project would look like. Now I can’t wait to get home and get started. 
If you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated, simply kicking back and relaxing is the best course of action. Let your subconscious work it out, more than likely it’s already got the answer. Sometimes you have to do nothing to move forward. 
I have had a request to do more photography tips on the blog. If this is something you would like to see, please leave a comment below.


The Burden of Dreams

I confess I’ve been watching documentaries again. This one was about Werner Herzog and his epic struggle to complete his movie Fitzcarraldo. The documentary, Burden of Dreams, concerns a movie maker on a seemingly Sisyphean task who’s main character is on a similar, nearly impossible task. 

As Werner Herzog is talking about his project, after hitting the umpteenth major snag, he said the following:

 “If I abandon this project, I would be a man without dreams and I don’t want to live like that.”

The above quote really struck home. 

It is good to remember that dreams are a burden. They ask much of us; sometimes too much. But like Mr. Herzog you have to keep going, no matter how tough it gets. You have to  nurture your projects and the dreams they come from. It doesn’t matter if success or failure await you; living without dreams would be a very bleak existence. 

~ xxsjc 


Have you ever though about quitting?
If so, what kept you going?



Sunday Painters (another perspective)

I can relate to +Me2  and his Sunday Painter plight. I am not sure any of us has the stamina or the time to create meaningful art on a daily basis. It is so much easier to do the laundry, cook a meal, play video games or any of the thousands of distractions we encounter daily. 

Before anyone gives up on this so called battle lets talk about what creating art on a full time basis looks like. Because sometimes I think people have a grander notion of what being an artist is. What it’s not: painting every day in your studio, listening to classical music while your faithful cat keeps you company (or insert personal fantasy of your choice here). What it can look like is thinking about what you want to make, planning out your image, gathering supplies and props and sketching some ideas in a work book. Often it means simply staying caught up on what’s going on in your field, understanding the changing marketplace and researching the past. Day to day tasks often involve organizing work, matting final images, networking, bookkeeping, meetings, phone calls and e-mails like any other grunt worker. 
Finding success in the market place is a mixed blessing. The process of creating and selling the same old same old that pays the bills can be a soul deadening experience. For most artists creating new, exciting and challenging work on a regular basis is the exception. In a way relegating them back into the category of the “Sunday Painter”.
For the working artist (or the Sunday Painter) the greatest luxury is creating art that inspires you. 
~ xxsjc  
What does your perfect artist life loo like? 

I chose this image by +Gordon Webb to illustrate another time suck that is a big part of our weird Stuckinplastic world,,,forever sorting.