I did the cover for the @nytimes Sunday Book Review! Art directed by the one and only amazing @matt.dorfman the feature review is about a satirical novel by Francine Prose, titled Mr. Monkey. Super satisfying to see this one in print since the colors look even better on newsprint!!!
Les gens ordinaires attendent que la vie leur révèle ses secrets, mais aux rares, aux élus, les mystères de la vie se révèlent avant que le voile n'en soit tiré. Quelquefois c'est là l'effet de l'art et surtout de l'art littéraire qui traire directement les passions et l'intellect. Mais il arrive qu'une personnalité complexe prenne la place et exerce la fonction de l'art, qu'elle devienne par elle-même, à sa façon, une œuvre d'art, puisque la Vie produit ses chefs-d’œuvre de raffinement au même titre que la poésie, la sculpture ou la peinture.
We all know the tortured artist schtick. To be honest, I can be a downer sometimes myself, but I think it would be terrible for us to all perpetuate the idea that being creative and miserable are mutually exclusive.
So here’s to being creative and actually enjoying it:
1. Refuse to See Your Entire Life Either as a Success or a Failure The idea here is to never buy into the lie that your life is either successful or failing in terms of your creative output. Think of the most successful creative person you can, if you look closely you can see a series of successes and failures.
The best way for me to look at the creative life is as a series of projects which can be successful in some ways and fail in other ways. For instance, some projects are really successful in the development of your skill but not financially advantageous.
Also, don’t believe that there is some level of success where you have now “arrived” or attained a level of success which can never been denied to you, like being hailed a “creative genius” with endless financial gain, forever. I could tell you many examples of artists and musicians who seem like they have “arrived” with one project and then completely fail the next.
2. Make Something Everyday Will Bryant says something like, “I make stuff because if I don’t I get sad”. A silly and profound statement. Last year I did a daily drawing project where I created a new character every weekday. I found this statement to ring very true.
This practice gave me a sense of creative productivity every single day, which is a serious morale booster. Even if you don’t show anyone, it can help you feel prolific and unlimited in your creative abilities, which in turn increases your confidence.
3. Be Authentic This is huge. Many people have done amazing things in creativity and have received many rewards, successes and prizes for them. So there is a lot of incentive for YOU to be THEM. But the trick is knowing the truth: you CAN’T be them. Trying to be something you are not will make you feel like an old sock. You already know this, but I thought I’d remind you.
4. Know Your Purpose Shooting aimlessly into the dark can feel like…shooting aimlessly into the dark. Your purpose doesn’t have to be mind meltingly important. I like the humble yet ambitious purpose the great Debbie Millman has taken upon herself to “try to make the supermarket more beautiful”.
Try to clarify what you want to achieve overall so that everything you do has a sense of purpose. Purpose equals meaning, and to most creatives I know, a sense of meaning is why they want to make art and why they DO NOT want to work in a factory.
5. Address and Defeat Your Fears That dreadful fear is a bully that is killing your soul and it should be stood up to. Listen to it, don’t ignore it. Hear what it’s actually saying and then dismantle it. Talk to someone about it openly, if the fear is tied to reality, then face it and take it down with integrity. If it’s all lies, all smoke and mirrors then let it disappear in the cloud of smoke that it is. If you are doing super boring unadventurous work, you won’t have any fears at all…but who wants to do that?