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10 Tips for Artful Self-Exploration

How to create with intention while learning about yourself and the ways you relate to the world around you.

1. Learn the seasons of creativity.

Just as you might weatherize your home and wardrobe in preparation for a shift in temperatures, there are benefits for preparing your mind for a shift in creative seasons too. Getting to know the seasons of your workflow can help you to maintain a healthy relationship to your art form. Here's a general range of what creative seasons might look like:

- inspiration - exploring phase, receiving downloads about ideas and concepts that you'd like to include or translate in your work.

- creation - trial and error phase, applying your inspiration to your medium, developing ideas, throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks.

- execution - refinement phase, examining your ideas, seeking objective pov, being receptive to critique and feedback.

- promotion - showcasing your work. offering your gifts to the world: perform, publish, showcase, etc.

Being able to recognize what season you're in will decrease your chances of resenting your craft when the pace changes. It's also helpful in identifying the origin of your emotions. When you know that you're in a season of gathering inspo, you don't have to be hard on yourself for not putting something out. This is a great confidence builder, and you'll be unfazed by whats going on around you. Tap into different levels of productivity. Lessen your chances of feeling anxious or overwhelmed by growing in the awareness of the ebb and flow of creativity. Become more gentle with yourself throughout your phases.

2. Articulate your concepts with clarity.

Building the foundation of your artistic identity: Why do you create what you create? What or who inspires you, and how do your inspirations influence your work? Who is meant to enjoy your work? What are your goals and aspirations for your creative endeavors? Even though creatives don't like to label themselves, but for arguments sake, act like you had to label yourself, or categorize yourself.

When you can synthesize your ideas and concepts, you can craft a mission statement that's clear and concise. This step cannot be skipped whatsoever, and your findings will consistently shift as you grow through seasons. But articulating your concepts with clarity will help you become successful with garnering attention and support on your journey.

3. Remember, once you publish it, it'll be out there forever.

This is simple: whatever you publish to the internet, it will live on the internet... forever !!!

Even when you think no one is watching or paying attention, they are screen-shotting, and forwarding to their friends. Long gone are the days where you can pay top dollar to have someone remove unflattering photos or false information about you from the interwebs. Beyonce tried it with her super bowl performance pictures back in 2013, and no, it ain't work. They're still floating around.

But on a more relatable scale, I have a friend named Marcus, who's a talented visual and recording artist from the Bay Area. Marcus has strong opinions about politics that he primarily inserts into his art -- which as a creator, you are highly encouraged to do. On one of the biggest nights of his career -- his first solo exhibit at a prominent gallery in his area-- an angry mob of 15 to 20 people showed up to opening night ready to start some shit. They stood outside with megaphones and cardboard signs accusing Marcus of all sorts of homophobia. They were carrying posters and signs of former tweets where Marcus engaged in a twitter dispute with a trans person he had a fallen out with. It has since been resolved, but the mob of people were pretty upset about it, and decided to impose on Marcus' night. But it was absurd because the person Marcus was arguing with actually attended the event as a close friend, and she was successful in calming down the crowd. Marcus suffered from this because it impacted the flow of his night, and it also contributed to bad publicity on the biggest night of his career.

The reality is, your internet actions will follow you. Situations may die down and people may forget about it for awhile, but just be mindful that whatever you attach your name, image, and likeness to will be etched into your digital real estate forever. Think 100x before you post anything!!

4. Use your imagination to transform your environment.

Its important to remain aware of how your environment influences your creativity. If your home or work situation leaves a lot to be desired, it can either A- drive you to lock in and focus intensely on your process and creative output, or B- cause you to fall into stagnation and do nothing at all. You can immerse yourself into a different world by creating that new world, but your frequency and mindset will determine the quality of your inner alternate reality. It's mind over matter.

5. Surrender to creative urges.

Let your soul glow baby! Whatever you've always wanted to do, GO FOR IT! Sign up for the showcase, attend the writers workshop, make those beats, participate in the internet challenges that showcase your talent, go to the screening, paint your face, phase out your old wardrobe, book a solo trip in the name of inspiration. Leap outside of your comfort zone. It is good for your mental health. Not only can you unlock new levels of your own potential, but you can also stumble upon new opportunities as well.

6. Detach from social media.

Social media ain't free. You pay with attention, energy, and time. If you are consistently logged in scrolling and commenting from sun up to sundown, you will begin depleting your energetic reserve. Be deliberate with how much you consume by taking breaks every so often, setting your alarm to monitor your usage, and turning off notifications. I recommend that you go cold turkey altogether and fast from the platforms for 5+ weeks at a time. Your art style, train of thought, and speech can all be influenced by the media you engage with on these platforms. It's definitely not something to take too lightly, so just be mindful when using.

7. Shamelessly promote your work.

Calculate the costs of what you do. Consider the cost of supplies, travel expenses, utilities of your workspace, and other resources needed. Also factor how much time and energy you invest into your endeavors. You should be proud to present your work to the world. But bear in mind, you should only promote your best and completed work. You can share updates on how you're developing your artistic voice and style, but this should also be done with confidence.

8. Rest when needed.

There's a meme that says: "there's no award for the most overworked female of the year" and I strongly disagree. All we do is award females [and people] who overwork themselves. In fact, these females are acknowledged in publications like Forbes' 30 under 30, and Time's Most Influential People. While the contradictions of huemanity are abundant, don't be tempted to cause an internal imbalance because you want to tip the scale in favor of appealing to these external measurements of success. You have to listen to your mind and body to know when you need to rest. And let's be clear, sleep and rest are two completely different things!! You can get 8 hours of sleep every night and still be restless.

9. There is no reward for being inconsistent.

When you are not consistent in practicing, creating, and developing your craft, creative voice, process, and techniques, you are cheating yourself of progress! Yeah, that's right, you deprive yourself of growth. It's not about "making it" before the next person who is hungrier than you with less talent; your journey is about YOU! When you are not consistent with your process, you run the risk of losing momentum, and your lack of confidence will be apparent in your work and how you present yourself. This can also negatively impact your credibility, which can lead to a lack of people's attention and support if they sense you don't take your artistic endeavors seriously.

10. Listen to that feeling in your stomach, or that voice in the back of your head.

If you are presented with an opportunity that seems ideal or legit, and something inspires you to think twice, honor that feeling. Listen to that voice before treading down a particular path. Take a few steps back to evaluate everything with a pro's and con's list. Some decisions are time sensitive, but if you're being pressured to rush and make a decision that will be in favor of someone else, then it most likely isn't worth pursuing. But again, the situations vary and so will the outcomes.

Never stop having fun, and always make the most out of every step of the journey.

until next time

peace & purple


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