Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Art of ones life

Creative minds get inspired essentially because of what happens in their lives. It comes from an experience, a happening, a realisation, an experiement. It's a simple equation. A+B=C.

We all create our lifes based on our experience, regardless of whether we persue a creative outlet or not. We base daily decisions on our lives by such things as how much money we have in our pocket (shall i take the train or drive today?), how we feel about people (yikes! i don't want to bump into him!), and our attitudes (I love doing this!). And these perspectives were themselves born out of experiences and earlier perspectives, which in turn came from earlier ones, etc.

Some people make a living out of helping people trace back those steps to identify significant events in their lives...but what about those stepping stones ahead? If you look to the past, it becomes clear that your own choices lead you down your path, and so it makes sense that the choices you make now and tomorrow will create a new path into the future.

So, let's experiment.

How about changing one specific choice for one week, and see what happens to you, how you feel, and what your experiences are. It might be a complete change in dress style, listening to completely different music than your normally would, or hanging out with people you wouldn't normally speak to. The key to the exercise is that it needs to be a significant change, and one that will most likely redirect you for that week. You might be surprised at what happens.

Ok, what's the point? Well, our lives are a bit like a sculpture, each experience chipping away at our present self, and shaping our future self. Many people underestimate how much control they have in this somewhat artistic process. Some artists like to do these kind of experiements often, to keep their experiences and perspective fresh. I often read stories of how creative people came to do their projects, and it makes for facsinating reading.

Maybe after your week, you might have something facsinating to tell aswell.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's nice to be nice to the nice :)

There's been a lot of talk recently about big business learning from small business, and for years there's been a quiet evolution going on. Now that the shit has hit the fan, and big businesses are tumbling like dominos, many are sprouting about the "new way" to do business. But is it new, and is it radical?

Since 1996 i have been running my own micro business, and have kept to a few basic principals. I treat customers and clients with personal respect, and give them a say in their dealings with me. It's not difficult, in fact it's very gratifying. It's also not new. Village businesses for thousands of years have been trading in this way focusing on the person rather than "the deal". It's a trade. Someone needs/wants something that they can't make or provide for themselves, so they seek out a source. It's about an energy exchange, and sometimes it comes in the form of a swap of product or services, or more often an exchange of money.

And what is money anyway? If I keep chickens and have too many eggs than i can eat, i might swap some each week with my neighbour, who plants excess vegitables to exchange with me and others. Now we both have eggs and vegies. No money needed, just pre-planning. But the honey man doesn't need eggs or vegies, but i need honey. So i give him cash so he can swap that for something he does need, that i can't provide for him. So money is a way of exchanging an equivelent value of something which cannot be bartered. This simple perception of money is no different today. It's the spending of virtual money (credit) which makes things complicated and unstable.

I sell a lot of Tania Rose CDs via online auctions. In this way customers get to choose the value of the CD for themselves. A cd to one person might be worth far more than it is to another, so a customer can have a say, and only buy at the price that suits them. I like this feeling of fairness and bartering. It's also about the customer's experience during their purchase too. I like to have fun when i buy, and i think a lot of other people do to, so i like to share that in our communications and service with each customer.

But the feel-good doesn't end there. Once we're all happy with the exchange, and everyone has had a sense of fun, THEN we get to hear from people saying what a pleasure the whole experience was. You can't imagine the joy i feel when i read emails, messages and blogs from people about their possitive experience. Its like icing on the cake. Here's an example from Libby Varcoe

So, doing business with passion and personal detail isn't new. It's the old way to do business, just as if you are trading with your family or neighbour. There should be a feeling of satisfaction on both sides of the fence, and if your not feeling warm and fuzzy, then chances are neither is your customer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Creative PMT & the madness of being

Being a creative person has it's highs and lows.
On the positive side ...well, it's pretty awesome to start out with absolutely nothing and fill that nothing with a something that previously never existed. It's a feeling of total satisfaction...for a brief moment at least...and in my case it's very brief, as my need to create is insatiable.

The journey is always unique, always significant personally, and each project seems to capture and freeze a time frame in my life (which can be good when you're feeling great, or bad if life was feeling pretty shite at the time).

The preceding process is almost always filled with angst, confusion, and other crappy vibes. In fact, they're usually the first signs that i know a project is about to be born. It's like a kind of creative PMT. If i don't get on with it, that PMT can last for as long as it takes before i finally birth that baby! I also find that i preoccupy myself with everything BUT starting something, distracting myself with anything i can possible think of and making myself sink further into the abyss. We could spend a lot of time debating why it is i do it to myself, but my guess is that it probably stems from my boredom as a child, which is what encouraged me to create my own stuff. So perhaps i'm subconsciously trying to bore myself until i can't stand myself any longer. Whatever the reason, i seem to take on a dual-personaility, half artist and half mad-woman. i must be a pain to live with at times!

Once i've thrown myself in the deep end, i'm quickly committed. I truly enjoy the process of creation, starting out with something raw...an idea, a skelaton, a fragment, or perhaps nothing but the moment itself and a big empty. I enjoy the crafting of it, the tweeking, the exploring...it's like an adventure in a new place, unknown territory. I love to flirt with serendipity and chance, and make the whole thing feel like it has a free will of it's own. I become dedicated, somewhat fanatical, and definately obsessed with it's exploration. Until there's a technical problem, or more likely I become the technical problem, stubbournly dig my heals and then sulk...briefly... until i find a way to let go, relieved and content with serendipity's kiss.

As with many artists, my internal world is filled with contradictions, fears and passion, which manifest in numerous ways when i work. But most days my world is filled with motherhood, business, and friendship, and my creativity brews under the surface, growing and festering under my skin.

Life is good