December Diary: 2021 Day One

Here we go! A Kick Start into December.

A month of sharing my daily journey starting today. I did do a month of writing in 2020, but that was in July, so it has been a while. This is what it will look like:

  • diary
  • photo pic of the day
  • gratitude, quote, or thought of the day

So, let’s begin.

It’s Wednesday, mid week, and we are in the middle of shifting house. Most of our things are packed, sold or in storage. If you have ever shifted you will know how good it feels to go through collected items and realise that they are not fit for purpose anymore, which gives you permission to let them go. I really don’t know why I hold onto things for so long. But I do, and I know it’s a common practice.

Anyway – that is where we are at. We are not moving far, but the place is a lot smaller, so another reason to let things go within that idea of ‘down-sizing’. It’s funny to think I can let things go at anytime, but only do go through this activity when I have to. Maybe this time I wont collect stuff.

Maybe – but I’m not holding my breath.

This morning, I went for a walk down our beautiful mismatched windy street to a small inlet on the Manakau Harbour. Such a lovely spot, and when I was there I wondered if it would be the last time I saw it. I’ve gone down there a lot over the last few years, it’s only a 15 min walk away, so it has been an easy place to seek out some comfort during all the ‘lock-down days’ we’ve had.

Today’s Pic

So my gratitude for today goes to this place. A place of solitude and reflection and a place that gave a different view and perspective every time I visited it. Whether or not I come here again, I will always be grateful.

Catch you tomorrow. xx

At The Horizon

Finally we are here. The interactive poetical documentary ‘At The Horizon’ is online and free to view for two weeks, from 25 November till 8 December 2021.

To view click here

Installation of ‘At The Horizon” at RM Gallery 2020

I want to point out that for viewing reasons the interaction is much better on a desktop, laptop or tablet. It is not made for phone viewing, so you may encounter glitches if you watch from there.

I first started thinking about the documentary in 2016 and this is when I interviewed my mother, and from that point the idea of ‘At The Horizon’ unfolded. I finished the work late 2020 and it had its debut at RM gallery in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, since then, however, and due to continuing lockdowns, the work has not been able to have public viewings. It is this reason that I have put the work online, holding my own exhibition if you will.

So Please go to the website and check it out. Then let me know down below, or feel free to ask questions.

Putting Myself “out there”.

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well.

I’m contemplating, reflecting on the feeling or experience of “putting myself out there”, sharing online, writing this Blog and recently starting a YouTube channel.

It’s difficult, amazing, fun, hard, and very humbling. It’s humbling because part of me wants or needs success, and I’m told that success is measured in views and reads: the more subscribers, the more engagement, click-throughs… and so on. Numbers measure how successful I am.

But on reflection…

That’s not why I started these things. I get caught up in posts like “How to grow your channel”, and I forget that I started it for fun, to share, to grow and to challenge myself.

I’ve been treating myself to cut flowers once a week

So, I have given myself a reality check. If I want to keep going, I need to remind myself that success comes from within, not externally.

Success – gets the best of us. It questions our own beliefs, makes us feel not good enough, makes us compare – and I don’t want to be part of that.

My creativity and the way I share is mine. I don’t have to follow a formula or pattern that someone says makes a successful blog of vlog…

I’m going to be strong, and do what I want – because that is valid. What and how I want to share isn’t measured in numbers.

That’s me this week. I little wake-up call. Standing up for myself, being my best friend, listening to my own advice.

If you want to know what I think more extensively on the topic, I’ve written a 2 part blog on success: linked below:

Success Part One

Success Part Two

Put yourself out there, share if you want to, but choose your own success.

Catch you next time.

NAVIGATING CHANGE – through the creative process

I’ve made a YouTube video about this, about what I’m going through and how I’m adjusting to change and preparing for change. Things we need to think about, plan and put into action.

For more on this please click here

I think change is one of the hardest aspects of life, but also one of the most essential, we can’t allow ourselves to stagnate, we need change, we need to move forward, we need to take risks and be brave. The quote below is exactly how I feel about it. Don’t fester on the things you are letting go or saying goodbye to, but face forward.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” 

Socrates

Short but sweet this week. It’s all in the video so check it out.

Catch you next week xx

Putting on an Online Exhibition

An audio-visual work I recently created, (end of 2020), had an initial opening and gallery exhibition, however since then, and mainly due to COVID restrictions and our current lock-down in Auckland further exhibitions have been cancelled or been put on hold.

So, I’ve decided to put my own online exhibition together for this particular work.

I recently watched, ‘Virtual Art Exhibitions: Teaching Art Online‘ with Art Prof Clara Lieu. This was hugely helpful and got me underway to put my show together. Lieu mainly discussed having an exhibition on Instagram, and I’m not doing that, but all the tools for the organisation of the event are pretty much what I’m doing. If you are wanting to organise an online event I would recommend watching this.

I have organised screenings of films, and been involved in arranging events before, so I’m not a complete novice at the task, however, I’ve never organised an online event. I’m really excited about this event and I’m also excited about the possibility of doing other online exhibitions, and not just for my own work. Online exhibitions provide a much wider audience and and a chance to work and collaborate with artists and creators I wouldn’t usually get the chance to work with. So, my little online exhibition will be a good tester.

If you are also putting an online exhibition or event together I would recommend designing backwards. Start with the event name and the date, who you want to attend and why you are putting this on. From that date work backwards, until the present moment. I created a simple spreadsheet and worked backwards deciding on what would need done and when. It was straightforward and took a couple of hours. I listed all the physical work I would have to do, but mainly it was the advertising and promotion of the event that took a bit to work out.

I first decided the platforms I wanted to advertise on and listed all the posts I would do, what would be the content of those posts, and what the posts would add (as in value), so I wouldn’t be just repeating the same content. Some posts are informative, some more interactive, and some are adding a personal touch so the audience can feel connected. I think this is more important for an online exhibition or event, due to the physical separation. I would suggest to do this, if you are also putting an event together. It takes a bit of time, but once you have the list of what to do, and the dates you need to post, it is just a case of getting the shizz done!!

Made this image in Adobe Spark and have used it for FB and Insta posts.

The other thing I have done to prepare is download the Adobe Spark App, it has just made things sooo much easier to make posts look good and cohesive. I’m my own graphic artist on this one, so any help I can get is worth the money. So far, that is the only thing I have paid out for.

If you are thinking of organising something online put some time into research beforehand. There are lots of people and organisations doing more and more of it, so there’s plenty of tips out there. I will post more about my exhibition and how to attend, closer to the time.

That’s all folks. Hope you are all well. Let me know if the comments below if you enjoyed this post.

Catch you next time. xx

Connect to your Creativity

Connection – how to feel connected. Not to others, (although that is important), but to ourselves, so our creativity isn’t something we are striving for. This is what I’m getting out of Week 6 in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

Last year I started The Artist’s Way – and only got to Week 6, out of the 12 Week course. You can read the beginning of last years attempts here, is you so wish. This time I’m going to get to the end!!! Haha, that is my mission. This time through I’m finding out new things about being creative and I’m discovering my artist blocks more readily.

My new messy creative space

For me, connection is about letting the process take on a journey, rather than controlling everything I do. Just allowing myself to create, free from judgement, or comparison. I’ve been reading a little bit from Alan Watts lately and appreciate his take on good/bad, right/wrong and that these supposed opposites are just sides of the same thing.

Thinking about creativity, this idea helps me to let go of making ‘bad art’, as art is art. Good or bad is a judgement, that doesn’t relate to my creativity, my process, or my connection with myself in order to create. If we can let go of the outcome, I think connection is much more available to us.

I love this quote:

Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.

Salvador Dali

Part of Week 6 in The Artist’s Way is about perfectionism and how it stifles creativity. I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, I’m more messy and seem to be happy in my mess and not bothered if people see me in it – however, and it’s a BIG HOWEVER: I do still care what people think – and I can put that ahead of my process. Many times I’ve changed tack because of what was expected, or what I thought people wanted, rather than staying true to myself. And, I just caught myself doing that again recently. So, obviously something or some fear I have, I’m holding onto.

I guess creativity is a process, just as we are a process. Makes sense if we can connect to it then.

Hope you are all well. Let me know about your artist endeavours.

Catch you next time xx

2021 – Art in Process: Leading the Blind

If I were blind I’d rather have another blind person leading me around because they know what I’m dealing with and they’re experiencing the same things. 

Augusten Burroughs

Been a while since I wrote a post, so a bit of a catch-up needed. I started my residency at RM Gallery a couple of weeks ago. My experimental film idea is making huge leaps and bounds now that I have more time to put into it. The space itself is peaceful to work in and the city vibe outside the door keeps my interests up.

At the same time though life has been particularly stressful. Not the art making – but everything else. And I think that is why I haven’t posted a lot. I did a YouTube clip about mental health and creativity, which I will link here. This kinda sums up how I’ve been. Very up and down, and just taking one day at a time.

What I want to briefly discuss in this weeks post is ‘process-led creativity.’ The process of this particular project has led the work and is leading the work. I did not, have not, and still do not know the exact outcome, instead I’m letting the process take me into the unknown.

Every creative project is different, every creative journey unique. I usually make work where I do know the outcome, for example; I am writing a web series, or I am painting a landscape… So letting the process lead is extremely challenging. When I began I looked towards nature to find and create the structure of the work, and somehow that process led me into ‘nurture’ – as in nurture vs nature, which I would have never imagined. So the content and themes are much more about nurture, and if it does finish as an experimental film, the viewer may never guess that nature had a part, so my creativity around being inspired by nature to create structure is somewhat hidden.

But, if we think of buildings, foundations and footings probably aren’t the first things you think about. I’ve spent time looking at patterns in nature to be inspired to create a structure but then moved onto thinking about nurture for the content. It seems understandable, but I didn’t know this when I started.

I would say not to be afraid to take this approach, but be prepared for radical shifts to happen. You will probably have a starting point but then allow the process to lead. You will get to the end – just not one you imagined at the beginning.

It’s a bit like writing a novel without chapter planning. It’s not for everyone – but it’s a hell-of-a-ride.

Catch you next time xx

2021 Art in Process: Is it too late?

Is it too late? Am I too old? Am I too young? Do I know enough about this topic? Do I have enough experience? Am I too jaded? What will people think? What will my family think? I can’t start something new now! How do I start? There are already so many people doing it. There’s so many talented people out there. No one would care about it. People will think it’s stupid…

And on and on it goes. You know what I’m talking about.

What the hell! Really? Stop it! How on earth can you let creativity be part of your life if you are starting on this note?

It’s not too late. Your not too young or too old. And experience comes with doing, so if you want it, you have to do it. You are your best friend, you are your own ally. Creativity isn’t for those ‘arty’ ones, it’s for everyone.

I’ve been creating stuff… songs, poetry, films for over 2 decades for myself and professionally and I still have all those insecure thoughts. I still get nervous and doubt myself, we all do, it’s not just you. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t. But those people who can get past the thoughts and push through are the ones that achieve some sort of creative progress.

I went to an abstract painting class for the first time – this is not great art, it’s me making creative progress.

Thoughts really get in the way. But they’re just thoughts. Yep, just thoughts. Say it 10 times. They’re just thoughts.

Ask yourself, what is the worse thing that could happen if I take that pottery class, or learn photoshop skills online? You could find that it’s not for you, OR you could find some joy.

I’ve gone through the creative process a few times now, and if something is nerve racking I’m probably on the right path. Creativity isn’t cookie cutter, it’s part exploration part expression; it opens us up to see the world differently. It gives us confidence to fail and succeed- both as important as the other.

So don’t believe those thoughts of yours because they’re just thoughts.

Catch you next time xx.

2021 Art in Process: Validation

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well. I’ve been thinking a lot about validation recently and because of this thought it would be a good time to write about it. I’ve been thinking about it because I’ve realised that even though I paint, and write poetry I am very unsure of myself in these areas because I have had little or no training, and I’ve never been involved professionally in them.

At the moment, if you have been reading the ‘Art in Process’ posts, you will know that I’m working towards a residency at RM Gallery where I will be making an experimental film. The process of making this film has been hugely challenging, however I find myself confident even when I’m unsure about this new method of ‘making’. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I’ve been involved in creating moving image for quite some time both commercially and artistically. I feel like I don’t need validation to continue on, I’m confident in the process and confident in myself when it comes to this type of creativity.

So, does experience and training validate creativity? Good question.

Validation stems from the term ‘valid’. The original French ‘valide’ was to do with the law – having something legally binding. However the Latin term ‘validus’ seems more likely to be what I’m getting at; ‘validus’ means strong, powerful, active. The Proto-Indio-European root word is ‘wal’: to be strong, “sufficiently to be supported by facts or authority, well-grounded.”

There is a lot here to unpack, especially when creativity and the act of an individual creating is completely personal. I love this quote:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.”

Martha Graham

Could the validation then be OF and FROM ourselves. OF expresses the relationship between artist and work. ‘The work OF you’. FROM expresses that you are the source. If we are unique as Graham suggests then the validation is supported by the fact – the work is ‘OF and FROM us’. We can be strong, powerful and active knowing that only we could ever make this exact piece. Our validation is already in the work.

So, even though we may not have experience or training – validation is already part of our uniqueness – and we can’t take our uniqueness out of our creativity.

Hope you have a great week. Catch you next time xx