Around a year ago, I came across an Instagram feed that fascinated me. It was based on the simple premise of finding your wild, being free, and doing it without your phone. It has been something that has forced me to reflect on the ways I create and incorporating a new discipline into my life.
Can I tell you something? It used to be simpler.
When I studied design in college, finding inspiration was organic. You found things you loved, took pictures, printed them out, and filled moleskines with sketches, color samples, and packaging of products you loved. My desk and dresser were shoved together in the corner of my room. It was part laptop station and part easel. Covered either paint or micron pen marks, it was a tiny little haven of a studio in the middle of a cinderblocked dorm room. I lived and breathed inspiration, looking for the beauty that filled my days in a small Kentucky town. Content wasn’t instant or disposable. It wasn’t in constant demand and beautiful things had to be sought out. I didn’t have immediate access to what everyone else was doing, the latest collaborations I should be seeking out, or keeping up with the latest design trend. I knew my aesthetic and voice. There was raw clarity in what I was creating everyday.
How do I cultivate this simplicity again?
After reading the book Steal Like an Artist, I decided to adopt a space where I pound out my design and make things digital. I have a separate space that’s meant for analog creation. One day a week, all of the noise, inspiration, and mental clutter goes out the door. It’s not about emails, feeds, or the latest trend. It’s creating for the sake of creating. Pen goes to paper, the camera comes out, and with my hands I rediscover the art and beauty that I love. Sometimes it has purpose and intent, other times it looks like play. Play with color, shape, and form. Playing with art for the sake of art. It isn’t intended to derive meaning or make any statement. It is for the joy of creation, exploration, and returning to the source of what I love.
In my creative process, this is why I go analog. It’s the continual practice of decluttering. Decluttering the visual noise, the practice of being present, and finding joy in holding a brush, feeling the viscosity of paint, the texture of paper and canvas, the anatomy of type, the beauty of minimalism, the restoration of a page, and most importantly true as an artist.