Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Creativity Run Wild: Permission to make crap

One of the most important lessons I learned from my drawing teacher, Phil Sylvester, was the importance of giving ourselves permission to make crap. He always talks about Picasso when he's giving this lecture. How Picasso made tons of crap all through his career. Of course, he got so famous that people paid a lot of money for that crappy work if he signed it and he was most generous about signing it.

If you're not willing to make crap, Phil says, then you're stuck with pretty and precious. And while that may be satisfying for a while, it's not a very long while and it's not very satisfying as we tend to just make the safe things, which is about product and not as much about creative self-expression.

Recently I was painting a landscape with pastels and tried an experiment with deep purples and blues in the sky. It seemed like a good idea at the time and they were all lovely colors, but when I got up and stepped back, I didn't much like it. I was tempted to stop and start over on a clean piece of paper. Instead, I just kept going, trying various things with the trees and the rod and the foliage.
Did it turn out well? Not so great. But it's interesting. And I learned a lot in the doing of it and painting is always fun for me, no matter what.

So give yourself permission to make crap. Something new and interesting might come of it.