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The 5 Point Manifesto For Trying Something New (For Bad Ass Creatives)

graphic artwork of the word try overlaid many times in repetition


It's time. Time to try something new. And by doing this I mean having a little hint of defiance aimed at your self-identity as an artist. If you really want to learn at an exponential level you have to take risks and this is really no different. 


I urge you to take a look at what you are making and question how would you like to make something different.  This isn't about experimentation. This is about really trying, risking discomfort and failure in order to learn and grow. Like Bilbo Baggins we can get stuck in our ways, and resistant to change. Comfort wins when we make the same work without pushing or exploring into the dark and fearful nooks and crannies of our creativity. 


It's your mission if you choose to accept it. The time may not be right ---but that might mean that it's actually perfect. Or bookmark this post for the time when it will be right for you to reach further - for that next thing. Here's a manifesto for moving forward:


1. Be Positive

Especially after the comfort of working in a way that you have grown used to this new way may bring up some negative feelings in comparison, "What am I doing?",  "What am I thinking?",  "This sucks!"  Etcetera. You have to forge a metaphorical shield of positivity to help neutralize these thoughts and feelings. In fact it's best to cultivate a little bit of a non-judgemental attitude at first - nothing is good or bad - it just is. Let it happen and then make adjustments later.


2. But Also Be Critical

Once you have worked your way into creating your new piece and there is some actual substance happening take moments to step back and analyze the details - is that colour right or should you adjust it? What if you move that line and inch higher - will it help the composition? These are the types of questions you will ask yourself when you are thinking critically about what you are you can see they are much more constructive than "I like it" or "I don't like it". And guess what? It is ten times easier to use black and white thinking than critical thinking. If you have trouble adjusting to critical thinking you can use the model of asking yourself: "Ok, so I like/don't like this piece, what exactly is it that I like/don't like and WHY". Try writing it down. Make a list. 


3. Expect The Worst

Be prepared for the worst. Like a super hero expecting the force of a blow - grit your teeth and prepare for a downfall that may or may not come. Each medium has it's limitations and if you end up with a muddy mess on your canvas you may need to discard and start again. It's good to think about  the worst outcome because generally it's not that scarey....I mean we aren't brain surgeons, there's no risk of leaving the sponge in!


4. Hope For The Best

Hope is so important in the process of creating new work. Without this element it's harder to see what is working and why. Hope is like a bridge in this situation. It's the only way to get from where you are to where you want to be with the work you have set out to undertake. That positive energy will come in handy here and visualizing the goal as much as possible will be a tremedous asset.


5. Recognizing Victory

If it doesn't feel finished, it's not finished. On the other hand if you step back and take a look at the work with all your critical thinking ready for use and you find nothing wanting in the work then you might just be finished. How do you feel about the work now? If your feelings are only lukewarm then give it a little time - a week or so. Maybe show it to some people who have been supportive of your vision and see if they have anything to say - this will feel odd since you may feel that the work is so different from what you usually do but give it a shot. When you feel excited by what you have created and can see possible directions for new pieces then you are the creative victor!

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About the author

Artist in residence Rebecca Chaperon

Rebecca Chaperon is our Artist-in-Residence

With a compulsion to create unique visual stories, her paintings often follow the thread of a heroine's misadventures through a surreal landscape.

She's had the pleasure of teaching at Langara College and given community workshops on painting techniques with an emphasis on watercolour, oil and acrylic. She is a board member at the Grunt gallery.

View her online portfolio

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