One of the things that I want to “be” in 2015 is creating, and as I expressed in an earlier post, There is More to Be Discovered, that involves letting go of my fear that my creations won’t be perfect. I have to be okay with the fact that as I start creating things they will be imperfect and, to be honest, most likely kind of ugly. That is a part of the process, but if you never start, and it only exists in your head, then you will never move forward or grow.
One way to approach this is by creating every day – no matter how big or small. Creativity is a muscle that needs to be strengthened, and this only happens through doing.
Enter Angela Craven.
I met Angela while attending a Denver Startup Week event and through our conversation discovered that each of us had lived in Brooklyn and moved to Denver. When I told her a bit about Chapter Be, I learned that while her day job was working as an experience designer, her true love was being an abstract painter.
Angela moved to New York with the hopes of being an artist, but in order to make rent she worked three jobs, which left very little time to create. So she ended up taking a full-time job at an arts public relations company where she became the Project Manager for the CEO and eventually moved into the digital department. She realized that she still was not able to work on her art in the way that she wished to, so she got a studio in Greenpoint. For a year she went to her studio every Tuesday and Thursday night and on Saturdays, but over that time was only able to produce one painting.
She made the decision to move back to her native Colorado in the fall of 2011, after a major neck spasm that was a result of stress and a realization that the city would not allow her to create in the way that she wanted. The Paris Review Interviews, a collection of interviews with great writers where they talk about their process as well as what helps and hinders them, aided her in realizing that most successful artists are those who construct discipline, rituals and a space to create. She hoped that a change of environment would help her with all three.
It took a year of getting settled into a new life in Denver, but in the fall of 2012 she made the decision to commit to a 365 Day Art Project for 2013-2014. She had a whole box of old business cards, which she painted over and used as her canvas. The size was perfect, as it felt approachable and not too overwhelming. Each daily creation was posted on her blog as well as on Instagram and Facebook. Her decision to make it public was a way to hold her accountable, which kept her motivated on the days that were a bit more challenging. After the year of creation, she reflected about the project on her blog:
When we spoke almost a year later, she expressed that the project gave her a real sense of accomplishment and taught her how to not get stuck in the same place for too long. It reinforced the message of “just doing it,” forced her to let go of her perfectionism and encouraged her to “get over myself.” As a result, she sold some of her pieces as prints, which in turn helped her feel as though she was making steps toward her dream of being a working artist.
Angela started a second 365 day project in 2014 but decided to stop it when she realized that she jumped into a new project before she was ready. It felt forced and that was the opposite of her intention. But…starting tomorrow, January 1, 2015, she will embark on 365 Days of Art Part Three: Arting and Writing in 2015. This project will “continue where I left off in 2013 with the exact same pieces, this time adding text alongside them.” You can follow her journey on Facebook, Instagram, her blog, and Twitter – as well as by the hashtags #angelacravenart and #365art.
Even better – let it inspire you to create your own 365 day project. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that you create a piece of art each day, but can be 365 days of whatever you want to practice or create a ritual around. As Angela pointed out when we spoke, “[a 365 day project] makes you think about how little you need to do something to make a change.” The best part of a 365 day project is that it doesn’t matter when you start. Your 365 day project can start whenever you’d like.
With Angela as my inspiration, I have decided to join her in a 365 day project by picking a “be” mantra for the day – one that I have created or one that inspires me – sketch it and, most importantly, let it be my guide for that day. My hope is that it will give me an arsenal to tap into, create a meditation habit and establish a foundation of positive thinking. You can follow along on my Instagram and with the hashtag #365justbe.
If you do decide to create your own project, please share your idea in the comment section below – I’d love to hear about them!
Here’s to a wonderful year of creating and being!
*Images via Angela Craven