Let’s remember what creativity really is: to make connections and see relationships were others haven’t. When we use creativity, it is usually using a process. We need a solution for a problem (may it be a painting, a design, whatever). To get there, you can go through a number of steps in which you recognise the problem, look for references, collect ideas, etc.
One of the methods to come up with solutions or creative ideas is …. (guess it…) EXPERIMENTATION! (that’s right, you knew it!) And it’s what I consider the funniest part of the process. Kind of difficult, not too serious, blurred rules… But the most rewarding and playful part. That’s why I needed to write this post: it’s not always easy to accept that you need time to go through the experimenting phase.
7 Reasons to do experiment in your creative process
1- To practice creativity and become better at it
We can’t think that we already are at the top of our abilities and just keep doing the same again and again. Experimenting will stretch your creative muscles and skills to reach new heights. Also, creativity is about making connections, and the only way to get better at it is practicing. You’ll get used at doing it and sooner you’ll be getting more original ideas.
2- To find new ways to express yourself
We have a medium in which we are comfortable, we have a style that defines us and topics we like to talk about. Well, that’s ok and right but, what about adding something else? Our works may be new and top (or not) at some point, but that doesn’t mean they can change. Maybe one day you’ll need to make them different. Just for you, nor for your audience. Or maybe you feel something is missing. Experimenting will allow you to keep growing and finding those things to add ( or subtract) and will give you new tools or expand your comfort zone, so your goals could grow too.
3- Discover styles or techniques that fit you
When you have to experiment, you have to try new things. And you have to do some research to find those. You’ll come up with new information, medium, materials and exciting possibilities. You may even try new arts, hobbies and crafts that could help you in your current creative problems. You’ll find out about other artists and inspirations too that can help you see your work under another light. Remember that a style is never fully defined and finished.
4 – Find out new things to blend into your work
Experimenting could be part of a travel. Or maybe just a trip downstairs into the closet of the forgotten stuff. Stories are part of our lives and can live through the work we do. When we live new adventures, they can become part of the solution.
5 – Have fun for the sake of it
No explanation needed. Enjoy it? Then do it!
6 – Become the next trend
Ok, this is not 100% realistic. Not because you experiment you’ll become popular. But maybe you will. Better experiment and be yourself than to spend the rest of your life just copying those who are popular.
7- Differentiate yourself from the competition
As I was saying, not to go with the fashion can make you different, and at some point, some people will get tired of trends… And you’ll be shining in your corner of rarity. Be ready to sing your song.
Now that you know how good can it be for you to incorporate experimenting into your creative process, let’s find some ways to convince yourself (or others) that what you’re doing is for the best.
How to go about it – experimenting in your problem-solving process:
1- Write an artist statement about it
Artist statements help the audience to understand why an artwork exists and which ideas, feelings or concepts is build from. If your experiments are going to be in plein air you may consider to mention what is their function in the series of artworks, why you do it and what that brings to your work.
2- Justify with reasonable arguments
You may not need to write an artist statement but just tell others and yourself why you are doing it. Just choose one of my 7 points and elaborate with your own words.
3- Relate it to an evolution of yourself
What happens inside, happens outside. If your are in a moment of your life when things are changing and you are evolving it won’t sound bad to link experimenting in your creative process with your own inner progress. You are learning about yourself, and before arriving to clear statements, you’ll need to try a bit of this and that.
4- Link to events happening around you, in the world
Sometimes it’s the outside that calls us to action or change. You can experiment in order to become more socially or environmentally conscious, to create awareness around a topic or to be of help to those around. New problems call for new solutions, and you’re seeking them.
5- Make it part of a series
You can design your own challenge and experiment in order to complete it. For example, I did one that consisted in painting a wave everyday. It didn’t matter the medium nor the final product. Doing projects like these, you can create more artwork, more defined series and learn a lot.
6- Use it for a personal or self-initiated project
Related to the one before, but this could be just one thing. You may decide that you want to incorporate pattern t-shirts in your shop. So you need to learn how to make patterns and which ones work best. This can very useful and productive, because you are learning and experimenting but you’re also using all that material in a meaningful way for your business.
7- Use it to promote yourself along with a shared event
This is another strategy to use your experiments in your business. Now that Christmas is coming, you may want to play around that theme in your unique way… and share it all over social media. Sure that will be noticed by people and reshared! Any event can be an excuse to experiment and make some work that will take you and your work a step further… and maybe closer to your ideal audience. So it deserves a shot, doesn’t it? 😉
· How do you keep your creativity on shape?
· What do you want to experiment with? Have you done any of the above?
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