How Mobile Creativity (re)Inspired Me
Do you ever get to a point where you’re feeling uninspired, in a rut or generally, well, slumpy? (A highly technical term, I know. Also, I may have made it up. Shhhh.) Anyway! I know the feeling – intimately. I believe that artists and creatives can experience this periodically, maybe even cyclically, when they’ve kind of been plugging along consistently over time… and I think it’s even more common in this age of social media and sharing where we get into a routine of posting posting posting, especially if we start feeling pressured (by our peers or just by some kind of internal need) to meet the “demand of the audience.” In my most recent “slumpy-time,” I found a way to re-inspire myself with my phone – mobile creativity helped me refocus and gain perspective.
At the end of 2014 I was feeling definitively slumpy. In the time period leading up to that feeling, I’d walked through some stressful, emotional things and dealt with some rejections that made me re-evaluate why I even make art and also to ask myself something like, “Is what I create just pure crap?” (By the way, if you find yourself asking this same question, it’s a sign that you’re totally slumpy and you’re also probably being a total jerk to yourself, so stop it, okay?) The answer to the second question, if you haven’t already guessed, was NO… and for me, that’s mostly because of the answer to the first question. I decided, as I considered all of this, that I wanted to really re-focus on why I make art, and I needed to find some way to inspire myself to get that focus back.
So, why do I make art? I don’t make art for money, or to impress, or to gain Instagram followers or Facebook likes, or be better than anyone else – I have no desire to compete with anyone other than the person I was yesterday. I make art to understand and express what is inside of me and to connect with the world and the people in it by showing them what I see, think, and feel. Reminding myself of that consciously was really important; I wanted to get back to feeling that all the time, instead of feeling SLUMPY! In order to really bring it back to center for me, I needed to focus on that pure drive again that I knew was still inside of me, waiting.
I let the year run out and just let these thoughts simmer and flourish inside as 2014 drew to a close. As often happens for me, an idea started to form from all of these non-slumpy simmerings and I felt motivated to start something new, something inspiring! So, at the beginning of 2015 I started making a piece of heartfelt art every day – poetry and an image that went together – and had to be created entirely in my phone (capture, edit, writing, sharing). Why my phone? What’s the big deal about that? Well, I figured this would keep me in the moment so much more than my other capture/create workflows, and help me focus on what has always been really important to me – feeling, expression.
I don’t make art because of money or attention – those can come along with it, but they are secondary bonuses when they happen. I love my camera and I love processing in Lightroom and Photoshop, etc… but those things separate me, often, from the very first moment of capture/creation. Those things separate me from the emotion with an image that I was moved to create by what happens when something inside me and something outside of me collide powerfully. This moment of emotive creation is a merging of internal and external awareness that turns into something I can share with others if I stay ready to do that. By using only my phone, I was staying closer to that moment, and my art felt more pure and focused again. It was a really, really good feeling! SO UNSLUMPY.
My friends and followers came along with me on this journey because I made sharing immediately (also great about being right in my phone) a part of this process. Some of them really seemed moved by what I was putting out there, consistently, with this project. I received many comments and messages from people who were touched by my words and images, who had something inside of them flicker and glow because I shared what was burning inside of me! That is a powerfully enriching and fulfilling thing; this kind of connection and evoking of emotion in others is essential to why I make art. It’s something you just can’t understand if you don’t share your heart with the world (which you should TOTALLY DO).
I did this for about 6 months or so, every day. It was an amazing experience. I created a large amount of what I consider pure art that I really love and made a lot of emotional connections with others. I was so freaking inspired by throwing my heart at the world, every. damn. day.
Recently, I was contacted by PicsArt, a quirky, tool-packed photo editing and sharing app with its own thriving community built right in. They wanted to see if I’d be willing to put together a sponsored post about using their app to make something that inspires you. Well, slap my face and call my Judy! Or don’t – I don’t really like that name much (sorry to all the Judies) and I really dislike pain on my face. What I’m saying is, it was a lovely coincidence because that was one of a handful of apps I relied on regularly to make my “in-phone art creation” project work so well – after all, I needed the tools to make what I shared as beautiful and complex as what I felt inside. The PicsArt app (which you can get here) was one that I considered invaluable during that process. The prompt they suggested when we were talking about doing this post was perfect: it made my heart and mind catapult back to this journey of focus on the reason for my art, the point of which was to help me be inspired again.
When I first started using PicsArt, it was because a super awesome friend of mine (who works for them now) recommended it to me – I’d never heard of it before, and was actually really surprised at all the tools it held. I am now kind of addicted to the lens flare tool in a way that makes me itch if I haven’t put a lens flare on something in awhile. Pretty much anything you’d want to do to a photo is possible with PicsArt: all the usual photo editing adjustments for light and color, crazy cool tools to add motion and blur, masking tools (!), filters, clipart (shut up, it’s awesome – I can make butterflies come out of my ear with that app) and more. I didn’t even know it existed until late 2014, but suddenly it’s this little gem sitting in my photo editing folder on my phone.
All of the images I’ve shared in this post were a part of my project – and they were all created using PicsArt. I continue to use it – and it continues to improve with new tools and functions to delight as time goes by. It is truly a treasure.
I’ve been wanting to share the story of why I did my phone photography/poetry project for some time now, and this was the perfect opportunity to do it. What I really want you to take away from this is that it’s OKAY to feel SLUMPY sometimes. You are NOT A FAILURE.
Everything you need to start a spark that will inspire you is inside of you – when you’re ready to unslump, just reach in there and ask yourself, “What is really important to me?” and then reach for the necessary tools and get your focus back.
You can do it – I promise.
Are you on an inspiring journey, feeling slumpy, or somewhere inbetween? I would love to hear about where you are right. now. After all, great things happen when the simmerings inside of each of us smash into one another, too. <3