March 12th, 2013
I have an ongoing fear that I have a Salieri Complex. It started when I was an undergrad: I feared that I, like the character of Antonio Salieri in the movie Amadeus, was destined to know, appreciate, and love good work but not be able to create it myself. I still often feel like Sisyphus working against myself instead of a giant boulder.
I can simultaneously poke fun at and have fun during the creative process while respecting my craft. I can do serious work while allowing myself to get silly. Most of all, I can enjoy rather than agonize over the process.
March 10th, 2013
I am going to be sad when this class is over, as crazy as I feel right now. I really like the dynamics, and I love this process of focusing on these explorations. This quarter has been constructive and amazing for me with all that I am doing and experiencing in life. It is also my sanity that I need outside of work.
March 1st, 2013
My creative process is simultaneously organized and chaotic. My lists and notes and diagrams are attempts at wrangling my ideas. I strive to achieve my design goals by doing. If I do not know what to do, I just do. That may mean sketching or writing or taking a walk. I simply must move toward the destination.
My creative activities are indeed leading toward a moment of disruptive wonder because I am allowing myself to play, and I am allowing myself to languidly research. It is one of my favorite parts of creative development, and instead of fighting it, I have allowed myself to enjoy it. I get off topic. I get lost in research, but it is bringing me to other ideas. (And a nifty Etsy purchase too.)
I came up with one of my concepts for Exploration B while washing my hands in the bathroom at work. I sheepishly apologized to the coworker next to me because I had lost all concept save for my idea and thusly had not heard a word she had said. It came to me fully formed and visually. I could feel it in my chest. At last, my daemon was visiting. Thanks, Elizabeth Gilbert, for giving me a fun way to interact with my creative process.
February 24th, 2013
When I worked for agencies, I was uncomfortable with some of the clients. When I worked for the creative department of a credit company, I could not resolve that I was sitting through meetings that were creating ways to put people into debt. (We were creating opportunities for under-represented markets to obtain credit, as the team leaders would stress.) On my way into work one day, I heard an interview with Tavis Smiley as he was leaving NPR. He said, “There is no dichotomy between what you do and you believe. You must always do what you believe.” I chose to leave my job for a publications department of a government agency that paid less in salary but more in conscientiousness.
Interestingly, I am not at all religious, but I am very focused on ethics and morality. Sometimes, I feel that I am more focused on these issues than those who are devout. For example, I have a peer who is a very devout Christian who is active in church and practices overtly. For example, he excuses himself to say grace in restaurants. He chooses to work as an Art Director for an organization that promotes and facilitates the use of tobacco. While that is comfortable to him, working in that position is not within my moral code.
Of further interest—and a shock to me after moving to the southeast after living in the northeast where I perceived that the subject of religion is a purely personal matter—I have been addressed in the workplace and design community in Richmond, VA about my lack of religious affiliation and conviction, specifically Christianity. Never mind that this is completely inappropriate, it has in part revealed to me that people wholly equate values with religion. That is simply not true.
February 16th, 2013
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
Disruptive wonder, as described by Kelli Anderson in the video “Kelli Anderson: Disruptive Wonder for a Change” instigates our inner child. Children will always use objects as they are not intended. (My mother constantly told me “glue is for sticking not for drawing,” for example. Funnily, my BFA painting work was full of glue used in myriad ways.) Once we are broken of this creative play, we don’t really go back to it. We have to learn, as Picasso implies, to become a child again.
While the notion is not new to me, the terminology “disruptive wonder” is—I am open to creating disruptive wonder, for encouraging it in the creative process results in the extraordinary artifact and process.
Anderson’s work is a testament to this: her novel approach, however, is successful because she is grounded in tradition. She pushes the limits of materials or venues, for example, but her layout and typography reveal her traditional training and understanding of graphic design.
There is a relationship between the idea of disruptive wonder, of play, of thinking wrong, of taking chances and the essence of graphic design. At the cleavage of tradition and learning and disruptive wonder there is a sweet spot. Beginning with the creative process and carrying through to the artifacts and outcomes, the boundaries are available to push, reinterpret, bend, and sometimes break. Once we learn the parameters, we have something to work against and rework—everyone needs an opposing force, after all.
February 10th, 2013
Exploration A was a process of re-working my heuristic biases and learning to trust myself. It was also a process of fighting with (and ultimately taking a beating from) my desire to fit all of my ideas into a single project. I get excited and want to do it all. In many ways, school is a catalyst that brings this trait out in me because it is an opportunity of freedom, risk-taking, and interaction with like-minded and talented peers who share my passions.
My moments of success with the process were those of ideation and interaction with the other designers. I enjoyed the exploration’s opportunities to map and research and wrangle with ideas through sketching and concept.
What I was missing was a healthy dose of realism about time constraint. I spent far too long on writing (which tends to go more slowly for me), which shortened my time to design. By the time I allowed myself to really design and redesign and self-edit, I had become overwhelmed and did not have enough time to really refine and struggle with creation.
February 7th, 2013
When I create something, it often feels like I am giving a piece of myself, which can be painful if it is rejected or criticized. I went through a tough BFA program that gave me a thick skin and made me courageous, so I think I feel fear based in preciousness a lot less now. However, how I am treated shapes my concern and passion for the piece that I am working on.
This course has a strongly verbal and considerate group of students who are truthful and empathetic, so I am flourishing because of the interaction. My process has been challenged by my own shortcomings in realistic aspiration—my ideas are larger than my time constraints.
During this process, I have brushed up against “elusive inspiration” but did more wrestling with my daemon than receiving laurels from muses. That reminds me of I liked about Lehrer’s video clip: his voicing the struggle component of the process. Not only is that portion of my process greatly underrepresented, it is one of my most productive parts of my process. It is one that I have a love/hate relationship with.
There is a lot written and discussed about how to get past struggle or blocks. (My friend has a book that I am actually in about getting unstuck. It’s a great book, but I feel like it does not apply to me.) There is far less about how that struggle is important for the process. My daemon is all about the wrestling and not so much about the divine gifting, the little bastard.
I think this ties in with Elizabeth Gilbert’s theory that we need to “show up and do your job, regardless”—which is what I am doing when I am struggling by surging ahead with the process without focusing on the outcome. Showing up does not mean I am entitled to anything: I am given a chance at the process and the journey, and the payoff is this experience with a secondary product.
February 3rd, 2013
I am beyond excited about this project. I have woken up from a deep sleep thinking about it. I am constantly brainstorming and researching for it. I really think that it could be a great idea. I am so, so excited, but it is not the productive type of excitement.
It’s the type of excitement that makes me pace and move things about. I feel anxious. I am in a frenzied state, the part of my heuristic bias that I would like to change. I don’t know if I am being contacted by my creative genius or daemon or muse, but he/she/it is a pain in the ass and a poor house guest.
My most productive moments have been explaining to others and hearing whether or not they are understanding what I am talking about. Also, reviewing my peers’ work has composed me and made me think about my own process as they think about and describe theirs. Doing research for a paper for another class also refocused my brain, made me stand back and refocus.
I am extremely nervous to show my peers my “uglies” because I admire their work and sketches. Oh, the sketches! Nupur and Will had sketches that were absolutely gorgeous. I have chicken scratch that probably only makes sense to me, slapped out while my brain works faster than my hand. They are good evidence of my sketchy process that I am in the middle of right now, my excitement and rather unnecessary suffering that we discussed this week in Unit 4.
January 28th, 2013
I have been thinking wrong. Exploration A is all backwards, with the ideas and brainstorming coming before the opportunity, audience, and customer. I feel a bit like I have put my cart before the horse. This feels more like art than design. I like it.
This process has been much more similar to creating art than my heuristic biases for design. I have a fine art background with a BFA painting, and I often blur the lines between design and art. They are two facets of the same stone.
This week, however, I have felt absolutely no difference between the two. It is refreshing and such good time. I really enjoyed my map making, though I ran out of time. I wanted to do so much more illustrative work on it, but the process was enjoyable and enlightening.
I also appreciated working with Will. He is a smart and amusing designer, and I felt like I could have spoken with him much longer. It made me long for closer proximity to my classmates, since I would have loved to have hung out over coffee on this project.
January 26th, 2013
I believe that I have been “thinking wrong” and confronting my heuristic biases in this exercise by starting in medias res with brainstorming and mapping coming before the brief, so to speak. Ordinarily, I have a need that requires a solution before I enter into the research/brainstorming/mapping process. This has impacted my process of exploration because my imagination can go further. I have no reality or concentration point to refer back to. To evolve from process to, essentially, the beginning is freeing and a bit like a Rorschach test. Here is a bunch of stuff: what can I pull out of it?
Because I am in school, I have the freedom to “think wrong” and take chances, something that is somewhat difficult to do because of my professional work process. I have no brand management or defined audience or political concerns. I have no arbitrary, exterior, personal design preferences or branding/design guidelines to consider. It’s anarchy! Really, it is much more fun to design this way.