Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Update: Collage Degree

Isn’t my title clever this week? It’s a play on words. I’m talking about the art form known as collage. You remember it from elementary school classes…sticking magazine pictures to construction paper with good old Elmers or rubber glue. Good times.

But as I work through The Artist’s Way, a book about reviving and increasing your creative flow, one of this week’s assignments was to do a collage. It would be great fun to do this if I had a ton of magazines to chop up. But I don’t. And it would cost too much to buy enough magazines to do a collage in earnest.

So I settled for the next best thing: I went to the local library, pulled six very different magazines off the shelf, and flipped through them for 45 minutes, jotting down anything that caught my eye.

The point of the collage exercise is to take 20-30 minutes to de-stress and refocus so you can tap into your creative energies and a flow of new ideas. Flipping through magazines definitely does this for me. I was very relaxed after the exercise, more alert and aware.

It would take too long to list everything I wrote down (47 different things…that’s one thing a minute that I found appealing). But I’ll list some of the more eclectic items to give you an overview of my brain. For those of you who are bold enough to read it, here you go:

Pirates, sun, ocean, pinks and oranges and yellows, pasta, flowing movement, walnuts, trees, hummingbird feeders that look like Jolly Ranchers candies, the bad boy (a Chanel ad), Spain, Lady Macbeth, Egyptian columns, a jumping and smiling model with an umbrella, and a Japanese punk duo dressed like refugees from Madonna’s early years, with demented frowning goth Hello Kitty items completing their outfits.

All in all, it was a great exercise. I realized that I love things that are a mash-up of two unrelated items. I love offbeat humor. I love a riot of colors. I love all things Asian. I love dark-haired men. I love trees and the colors of trees. I love sunsets and the color of sunsets.

I realized that Discover, the science magazine, has a lot of pictures that are very artistic, and I like them. I like them much more than Everyday Living with Rachael Ray, which is an extremely boring magazine I’d never read again.

On my way home from the library, I was still in art mode. I noticed a car behind me that looked like it had been painted with black matte paint and spray-painted with swirling pink and blue graffiti on the hood. But it was so artfully done, it had to have been done on purpose.

Taking time to relax and do something that recharges your batteries will help you be more aware of your world and more creative, however you use that creativity. Maybe magazines won’t do it for you, but something else will. Find what works for you, and treat yourself to doing it regularly. You will be glad you did. And your art and life will be the better for it.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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