Are You Noticing?

As we shuffled through the crowds that swarmed the Van Gogh And The Seasons Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria a few days ago, two things struck me.

Firstly, how the masses flock to see the work of a world famous artist, whether its to their taste or not, to experience this story in both words and images, and then tell their own story of ‘being there’.

And then I wondered whether people were truly ‘being there’ in the moment. Were they really noticing the beauty of the artwork… the subject, story, meaning, composition, mood, brushstrokes, colours, shades, layers, patterns, textures and techniques?

Often we are too busy clicking a button to ‘capture moments’ on the surface, that we actually miss the beauty within the moments.

I wonder how much more we would notice and how much deeper our stories would go, if we truly and fully experienced the moment?

 

 

A Tale of Creativity

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How do you explain creativity to three year olds?

A little girl walks into the gallery and begins exploring. She discovered a car that had been transformed into a ball, a maze of mirrors, flowers that you can pick, a fountain sliding down the window, oh and some pretty big paintings that told interesting stories. She climbed the escalators, turned a corner and heard some unusual noises coming from a nearby room. Inside was a round pool of floating bowls, moving and chiming as they touched. She imagined swimming in there and making music too. She was curious to know how the bowls made such beautiful sounds. “I didn’t know bowls could make music!” she gasped excitedly. Her curiosity ran wild as she watched what was happening in the pool. How did it get there? How did the bowls float? After some time observing and questioning, she felt she understood enough to go home and create her own floating symphony ready for bath time.

Creativity is about exploring, learning and using your imagination to create things.

My audience this week was my youngest ever (3-4yr olds). Watching these curious little faces with their innocent questions and delightful contributions was a heart warming experience. My book on creativity is heading for the printers soon and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to share and test some of the concepts with these curious little people.

Do You Say ‘No’ Enough?

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When you’re asked to do something that prevents you from doing your best work, how often do you say “No, I’m sorry, but I won’t do that because…”?

I went to see the exhibition of Danish fashion designers Viktor & Rolf at the NGV a few days ago and was particularly interested in the stance they controversially took against the fashion industry and its crazy fast pace. They just wanted to do their best work.

“We love fashion, but it’s going so fast. We wanted to say ‘No’ this season.” said the designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren to a  group of devoted fans and curious reporters. Their statement was expressed on the runway with a model wearing a grey trench-coat with ‘No’ incorporated into the design of the garment.

What would happen if you said ‘No’ more often when being asked to do things that prevent you from doing your best work?

You may lose a fan, project or client, perhaps shake things up a little within your industry, but are you throwing your souls to the wind if you don’t? The people that respect what you do will stand by you, find you and encourage you. They’re the ones that matter.

You can either focus on doing your best work, becoming known and respected for this, or do whatever is thrown your way, get lost in the crowd and be discontent in your work.

There’s always a choice.  Where will ‘No’ take you?

Something Wonderful

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The amble back from the post office today was like no other hugging this beauty.

Oh Seth, you’ve done it again. Shipped something wonderful. A waft of fresh ink, a weight of wise words (all 17 pounds), an abundance of powerful visuals, a heart thumping with delight… I shall begin to devour this magnificent titan of a book.

Thank you Seth Godin.

Creativity and The Local Market

The local market can be a culturally diverse and creative place. It not only provides goods and services that you may want or need, but it’s also an opportunity to experience something interesting, engaging and enjoyable.

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The South Melbourne Market also houses SO:ME, a space for both emerging designers and established brands. Whichever end of the spectrum, it’s an opportunity to raise brand awareness locally but also gives the smaller businesses a chance to dip a toe in the water before taking on the world.

All senses are firing when visiting this market. Whether you’re on the hunt for specific local or exotic ingredients, a good coffee, a cool new bike, a touch of grooming… or a treat for your pet dog, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for, and more.

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If you keep your eyes peeled, there’s also plenty of hidden surprises. One being some beautiful wall art by renowned local female, stencil and street artist, Vexta. And after venturing to the other side of the market, a painting amongst the veggie stalls by Australian still life painter Chris Beaumont, as part of the signage for Georgie’s Harvest (selling “all that’s good from the ground”).

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While admiring this impressive painting of characterful market vegetables, I was approached by a welcoming Georgie herself who asked if I new the artist before then enthusiastically launching into the story of how the painting came about. Georgie then proudly talked about her brand identity, which was created by Andrew Ashton, who also designed the branding for The Pet Grocer (also within the market) and a wealth of other recognized creative projects.

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The market tells a wonderfully dynamic story. The people under its roof are passionate, creative and remarkable. No matter what you’re there for, you’re guaranteed to be entertained and come away with more than you’d expected. I guess that’s why this place is so popular, on a Wednesday morning, and the packed car park was proof of that too.

There’s heaps to learn from what works, what people fall in love with, and what they come back to experience, over and over again.

Our Gift of Imagination

On a Tuesday evening, at The School of Life, surrounded by twenty strangers and cartoonist/illustrator Oslo Davis, I gave myself a window to let go and use my imagination…

Everyone in the room had given themselves two hours to listen, be inspired, challenged, and get creative (with words and pictures). To begin with, you could tell that most of the room felt uncomfortable with expressing their creativity around others. But regardless, everyone had clearly rocked up with a “why not give it a go” attitude. The awkward beginning soon turned into laughter, sharing, talking and flowing ideas.

Some interesting thoughts…

Simplicity is forced upon us when we have to think fast. Draw an object in 15 seconds (and see if someone else gets it).

Pictures can be powerful and funny without relying on words. Communicate an idea simply through a drawing (and see if someone else gets it).

Imagination is our gift to use however, and whenever, we want. Create the most absurd scenario and make yourself laugh (and see if others do too).

How often do you give yourself ‘windows of imagination’, an opportunity to express your creativity and have some fun? No matter who you are, or what you do for a living, everyone has the ability to imagine.

Whether you use your gift of imagination or not is your choice.