Do Something New Every Day

Do Something New - Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Ok. I exaggerate, it doesn’t have to be something new every day. It can just be every week. Or maybe every month? I don’t know. Just try and do something new, is all I’m saying.

Today (as in 2 weeks ago, when I wrote this) I went to Dinderbeck Studios, here in Grand Rapids (GR), and took a 4 hour long workshop on screenprinting. Before the workshop, I had never heard of screenprinting, or any other forms of printing besides digital, to be honest. And it was so much fun learning something new.

Screenprinting is a fairly simple process. You just make the image, transfer it to the screen, then apply paint and transfer it to your paper, canvas or cloth of choice. Some people do t-shirts through this process.

It’s great for making hand-made prints. It offers you the chance to make several copies of that one print, but each print somewhat unique – or you can make it be. It will always have, at least when I’m doing it, mistakes or small flaws.

I think that’s part of the beauty of it. It’s not perfect, it’s not the same, each one is unique. Hand-crafted. It allows for the artist to be a part of the reproduction process – Marx would appreciate the ability it gives the artist to be closer in touch with the “means of reproduction.” Bye bye alienation.

The workshop was also just great to get to know some people from GR. There were 5 of us. We each worked on our own prints, but at the end we exchanged ours with each other! So I ended up getting some free art for my room.

Below you can check out the prints I worked on. They allowed us to come for another week after, during their open hours, for free.

But the reason I’m sharing this: it’s because it’s one of those “new experiences” that has helped me get pumped up for art again. New experiences change the pacing that you make art and your thought process opens up to new pathways. However, it doesn’t have to be a new art form that does this – although new art forms can be great – but really just about anything new does it. Open up your brain pores to creativity.

You can explore a part of your city you’ve never dared to go to. Or it could be going to a new city or country. It can be going to a new café, or starting a new type of project – like a blog! It can be to go to a new event. Or even to try and recreate one of your old pieces, under a new light. It can be to go be a reading mentor at middle school. Or to help at a homeless shelter.

Anything that gets you thinking in new ways. Step out of your comfort zone. I know. It’s cozy there. But just do it. It’s fun. Sometimes.

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Hope to see you soon! Or next week more precisely, at 10AM every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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When You Fear that You’re a Hypocrite

Can I Call Myself That? An Artist? - Quote

Today I read some of Rod Dreher’s beautifully written book, How Can Dante Save Your Life. The prose, the style, Dreher’s life, Dante’s life. You feel so connected to them. Everything seems to fit in their place. I was even reading it today at a high schooler’s graduation party. A couple friends and I went for a walk. And I couldn’t help but read instead of, well, socializing.

During the walk, we went to this small children’s park and got on the swings. I was able to finish a chapter there. When walking back to the house, I felt like a hypocrite.

I mean—since I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. Not an artist. That came later. What I wanted was to be a writer. Eventually I decided to be an artist because, well. I “had talent.” Or I guess other people believed in me. And grammar was hard.

When I finished reading the chapter from Dreher’s book, that childhood dream came back to me. I want to write. That was my dream. Am I hypocrite for saying that I’m an artist? Or for trying to be one?

I don’t know. But I think a lot of artists and writers have this notion that they have to be a “true” artist or writer to be called that. You have to get national awards, or make a living off of it. We see the titles of “artist” or “writer” like something to be deserved, merited.BlogQuote03_B

David Khalaf in his latest blog post wrote about how his dream of being a “writer” is now being put on the side. It’s heartbreaking to read the post. And he ends by questioning: “Am I writer? For a time I was. I hope I still am.”

And it brings me back to what I felt – like a hypocrite. I haven’t had any big breaks as an artist. I barely have a following on social media. I’m not complaining, I’m stating the facts. And being an artist wasn’t my dream as a kid. Can I call myself that? An artist?

I don’t know if I can. But what I do think is true, is that not knowing whether I’m an artist, a writer, a hobbyist, or just a kid searching for a place in this world, shouldn’t impede me from creating. Creating is beautiful, and a gift we should allow ourselves to enjoy.

Just because I don’t have the title, just because the identity makes me squirm—I feel like a tiny kid in adults’ clothing, trying to find my way amidst the excess cloth—that shouldn’t keep me from creating. Feeling like you don’t fit the title shouldn’t impede you from creating.