Stick A Pin In It (Pinterest)

Today’s post, dear readers is all about keeping track of your scrapbook in a digital age, or as I like to call it…

Everything you wanted to know about Pinterest, but didn’t know you wanted to know, in a thousand words or less.

Way way back in roughly 1500 BC, somewhere in Mesopotamia, the tool we commonly call scissors was invented. Scissors are used for a number of reasons, from agriculture and animal husbandry, to food preparation, to body grooming, to metalwork, to medical work, to clothes making.

We don’t even realize how often we use them in our lives, because they have been around and integral to all kinds of cultural activities.

If we fast forward to westernized culture from the 20th century, people were scrapbooking interesting pictures of their dream house, that wedding dress they wanted to hand-make, all of the chili recipes they could get their hands on, a group of furniture pieces collaged together that a future living room would feature, lists of exercises, movie ticket stubs, travel photos, articles about Clint Eastwood and Helen Mirren, you name it, people saved it in a book.

Then the age of computers rolled around, and we went from storing paper, to saving images. We all did it. There was a folder labelled Photos, another labelled Photos 2, Nice photos, Brad’s images, and Family Trip ’03. But even that phase of saving images was not destined to be a force majeure for long.

Eventually social media started to develop and digital connectivity pushed forward to allow for new ways of sharing information. Especially images. That was 6 years ago.

Then one day in March of 2010, a new website launched which was touted as a way to save images and categorize them on boards. The website also allowed users to share boards, and save others content in their own boards. And best of all it was free to use.

Pinterest is a rather elegant and simple solution for something which we’ve been doing for generations, but now we have the ability to make our scrapbooks shareable and even use them for digital storefronts of our brands and products. Recently CEO Ben Silbermann has identified the web and mobile app as a catalog of ideas. Which as we all know, appeals to me greatly.

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This article by Wired probably says it best, but I think this section of the article is particularly important in understanding what Pinterest does so well.

It’s a quiet overachiever. The social service offers a clean, efficient interface where people can save images or discover new ones… But subtle is its own strategy. Beneath the surface, the company has made significant changes. Silbermann believes they can help transform the digital pinboard he and cofounders Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra invented into the dominant global visual search engine. He thinks they will drive new people to try Pinterest and spend more time on it. “We’re trying to build a catalog of ideas for the entire world,” he says. “It’s only as good as the diversity of ideas inside it.”

Pinterest Basics

Pinterest is very simple while being intuitive and allows you to choose how much of an investment you are willing to put forward. It is infinitely customizable, but rather than waxing poetic, why don’t I get technical for you friends?

1. Sign Up. When you sign up can choose to link either your Facebook or Twitter account. This is mostly to help you find an existing network of contacts to follow, and who can follow you back,

2. Your Profile I highly recommend creating a username that either aligns with your existing accounts AND/OR with your company name. You should also consider using the same photo as well from other accounts too.

3. Your Settings. Spend some time messing with the email notifications and decide whether you’ll receive emails for likes, comments or repins. I would also recommend installing the Pin It button so that you can add content anywhere and anytime to Pinterest.

 

4. Adding Pins. This is pretty straightforward, but you can either save a pin from Pinterest or if you are on another website you have the option to pin images when you hover over them. Some browswers like Chrome has a Pinterest button at the top of the page which groups all of the images on a webpage for you to choose from. Once you’ve saved a pin, you can choose a board to pin it to and also write some info about the pin.

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5. Adding Boards. Almost as easy as adding a pin. Depending if you come from your profile or elsewhere on the internet, you can either click the “Create a board” or “+” buttons. I recommend giving your board a clear name so that your followers know what they are getting themselves into when they check it out. You can also add other pinners to your boards, and even decide if these boards are private or for public consumption.

 

6. Like & Comment. This is useful when you like content, but don’t want to pin it. This way, the pinner gets some feedback and you can carry on.

7. Uploading Pins. This is specifically for your own content. Click the “+” button and follow the directions to add from a URL or via direct upload.

My Pinterest Account

Last but not least, I’ve started my own Pinterest account to share art I make with you, music and movies I review, and content I think you should be absorbing. I’ll keep working to make better and more frequent use of the account. But I think this is a good place to start. https://www.pinterest.com/timotheories/

What do you think folks? Did you learn something about Pinterest? I hope you take the time to set up your account because no matter what kind of artist you are, there is value to be had in using a digital catalog of ideas. But that’s just a theory.

Tim!

… Son of A (Catalogue Your Artwork, Please)

You know what one thing I hate more than so many other things in the world is?

The boring-ass menial labour involved in executing administration, no matter WHAT kind I am tackling and how it relates to my life.

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Now hate is a strong word, and I generally don’t subscribe to hate in other areas of my life, because it’s the path to the dark side – plus it’s incredibly toxic for your mental health. But it really is a bitch to do certain types of simple and tedious planning & execution, well, for me anyway. But I know that a lot of other creative types struggle with it as well. Especially when we already know what needs to happen, and just don’t want to do it.

That’s kind of what cataloguing my art work feels like. One gigantic painful never-ending process of taking pictures, uploading files, labelling said files, and then storing them somewhere (usually an external hard drive)

Interestingly enough, I’ve already done a pretty good job of it over the years, which is the biggest hurdle, in truth. Getting a system in place – coming up with names for each piece, the dimensions, material used, and the year (sometimes even the month) the work was completed. That’s the first step to a successful inventory.

But in order for that to happen, you have to do one of two things…

  • Take photos of everything shortly after completion and then label accordingly on the file name OR
  • Make notes on the back of the work immediately (year, medium, title), for when you CAN get around to photography

Remember that post I wrote last week about the Allegory of the Collage series I’ve been working on for the past decade or so?

Well I was really good at recording those key details of the pieces in the series, especially at the beginning, but then I lost my stride for a bit, and figured “no big deal, I have a good memory, especially when it comes to my own art, I’ll be able to come back and write the year on these drawings,” which was true at the time.

But another year passed, and I was submitting new drawings in the series for art exhibitions, luckilyI had the foresight to write down those names too, and immediately take photos! But after that point in time, I totally lost track of the work completed in subsequent years, as second time. Until last last year, when I decided to start making the collages again, and began the process of marking the details directly on the back of each piece.

So I have two gaps in the work created, I think some of it was made in 2007, and the rest between 2009-2011, but I cannot be sure. Which sucks.

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I can make a bunch of excuses for why this happened, but it doesn’t really matter because, whatever the excuse is, I still don’t know where to place about 25 of the pieces. And that sucks, because I don’t really want to guess, but in order to properly catalogue the work online, I need to have those details.

I mention this for two reasons.

First, I need the work digitized for a post I’ll be writing on Pinterest in coming weeks (which was supposed to be written a posted tonight, until I ran into the above issues)

Second, I’m going to show you in detail why it’s important to do an inventory of your work, and how to accomplish this exactly.

If you don’t have a studio inventory, you’ll be kicking yourself in a few years, and as painful as it is for me to workaround a problem of 25 images, imagine how much it would suck to do this with hundreds of pieces? Don’t fret though, this isn’t meant to scare you straight out of the studio. This is an education; it’ll get better, I promise.

For now, get started by taking photos of all of your work, including the title, the materials used, the dimensions of the piece, and the year it was made. I sound like a broken record, I’m sure, but trust me on those points. Then either store the images on your computer, a hard drive or find a place on the cloud.

I’m personally toying with Flickr option at the moment, but I’ll give you an update when I have an ideal solution, or two.

But what do you think? Have you already organized your work? How did you do it? Please leave some comments below and I’ll have some more theories tomorrow!

Tim!

 

On The Road Again (The Back Catalogue)

It’s important to take day trips every once and a while, dear readers.

The reason for this is twofold. First, if you take a day trip you are taking an adventure, which is always important to do – you clear your head, gather inspiration, and separate yourself from your daily life. Second, a day trip forces you to either spend time with your thoughts or listening to someone else’s, whether those thoughts are recorded or in real life.

Think about it for a moment, because you likely fit into the same mold as most other people , you struggle with down-time or silence, meditation isn’t really something you get excited about. Thus, you’ll want to fill your day trip with music, audiobooks or talking with potential road companions.

Let’s be honest. Music is the most likely candidate here.

Music is a wonderful primer to organizing emotions in a meaningful way. But the challenge with music is that it is often polarizing between individuals, as well as groups. You get on the road and you hope your tastes line up with your companions, friends, and love ones. But sometimes it doesn’t. And if you dig deeper into the music decisions we make, a lot of the time, we get into musical patterns which limit our growth and stunt our emotional intelligence.

Let’s expand on this last statement a bit better.

For instance, you may only listen to specific genres of music, so you buy music which fits a certain genre and while you may buy new music regularly, you will always careful to stick to that particular theme you trust. Or alternatively, maybe you can only handle certain artists within a genre or genres. You buy up all of their records, but you just aren’t interested in exploring a world outside of those musical heroes.

And of course studies on music preference have been conducted which indicate that certain genres suit our personalities and can determine our intelligence levels too.

This chart below showcases the kinds of musical acts people with different intellects typically listen to.

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And this snippet from an article on music and personality associations shows the typing of individuals based on common musical genres certain personalities prefer.

[Blues, classical, folk, jazz] … “reflective and complex”, you probably see yourself as unathletic, liberal and intelligent (and do, in fact, do pretty well on exams and IQ tests). You are also probably very open to trying new experiences.

[Alternative, heavy metal, rock]… “intense and rebellious” listening types: you share most of your characteristics with the jazz/classical brigade, but you’re more likely to see yourself as athletic and slightly less likely to seek to dominate others.

[Country, pop, religious, soundtracks] “Upbeat and conventional”, you’re likely to be agreeable, extraverted and conscientious. You also see yourself as attractive, wealthy and athletic, as well as politically conservative. Good news: this group is the least prone to depression. Bad news: it scores lowest on IQ tests.

[Electronic, hip hop, rap, soul] You’re an “energetic and rhythmic” listener – extraverted, agreeable, attractive and athletic, but you probably don’t share the political conservatism, wealth or lower IQ of your upbeat-and-conventional chums. This group also scores highest for “blirtatiousness” – the tendency to blurt out your thoughts and feelings as soon as they arise.

 

But what if you don’t fit into one of those four musical camps? What if you have a few genre preferences? Heck, what if you have a really have high IQ and you love punk rock or pop music, does that mean the studies are off base?

Well, no, I think the studies are conclusive, they are taking date from a sample group and applying their models to the general population, and let’s face it, the social sciences, and particularly brain science have not received nearly enough attention yet for us to consider ourselves experts on the subject.

What if you listen to a lot of different genres so you can better appreciate where they are coming from, or what if you want to listen to music from all genres because you recognize that there is value in other perspectives, and you don’t know where to start? Well, I’d recommend checking out this link or this link, for starters.

I have this theory, you see, a theory that if I want to contribute to the music scene, I need to listen to a lot different kinds of music – so that I can appreciate all of what’s available, and quite frankly, expand my own horizons and grow.

This is why I’ve created a Back Catalogue; a list of albums I need to experience reaching as far back as the 1950s. Similar to my list for film, the Back Catalogue is broadening my own collection while strengthening my tastes in good music.

By expanding our music tastes, we can grow our intellect and emotional intelligence. That way, when we take day trips with others, we won’t struggle with the radio on the ride down, no, we’ll be comfortable with the music decisions and will be happy to be on the road again.

But what do you think? Am I wrong for suggesting you expose yourself to new music and artists? Please leave some comments and if you like what you read today, don’t hesitate to like the post and subscribe to my blog. That’s all of my theories for today, see you tomorrow friends!

Tim!