Twilight Zone (Daylight Savings Time)

This isn’t nothing new. We’re playing for keeps in the daylight, in the dark, in the twilight of our hearts.

People have been setting back their clocks for the better part of a century now. First proposed by an American inventor and politician by the name of Benjamin Franklin, back in the late 18th century, Franklin’s idea was to have citizens of Paris wake up earlier in the day and take advantage of the natural light; a means of savings on candle usage.

Burning The Candle At Both Ends

Eventually the idea was refined and defined by New Zealand entomologist and astronomer George Hudson, with German and Austria-Hungarians being earlier adopters in 1916. Since that time numerous countries have adopted it into their calendar year with daylight savings time happening in late winter and ending during fall, when we switch back to standard time. The literal notion of daylight savings time is to spring ahead by an hour, but the rationale is far more complex.

In an industrialized society we follow a clock based schedule, with activities that are not dictated by sunlight, by changing the schedule as the days shorten, we effectively gain an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, when most people are off from their work.

But in agrarian work, daylight dictates how much time is spent in labour. Whether one way or another is better is unclear, but where you live in the world does make a difference in the impact of the event. The closer we get to the equator the less daylight varies throughout the year, while the further north we go, the more wildly the daylight length swings throughout the year.

Hands of Fate

To be honest, I don’t know where I truly fit into this debate. Having danced this dance for quite some time now, it often feels great to get that extra hour of sunlight during the day, but the disruption to my sleep in the first place is definitely unsettling. As something of a night owl, I usually better use of the evening hours anyway, and up in northern Alberta our winters are longer with less daylight, while our shorter summers with longer daylight can be a welcome distraction… And so I can see merit to both sides of the argument.

I will say this though. No matter what art form you choose to make dear readers, and where you live in the world, you absolutely need to find a schedule that works for your own predispositions. It is a daily fight to make that art, so no matter where you live, it’s your responsibility to work within the environment you live in.

theories Summarized

I’ve gotten quite accustomed to using the #liveyourlife whenever I can in social media creative cuties, and I think it rings true here too. Whether or not you need lots of daylight to function properly, and I’m betting that is true for most of us, then absolutely take advantage of what you can get in your climate. That may mean more productivity in summer months and hibernating in the winter, but only you can figure out what that really looks like.

With that mentioned, don’t forget to set your clocks forward this weekend, wouldn’t want you to sleep in on Monday and something melodic.

And just like that, I’m out of theories for the day. Or should I say time?

Tim!

 

Killer Instinct (Brad Fehr interview preview)

Human beings are unique from animals in that we have the ability to voice our opinions and change the world around us. We can create and we can destroy, we alter the world with the objects we use on a continuous basis.

From computers, to clothing, to houses, to vehicles, to entertainment, we really do alter reality in a different way then our fellow creatures of the world.

 

We think with such a greater capacity and so we can make decisions which are a lot more complex than flight or fight. In fact, some of us spend so much time with our own thoughts and ideas, that we live lives of reclusion.

Week-end_pleasure

You see I have this theory that the reason why we struggle with these distinctions is because of the ability of our minds to process information rapidly and use for different reasons than simply food, shelter and procreation. It can be very difficult to deal with, that option to live a life of immediacy versus consideration. And what the heck are we supposed to do about intent?

But intuition is not the enemy, dear readers. It can be very useful, especially for creative types. In fact, I’m going to give you something to ponder over with today’s post. An opportunity to think about intuition in a new way.

And thankfully I’ve made friends with a gentleman who happens to have a background in both philosophy and fine art. His name is Brad Fehr and he’ll be lucky number 10 for the timotheories interviews series that has been gaining so much traction. I’m really excited to share that full length interview with you, but as we’ve all become accustomed to, I wanted to ask a hard question of Brad first, so that we could sink into the theme of intuition before the full length interview hits the streets.

 

And so I am overjoyed to give you folks a test shot of episode 10 of timotheories interviews!

As already eluded to above, Brad is an up-and-coming visual artist with a penchant for painting and videography. Below is the preview clip from our interview!

I’m ridiculously excited to share this preview from the Brad Fehr interview and you will see the final result next week, but for now, enjoy our brief interlude and the rest of your Sunday. Think on your life and wonder about the mysteries of the universe. And if you’re in Edmonton, maybe take some time and visit K-Days before it disappears for another year.

I’m out of theories for now, dear readers! Have a fantastic night, and I’ll see you tomorrow with something to that you could love and hate.

Tim!

Red VS Blue! (How Environment Effects Creativity)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll definitely say it again after this post… but throughout human history creativity has often been thought of by the masses as a gift from another world, not something that comes from the brain and which can be developed and cultivated.

I bet you thought I was making a reference to TMNT, nah, I would never do that.

Michelangelo's_comical_scream

Moving right along; as a creative person I’m sure that this concept of creative influence is both fascinating and horrifying for you, because you want to succeed and get support to accomplish your creative goals, but if anyone can be creative, then that means you are no longer a special snowflake.

And I’ll let you decide which one fascinating, and which one is horrifying.

But what if I told you that your environment can be controlled in such a way as to effect your creativity either positively or negatively? What would you do? I bet most of you would jump at the chance to make subtle shifts in how your environment operated.

For instance, did you know that colour can elevate different kinds of creativity? According to this study, red can promote analytical aspects of memory retrieval and proofreading, whereas blue is good for brainstorming and innovation. Also in the same study, researchers have uncovered a correlation between noise levels, distraction, and types of work done – moderate noise and high noise produce more abstract processing vs low noise, but high noise impairs information processing, so moderate noise is the sweet spot for creativity, something which I touched upon in a previous post.

The most interesting thing about this study, of course, is that it demonstrates the correlation between creativity and improvement.

Another article I found recently references other aspects of life which can impact creativity. This is another one which Professor Juliet Zhu has looked into, and is a huge advocate for. Apparently dim lighting vs bright lighting an produce different results. Believe it or no, dim lighting has a positive association with abstract thinking and creativity.

cave-painting

Maybe that’s why cave painting started us off on this creative pathway in the first place?

But the article goes on to demonstrate that temperature and space make a difference too. Choose a cool setting for simple tasks and a warm place for complex ones. Clutter creates less self-control (binge eating for example), whereas organization creates self-regulation and persistence, both useful in their own situations. And that latter topic also happens to be something I’ve written about previously.

Still another article I read described the importance of writing out ideas by hand, which helps with idea generation, learning, and memorization. And apparently taking walks and working in rooms with high ceilings helps to promote creativity too.

But what you may not have considered is the importance that comfort can play in creativity both physical and mental. Having a space which has both small areas of intimacy and large open areas can stimulate different kinds of thought. And of course, you also need to be able to experiment and fail at projects. No one is capable of perfection, but surrounding yourself with individuals that do not support risk-taking stifles creativity quite a bit, so do what you can limit those kinds of interactions.

Jim Rohn said it best with the following quote

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

It is imperative that you consider your relationships carefully, and to be closely surrounded by positive, supportive people who want you to succeed, and it’s also necessary to have critics. Though I suspect we can touch on that last point in a lot more detail and so I shall save it for another day.

What did you think of that theory? Does your environment fit the conditions above? Have I missed anything? Please leave some comments below, like and share this post, and of course please subscribe to my blog for more stimulating ideas about the arts.

Tim!

 

A Time To Make Wages (Artist Fees)

What a strange world we live in, my dear readers.

Human beings have a wonderful capacity to either create or destroy, to build up or break down, to protect or attack, to love or hate.

That statement I just made isn’t a new one, in fact, lots of us have heard it before through various channels. Probably one of the most famous comes from this passage of the Judeo-Christian Bible.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Now, don’t misconstrue my intent here.

I recognize that sharing literature from a personal belief can create all sorts of obstacles in learning and I am not interested in converting people over to that particular belief system nor am I interested in getting into debates over belief systems. I want to stick to concepts which are universal and valuable for people either interested in the arts or directly involved in them, no matter what principles guide their lives.

Back to my original theory.

We have always liked to speak in universals and this particular passage I just shared describes dichotomies very well.

It also proves that dichotomies have existed for thousands of years. I mention this primarily because we find it easier (in general) to identify concepts and life in uniform ways. I covered this exact principle in one of my very first posts which addressed common sense.

I have left this link here in case you want to read in detail, but I will share quick summary of the problem too.

The roots of common sense statements are based on our individual experiences and a combination of culture hierarchies. The phrase that something “is common sense” is problematic because common sense relies on an idea of what is “obvious.” It’s not supported by evidence or rational research based results.

So what does that have to with today’s post my friends? A lot actually.

Being an analytical type, or so I’ve been told over and over by friends and loved ones, I can appreciate the value of a deal and will spend time breaking down risks versus rewards for fun. Especially when it comes to things which I love, and which are loved by lots of other people too. (Read: albums, movies, graphic novels, and nonfiction books)

But it really bothers me when I witness people undervaluing the effort of those who create artwork, no matter what form it takes.

There are a number of reasons it bothers me, one of them being that by purchasing work for a fraction of what it is worth, that decision not only dilutes the effort of the artist but of the community overall and one of the consequences of that decision is that we don’t have as much variety available to us.

For example, a photographer who is just starting out should be charging less for their services than an established one, because quite frankly they don’t have as much experience or command of their skill, and as they test their mettle, they will be able to charge higher rates to their clientele.

But by charing significantly less to get immediate payment, the marketplace gets messed up, and attitudes crop up which are wrong, but make sense given the circumstances.

And website services like 99 designs are just as bad. Holding a “contest” where a bunch of artists all bid on a project by offering up one or two designs, means that the work that gets chosen at the end of the day isn’t even representative of the business or individual who needed services.

I can expand on this idea even more so in a future post, but if you want more of a taste take a look at this article. What do you think of that theory?

Tim!