How To Stay On Topic AND Be Topical (The Reading List)

Reading is cathartic, sharpens your mind, and expands your world. How it manages to do all of this is kind of amazing, but I’ve written about that before (see here, here, and here for recent examples), and it’s not really what this timely Thursday post is really about.

This entry is about another of my lifestyle goals as a cultivator of the arts.

You see friends, I’ve always been a lover of knowledge. Every personality test I’ve taken, every mentor I’ve had, and many of the compliments I have been given by generous humanly have usualy revolved around my intellect. I’ve spent thousands of hours of my life in thought and in the written word, so it kinda makes sense.

It’s a great comfort to me to read and I believe it is where a lot of my natural creativity lies. I’m very thankful for this gift and I intend to continue to use it to great effect. But I’ll be the first to admit, that creativity often comes from places other than self. Sure you can carry a creative idea through to it’s logical conclusion and exhaust it by repetition and personal exploration, but even more new ideas form through experience of the world.

Which is why I need to keep reading regularly, and read new things. As an artist, a curator of art and a practitioner of artist development, it’s my pleasure to share ideas with you dear readers. That means I need to find ideas in order to share them.

Buying a new album and film every week is a start, and participating in social media to build an empire is a good for discipline, but but I’ve always found that reading is the best way to spark ideas. Which is why I’ve decided to start The Reading List. It’s ambitious for sure, but it’s the only way I know how to flesh out a process, by dreaming big and digging in.

My goal for the rest of the year, and then for the rest of my life as I know it, is to read one book a month in a packet of categories. I’m going to start slow though.

To elaborate, I’ve grouped genres and topics, but will slowly expand outward until I am consuming at least 5 kinds of books a month. I already mentioned meta-reading, where I read a book, that I will also be writing about and how it relates to the act of reading, my relationship to the author I’m reading, and how my opinion of them and the work changes over time. I’m following this challenge concurrently with The Reading List to share some insights into the reading process and what I’ve learned from some wonderful authors.

And I’ve started with Ernest Hemingway. So let’s break down my crazy library sized idea for reading, and explore the possibilities and how it will benefit you, the readers of this blog.

I will read one book a month from the 5 groupings below, slowly expanding the number of books read so that I reach the point of 5 books a month. A book for each group:

  1. LIFE – Biographies/Art/Music
  2. LOVE – Classic Fiction/Non-Fiction/Graphic Novels
  3. LEARN – Business/Leadership/Self-Help
  4. LABEL – Philosophy/Sociology/Psychology
  5. LEET -The Internet

If I can get to the point where I read a book from each topic a month, I’ll be flying pretty high. You see, dear readers, if I can embrace the 5 L’s of LANGUAGE (my own idea), then I can contribute proper to your own education and personal growth in the age of the Internet – Hence the LEET grouping.

I think it’s a pretty neat way to keep myself accountable. But what do you think? I’m out of theories for the week, so share the post and leave me some feedback. Facebook and Twitter are most appreciated.

Tim!

This Is Your Brain On Words (Quotes To Inspire Creativity)

This might seem like a bit of surprise, but I have not always enjoyed the writing process.

fresh-prince-of-bel-air-will

And I don’t think I’m alone in this attitude. Much like any “seemingly” basic skill, writing takes some time to learn, and a lifetime to master. Because of that hard truth about writing, from a young age I always felt pressured into the writing process and moreover, that I didn’t have the characteristics to make my ideas and literary voice heard. So I did what I would do with social situations, I would borrow ideas and quotes from other established works.

This of course changed after I got accepted into university and had the opportunity to expand my library of literary options.

It got more difficult!

I thought that maybe I wasn’t mature yet or life experiences hadn’t happened enough for me so I didn’t have a way of articulating detailed stories proper. But as I explored my own identity I began to realize that creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and for me, I enjoyed pulling from different sources to build an idea out. Also hard won personal experiences with writing under pressure over and over again helped relieve some of the stress.

Which is a pretty cool thing, if you were to ask me. But I guess you are asking me, seeing as how you are at timotheories right now, reading about my ideas. Fortunately I do have a formal education in the arts so it’s not like I’m Joe Blow from Timbuktu writing about my snail collection.

I’m an expert in the arts and on this journey with you.

Which is why I decided that today I want to share some word wisdom with you, and in anticipation of a little old project I am about to undertake(read: new project. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll share that project with you on a later date. For now, let’s start with that sweet sweet wisdom dear readers.

I’ve written about the power of reading at least once before, but have I discussed the power of words themselves? No I didn’t think so either. Sometimes we get so caught up in our routines (which are helpful) that we forget to spend time enjoying life and *gasp*, procrastinating simply to be immersed in culture.

Matt-LeBlanc-Gasp

But seriously… Sound familiar? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Personally I’ve found that reading exercises my brain and that taking quotes from literature can help cement new ideas or creative directions I want to take – So today I’m going to share with you, in no particular order, some of my favourite quotes from film and literature, as infographics. And after you’ve gone through the list, I want you to think about how you feel. But for now, let’s take a scroll.

 

 

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4630fa22ebc4f95d679fde53cf60648db44c5d59f7c75f94f683a47c3a6c812f811a8c296c57ce68cec0bd1764b3e6cd8dfe92ffc40727f6d88387da258fd0a64be5f546399c33d7f8e8bf10d1b011d304-Herbert555195_1286482321349_full5798-but-it-aint-about-how-hard-ya-hit-its-about-how-hard13m5wfQuotefancy-4091-3840x2160

life-moves-pretty-fast ebb2b831a7a7e336c100e911805e2b2c 977e468b997cdd6a412e4c1ab36bb05af1b13934db5ab5ce4008e2a6a2e498325dedf2031071319794c468c9f5674d39e1f27c0ad7f943596b2323e68a4bdb44463c7dae129e9d9c6fc9bd162807e513c1de8dfeee0bdfdbe0b84edc55e7f3f29e208a258510cac84ca520cf222cb8c5

 

Bet you are feeling pretty good right now? And some of those quotations are tied into your own experiences. You see, dear readers, I have this theory that word association has the incredible power to motivate, but only to motivate. It doesn’t provide discipline, like at all. But that is not what it was meant for.

You need to balance short term pains (emotions) against long term gains (skill). It’s just how it is. So why not spend some time building a Pinterest board or vision board or whatever to give yourself some instant emotional gratification? And most of those quotes are useful advice anyway, and there have been studies done that indicate human beings can only learn a few new things at a time.

So put your ideas up somewhere digital or real; bathroom and bedroom walls can do the trick. And revisit those quotes regularly, that way you can slowly absorb the knowledge you need, to increase your knowledge, skill, and discipline to create.

While, I’m out of theories and wisdom for the day friends, so I’ll see you tomorrow with something timely!

Tim!

I Am Artist, Hear Me Roar! (Artist Statements)

It’s stimulating sunday, and in order to get this post started right, we’ll do a few quick word associations to see what happens in your mind. I promise it will be quick, painless, and you just might learn something from the process.

Ready? Okay, let’s go.

I’ve got the eye of the tiger, baby I’m bulletproof, because I’m happy, it’s the final countdown, test your might, everything is awesome, etc.

Mortal-Kombat-Movie-Goro-700x350

At least one of those phrases called up something didn’t it? You hear those songs and you just get jacked the f*ck up, don’t you? I think it has something to do with the associations between the audio and the visuals. Especially if it’s a song directly tied in with a movie, TV show or video game.

We recognize the importance of audio in making a proper multi-media presentation, whether we are conscious of it or not. Take for instance this article which goes over the value of music in producing emotions.

Which is why I wanted to write about the importance of tying in ideas with the visuals of the arts and how the written word is so incredibly important in creating richer experiences; if you were to ask any of my friends and colleagues who work in the arts, they would probably all tell you that the worst thing about being an artist is the struggle to find meaning in their work through words.

Unless they are a writer, of course. Then the biggest challenge they face is visually showing what their work represents.

How quaint.

But let’s not lose focus. So, I have this theory that the reason why many artists struggle with the written language versus the visual one is that they’re most interested in articulating ideas which simply cannot be written down, and to try to do so can be an incredible disservice to the work. At least initially. Which is why I wanted to spend some time going over the importance of artist statements for those who are not visual thinkers.

So what is an artist statement?

An artist statement should be an introduction to your work in general, a series, or an individual piece. It should always start by explaining the basic ideas of the work, a shorter paragraph with maybe a few sentences in length. Then you go into more detail about how the ideas are being presented in the work with a second paragraph. You can conclude the statement with highlights of the most important points, but it should strive to be no more than 10-12 sentences in length. After all the words are there to enhance the work, not overtake it.

When writing a longer statement you can include more detail. For instance, your expectations for the work and how the audience should react to it. How your work fits in relation to your previous efforts and where it fits in the larger oeuvre of contemporary art. You can also consider including sources which have contributed to the work, including other artists that influence you.

And of course there are some things that you should not do in an artist statement, unless you want to alienate your audience. Avoid talking about your role in the world and making cliched statements about your work. Long dissertations and personal anecdotes should be avoided too, unless it is directly related to what you are creating. And lastly, if you inject technical terms, be very careful to limit their use and explain them as best you can without carrying on.

The major reason why you should write an artist statement is that it can be an excellent way to clarify what your work is about and make a stronger connection for the audience, administrators you interact with, and of course in submitting the work for any kind of applications process (exhibitions, funding, school, paid positions).

Much like how a good soundtrack can help elevate the experience of watching a movie or playing game, when you can connect your ideas with your artwork, people will have a much stronger appreciation for what your contributions mean in the marketplace.

I know that this is kind of a teaser, because there is a lot more to say about how to write these statements, when to use them, where to use them, etc. And so I promise to go revisit this topic in a future post about how to construct one of these statements in detail.

But for now I’m out of theories friends! I hope you have an excellent Sunday evening, and I’ll catch you tomorrow with a music review! Comment! Subscribe! Share!

Tim!