Things Said In Earnest (Meta-Reading)

I’m a big fan of lists, process improvement, discipline, personal development, branding, and having a purpose. These are expressions I’ve honed over years as both an artist and a marketing professional. And wisdom often denotes that if you want to continue to evolve you must change too as other successful people before you have changed.

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I do have to say something in earnest though, change is important and while that particular Xzibit meme pokes fun at recursive things, it also manages to be meta about the concept of change. As the old adage goes, the only thing constant is change.

A couple of weeks ago I shared a hint of a vision with you, as it seems I so often do.

But dear readers, you of course know that the much larger purpose of timotheories is digital curating at heart – we focus on cultivating the arts and providing you with positive feedback both on creative work and for creative professionals too…

And it is Wisdom Wednesday after all, so a vision seems appropriate. Where was I? Oh right I have a vision, a pet project, a task I am undertaking myself and which I seriously think all creative types would benefit from pursuing as well.

This project doesn’t have a name just yet, but for now, I’m going to refer to it as meta-reading. I’ve decided to tentatively call the vision as such because I know that I am going to be reading a minimum of one book a month. My rationale about said meta-reading is that I will also be writing about 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 course because we don’t all consciously consider the act of reading. And we should. Most of us either do it or do not – which would make Yoda proud, but wouldn’t create well-rounded individuals.

So, I want to dedicate at least one post a month to a behemoth of creativity, one who I believe can provide you who some wisdom and help you to grow into the role you were meant to play, that of creative professional. I’ll admit first and foremost that this theory I have, that creativity is attainable by all, is not a new one, and I carry a heavy heart in sharing the knowledge I have gleaned from others and of course that which I personally pass on to you several times a week.

Which I why I’ve decided to start off the project of meta-reading by examines one of my favourite authors of whom I have never read anything by, but whom has been quoted and misquoted so many times in the history of writing since his contributions, and whom has been referenced in popular culture again and again.

That’s right, I’m reading a book by one Ernest Hemingway.

He has been called many things, from champ, to papa hemingway, to tiny, but Ernest Hemingway was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. And he lived a very rich life. Unfortunately his depression ended up killing him in the end, but that is not why I want to read one of his books. I want to understand why he influenced pop culture the way he did, and quite frankly I want to gain some wisdom myself.

Which is why my task for you over the next couple of weeks is to join me as I read Hemingway’s first novel, The Sun Also Rises, and next month I’ll talk about the book, provide a little background on him and my thoughts, and do it again with another creative type. Sound good friends?

I thought so too.

And that’s all of the theories I’ve got for today. Please subscribe to the blog, leave some comments, and share with your artist loved ones. I’ll be back tomorrow with something timely.

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!