Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thoughts on Consumption

Create more than you consume.
That sentence really strikes a chord with me. I struggle with that so much. As a visual artist I don't think consumption is limited to just what is viewed either, but what is taken in by all the senses. Especially nowadays with Pinterest, Spotify and podcasts always at my fingertips it's hard to reign in the binging. All I seem to do most days is consume, consume, consume. And I'm not talking about drinking in nature, I'm talking about over feasting on what has been created by human.

To an extent, as an artist, I need to consume in order to create. I need to let my brain drink in the surrounding sights and sounds, feelings and textures in order to have something for my brain to process into my own expression, my own art. I'm not sure I could create without consuming. If I locked myself in a cabin Thoreau-style I'm sure I could continue creating for a while, but since most of my subject matter revolves arounds humans it wouldn't last long. I thrive on interactions to inform my art. Heck I'd wager than every single artist needs to keep at least a toe in society in order to stay relevant.

Where one spends their time and how much of that time is spent on consuming is such an important balance to strike. Much like food fueling the body, one has to be intentional to be able to fuel one's creative soul in a healthy way. If I'm being honest, I have to admit my consumption is not healthy. I'm fat and bloated with the amount and rate at which I consume. I'm calling myself out. I consume junk at such a rapid and staggering pace in hope of finding that "one magical bit" of inspiration. But that one magical piece to rival all others doesn't simply exist in one single place hidden in the pages of the internet. Great inspiration exists in the mind. Great inspiration is accessed by showing up to a blank page armed only with a pen and taking that pen to the page to create even when creating is hard and the output sucks. Great inspiration is cultivated with fresh air, human connections, new experiences and seasoned with a hardy dose of variety.

Everyone likely has their own innate balance and formula for healthy consumption. I'm not sure what mine is. It probably involves seeing more things live/first hand, focusing more on my other sense rather than relying so heavily on sight to experience the world and getting back to reading novels to let my imagination wander. I look forward to experimenting to discover a good balance for myself which I've already started to do. Slowly but surely.

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