“You’ve got to keep the child alive; you can’t create without it.”
— Joni Mitchell
Far from being reserved for children, play is an extremely important activity for all ages. While we often think of play solely as an activity, play is an emotion, an essence, or state of mind. It can amuse, entertain, delight, divert, occupy, relax, distract, and pleasure.
While I am a strong advocate of play for everyone, I feel it is essential for artists and creators. Besides bringing greater joy and levity into our lives, it enhances energy levels and is proven to reduce stress. As if these benefits coupled with the sheer fun of play weren’t enough to convince you to “lighten up” a little, play is a powerful way to stimulate your imagination, risk-taking and curiosity, all of which are critical aspects of creativity.
“Improvisation, composition, writing, painting, theatre, invention, all creative acts are forms of play, the starting place of creativity in the human growth cycle, and one of the great primal life functions.”
— Stephen Nachmanovitch
Below are a couple of short videos that I did for OPUS – my local art supply store. In the videos I discuss a myriad of topics including:
- some of my approach to play and how important I think it is to keep our process lively and engaging
- how playing and experimenting with our materials can help us reinvent our work and processes
- the importance of risk-taking and pushing our boundaries
- how to challenge ourselves by setting creative parameters and restrictions
- several strategies and tips for using a sketchbook as part of your process
During the videos I also demonstrate working with a couple of basic and affordable studio materials including a variety of forms of graphite and india ink. I have actually re-watched these videos a couple of times myself since they were posted and I find they always remind me to have fun and experiment – igniting my creativity. I hope that you will enjoy them too.
I’d also love to hear how you keep your creating fun and limitless…so please leave a comment below!
Some excerpts on the importance of play were taken from Getting In! The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Outstanding Portfolio, Earning Scholarships & Securing Your Spot at Art School by Nancy Crawford.