Wayfinding – Nicholas Wilton – Ep 7
December 8, 2021
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
This episode addresses one of the most important pieces of making your art. Oddly enough, I won’t talk at all about brush strokes, mixing colors, or understanding texture and design. Those are important, but they are not the most important pieces of making art that are potent, personal, and inspiring.
That part comes from you.
So how do we find our way to that creative place, the place many people refer to as a state of “flow?” This episode is about learning to stay in the groove and become engaged in the process so that you wind up in a place that is better than where you were before. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and have a listen. I’m going to unpack the things I tell myself when I get stuck. I think this will be helpful to you.
Listen if you are interested in…
- Making successful art comes from inside you… and is a difficult path to find [0:38]
- Dog desire, dog food package creation, and how they came together magically [2:34]
- How the term “feels like” serves me as I create my art [15:14]
- The way we can know we are heading in the right direction [20:37]
- Things that can block you from “flow” [24:04]
How do you get direction if you don’t know where you’re going?
The concept of “wayfinding” that I’m exploring in this episode is not unique to me, but my experience related to the concept has been very personal. You’ll hear that in the story I tell about wanting a dog as a child, considering getting a dog for my children, and how that mental energy enabled me to create art that I’m extremely happy with. I didn’t know what was happening at the time, but the outcome has convinced me that something significant was going on, and I’ve given that a lot of thought over the years. My thoughts…
It’s ok if we don’t know where we’re going before we start. It’s also ok to not know how we are going to get there. That mystery is among the ingredients, however, that help us determine where we are supposed to go. But that naturally brings up the question, “When I don’t know where I’m supposed to be going, how do I find direction? My experience, and what I teach, is that you get direction by starting, by getting even the smallest sense of what it is you’re after and taking the first step on the journey toward it. Keep reading. Let’s dig into how we can begin to discover those senses of direction.
What you’re feeling about a project is like opening a door
The second episode of this podcast addressed the issue of “coming alive.” It’s a process of noticing the things in life that have some “juice” to them, some life, vitality, or interest for you. As you notice these things and turn your attention toward them, you become aware in a new way. It’s a mysterious, heightened sensitivity that you develop and it’s an important part of your artmaking journey. It’s those magical moments of sensitivity that open the door to your creative path, and the outcome of powerful, amazing art.
If you are able to get into this place of heightened awareness about what you want for the project, you’ll begin noticing, quite organically, other things in your life that feel the same. These things will add to, illuminate, and contribute to the momentum and direction of what you’re making. Together, they combine to provide clarity as you iterate through the process of making your art. The result is art that is becoming more and more like you.
How “flow” relates to this process and how to get into that place
Nobody has the right mix of things that you need to find your place of greatest creativity, you have to create your own mix. It’s a combination, an integration of all kinds of things — connecting to what brings you joy, figuring out what that feels like, creating the freedom and space to think about those things. The path to that place is a bit mysterious, but when you can get there it produces an exponential change in your life and art. Getting into this state is often called “flow.”
I cover this in more depth in the episode, but here are the things I’ve discovered that keep us from a flow state…
- Not having space or room to pay attention
- Thinking too small, not being open to new ideas or possibilities
- Not focusing on our desires and desired outcomes
- When we are feeling the “victim” and defining life negatively
- Believing we don’t deserve the things that we desire (limiting beliefs)
- Not believing that things are stacked in your favor
I hope you take the time to listen and to think about these things. As I said at the outset, this issue is one of the most important pieces of making your art.
Resources & People Mentioned
- Lotus Dog Food
- Carl Jung – Synchronicity concept
- David Hockney
- Episode two – Coming Alive
- Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi – Father of “Positive Psychology”
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.
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