The creative process is a lot like a redecorating project. It starts with a spark of an idea. You find something new and you want to integrate it, so you start to take apart what’s already there. It’s a mess in the middle, as you try new things, experiment, put things together and take them apart again. If you follow it through, order eventually comes to the chaos. In the end you have something different, you’ve created something new.
In the last week I added this great new set of prints, called “The Butterfly Effect” by artist Barton DeGraaf, to my studio walls.
Of course, it looks great now, all finished up, but what a mess in the middle! Art off the walls and stacked everywhere. Tools scattered. Making holes once or twice or three times to get things lined up. Then cleaning up, finding new places for the old pieces of art on other walls or storage, and making the space usable again. It took about a week to finish, utilizing bits and pieces of time found here or there. But what a difference! I wanted to use my studio space again.
Once I finished and stood back to evaluate, I realized I loved not only the new art and the new space, but the whole process… The spark of the idea, the integrating of the new into existing pieces, the chaos of the mess as I try to make things work, and then the satisfaction of the completion of a project as well as something real and tangible in the end.
There is the creative process, in a nutshell.
Nothing comes out fully formed from an idea. It takes the disorder and frustration of trying new things, adjusting, and maybe leaving a few extra holes in the wall you work through the problems. It takes cleaning up the disaster created as a by product of the process before you can see the finished state. It takes an investment of time to do all of this work.
But when you get to the end? It’s all worth it.
I think I have a new personal definition for “The Butterfly Effect”… It’s the satisfaction of struggling through the creative process, to bring something beautiful and worthwhile into existence.
What’s next? It’s time to start the process again…