I’ve tried a few different mediums now: music, film, photography, writing, and painting to name a few. Each medium has a number of rules that need to be understood. You can’t break the rules until you know what they are. Now-a-days, I gravitate towards the mediums that are easiest to be immersed in: writing and photography. These are mediums I experience on the day to day.
With writing, I read every day, mostly articles now but books from time to time. I write, right here, on this blog. Blogging is how I practice the grammar and vocabulary I learned in my 12 grades of government bestowed schooling. I’ll be the first to admit that my first few blog posts are bad. They don’t read well, but I think I’m getting better (I hope you think so too).
With photography, I see pictures everyday. On Instagram, Reddit, etc… the internet is full of images. I take note of the things I think look good and try to emulate them.
Nothing in art is new. Everything is just a copy, an emulation, a spin, or a combination of older styles. But you need to know how those original styles were created to understand the process of how to break the rules. Creativity is breaking the rules in the most aesthetic ways possible.
I tend to trend away from mediums that are heavy on rules. Music has it’s theory. Visual art emulates lighting from the physical world. Film is just an amalgamation of writing, cinematography, visual arts, sound design, and editing, each with it’s own rules. There’s a lot to learn for these mediums. I’d like to put in the work one of these days but I haven’t been hooked enough to dive in head first.
From time to time, I dabble with prose’s close cousin, poetry, but I’ve never been able to dedicate wholeheartedly because I don’t have a good understanding of the rules of poetry. I have a nagging feeling that I won’t be able to make anything worthwhile if I’m not constantly reading poetry.
I used to love to draw. I kept a sketch book with me at all times. I drew my feelings, wrote my deepest thoughts in that book, ate oranges on it, and rolled joints on it. There’s something lovely about the physicality of pulling an ink pen across ivory white pages. Unfortunately, it now sits on my shelf, a melancholic reminder of a more romantic time. Perhaps I’ll take it up again someday, but for now, I’ve replaced that physicality with a new one: typing out these blog posts on my mechanical keyboard in my bespoke Vim setup.
I digress, I still want to discuss creative adjacent mediums I’ve dabbled with.
I’ve thought about lumping in code as a creative medium. I think software can have creativity associated with it. There’s something elegant about the implementation of SQLite or esbuild. But software probably has the most rules of any of the other mediums we’ve discussed. Code can’t really be Jazz unless you want to solve a riddle reading your code every time you come back to your project.
Baking on the other hand, can have a little more freedom. Baking is often described as being similar to chemistry. There are measured ingredients that are put together in a specific order to achieve the result. Nevertheless, you can always have some fun with your ingredients. One of my favorite things to do is to replace vanilla with any other liquor. Whiskey is pretty good. I’ve tried tequila too, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really like tequila. Cooking kinda goes into this column too. Putting a dash of spice and a sprinkle of salt is about as close a chef can get to painting like Jackson Pollock. Cooking can’t be as messy as modern art since whatever you end up making still has to taste palatable.
With all that said, I’d say my creativity stems from whatever it is I surround myself with. I glean ideas from conversations with my friends. When I walk around by myself, I develop my thoughts into creative revelations. And last but not least, I was raised by the internet, and it continues to inspire me.
I hope this inspires you to makes something.