Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday + Sunday is Collaborate, Gather and Experiment 11/26/11

Wow!,  the weekend is here already.

Listening to Other's Stories

Everyone has a story to tell. Some stories are more compelling than others--and that's why they end up on television or in magazines, newspapers or even books--but the human experience is a rich source of inspiration on many different levels. No two people are exactly the same, and no two people experience their time on this planet the same way.

This weekend, talk to at least two artists about what inspires them. Beyond just talking to them, though, practice being an active listener. The goal is twofold: to gain new perspective on the creativity of others and to absorb as much information (and possibly creative energy) as possible.
  1. If you're housebound, many artists are only a few keystrokes away via the Internet. Find artists you like, cruise around their website, then find the "contact us" link and send them an email. If you're out and about, try taking a class or visiting galleries, open studios, craft fairs, craft supply stores or book signings
  2. Be prepared for your interaction with at least three or four questions. (No journalist goes into an interview without doing some background research and working up a list of questions, and neither should you.) Your questions may depend on what you'd like to know, but here are some ideas for how to get the conversation started:
    • What is your personal favorite work of art and why?
    • Where do you find inspiration for your work?
    • What do you do when the idea well runs dry?
    • Whose work do you admire most and why?
    • What is your favorite material or tool and why?
    • If you admire an artist's work, ask what inspired them.
  3. Being an active listener means absorbing the words, perspective, and story of the people you're talking to without interruption or judgment. Although you may recognize common ground or shared experiences, it doesn't mean talking over them or derailing the natural flow of their thoughts. Remember, your goal is to deepen your well of information, not to tell your own story.
  4. If the conversation stalls or dwindles, use either of these sets of magic words: "Tell me more" or "May I see your work?"
Inspiration may be as near as your next conversation, even if it's with a random stranger or someone you've just met. All you have to do is ask.

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