Find Your Space.

Brick Lane.JPG

Brick Lane.

Notes after a recent break in London.

The importance of getting out of your bubble, to travel, even if not very far.

Slow down time.

Break up your routine.

Open your mind.

Put things in perspective and be reminded that there is a whole world out there, made up of lots of individual lives with different paths, ideas, and dreams, by all sorts of different people.

I was strongly reminded of this when I went to London for a few days at the end of April, it was busy, but it was a good busy, I was away from all my usual ‘stuff’ and I let myself get lost in a book, which I never usually make time to do (fyi the book is amazing, even if a little twisted!, and is by a Scottish writer, – ‘Fallow’ by Daniel Shand), I saw an array of friends, I walked down lots of streets, went to galleries, and generally just wandered, like time was endless, even if only for a few days.

One highlight was by far the David Hockney exhibition, it is on until May 29th, if you are able to get to London to see it, 1.Book 2. Go. I didn’t even necessarily consider myself a Hockney fan, but it seriously blew me away. There is almost nothing I like more than meandering through a big exhibition by myself and trying to absorb it all. I think this could be a whole other blog post, so all I will say for now is that it lit me up, it lit me up and it made me see everything differently. I felt different when I came out of the gallery and walked back to the tube station, I actually saw things differently. And, I even started sketching in my little sketchbook, trying to record this new way of seeing things, drawing things I would never usually think to draw, or ever want to.

Hockney Postcards

 Postcards from the Hockney exhibition

You don’t have to go to London to get this. You just have to do something different, go somewhere different, it doesn’t matter how far, change your routine, even a little, even for one day. Even if it just means walking to work a different way, or going for a morning run and seeing what that feels like, or start a new class, or change an old habit – like swapping tv for reading a book, or swapping time on your phone with time with real people, or spend time doing that thing you actually want to be doing with your life. Everything takes practice, and with that takes time. But imagine if you could even dedicate one hour a day to that thing, you would slowly become better and better at it. Or just stop, stop your crazy cycle of constant busyness, just stop, even for 5 minutes, to look around you, and actually look, to see who is there and what is there and take some time to actually think about that. Sometimes all it takes is to slow down to see things clearly.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, the key thing is that you do it with an open mind. Be ready for whatever new ideas and inspirations and insights will come your way.

I think creating this space, allowing yourself to be refreshed, in whatever way that means for you, is important for everyone, but probably even more so for creative people, we need to keep in the loop, stay open, be inspired and stay inspired. And sometimes, that is hard. Sometimes, we can become so caught up, so swept away by being busy, by being distracted and by running some sprint to try and achieve something in some record time. And I think when you try to step away from that, even just metaphorically, or even just for a short amount of time, to get enough distance to view it from afar, and to question it. To ask why you are doing what you are doing, and is it still how you want it to be? Or maybe you would be content earning a little less and having more time to roam, or to just be.

For this reason, and for your general mental and physical health, but mainly for you to be able to keep on keeping on, to keep coming up with great work, and new ideas, you need to give yourself some space. Space being everything that word can mean, in every context. Get away. Or maybe your getting away is closing in, shutting yourself off from the world, from the internet for a day. In your own little space.

Things are so different these days when it comes to creating work (and obviously in many other ways). We can instantly share something we have just created, or even share photos throughout the process. And this is amazing. But sometimes it can be detrimental, it can leave you placing too much importance on how many likes it gets on social media, it can undermine your hard work as it just floats on through the internet stream and becomes just another image (or blog post!) in the vast array of images. And actually, if we are talking visual art at least, you are allowing people to judge your work when they are, for the most part, viewing in on a tiny screen on their phone. I listened to a talk on http://99u.com/ (there are loads of great talks on there by the way!) recently, which was , in part, about Dr Dre’s headphones, ‘Beats’ and Dr Dre said he would spend years making a record for everyone to just listen to it on rubbish little white headphones that don’t play the sound any where close to what he intended. Which is where I drew the comparison of creating visual art work, for example a painting, which can never be truly appreciated through a digital screen, it just can’t. So I for one, will try to remember that, and take any social media, or general response online to any work I post, with a big pinch of salt and get some perspective about what that even means. And I will also endeavour to get my work seen, in person, by more people, around the world. Because that’s the way it should be viewed.

If you are passionate about something, hold it tight, protect it in a way that means your passion for it will never cease. At least some of it must stay close to your heart so it cannot be trampled on by people who don’t know, or who just don’t understand quite how precious it is to you. That is what you must protect. But also make sure you do, at times, open that up, just long enough to help other people try and understand how precious and important and beautiful a thing it is.

Or, in short:

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place” – Iain Thomas

Thank you again for reading, if means so much to me that you are.
Holly
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http://www.hollysharpe.com

This talk (http://99u.com/videos/28133/sarah-lewis-creativity-solitude-go-hand-in-hand#comments) by Sarah Lewis also touches on this idea of creating that space in which you can work, physically, but also a metaphorical space.

“Much of modern creativity advice focuses on “getting your work out there” and networking with others. But great work often requires that we work in isolation.” – Sarah Lewis

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED.

EU ILLY - 02 - 100 dpi - holly sharpeWords are not my forte  so sadly I cannot express as well as others can my complex feelings on the news today, but I felt the need to attempt to do so too strongly not to try. There are a whole host of reasons why I voted to stay in the EU, which I will not go in to entirely. I hope that in the days, weeks, to come I will be able to be more positive about the whole thing and figure out how we can attempt to get out of this mess.

The whole scenario, for me, has highlighted that this world is becoming too driven by greed, power, and money. And at times appears to have forgotten the power of love and the necessity for human connections, for remaining connected, as individuals and as countries, across the entire world. I believe that people are generally good, inherently so. Yet in many cases this has been clouded over by unhealthy distractions, and has led people to think that the purpose of life is to make money, and to somehow imprint their power on others, and on the world. The media for one has done a stellar job at brainwashing the masses into believing that somehow people that were less fortunate than us to be born in a country in a far worse state that ours are something to be scared of? And to abandon them. To make them feel like they are somehow less than us.

We are all human. And we are only human. And too many people have lost touch of what is at their core, their human spirit. We have so much power in our hands, with the right weapon, or vehicle, one can take another human’s life with such ease. Equally, we are so capable, of such wondrous and special things. Yet we are fragile and easily led astray, and too quick to turn our back, to seek revenge and to play to our egos and to the egos of those in power. NEVER believe that just because someone is in a position of greater ‘power’ than you, in a position to enforce laws, shun the less fortunate, to make a decision that will take the lives of many, to neglect their human spirit in exchange for wealth and power, never believe that that makes them more worthy, more intelligent or ‘right’. We, everyone, all ages, all races, need to question those in power, and speak up.
Headspace, and physical space, in my opinion should be a priority in everyone’s life. Take time out, by yourself, to allow your thoughts to drift, and be unobstructed by pressures and opinions that are not necessarily your own.

Breathe.

new promo Warrior -H.SHarpe 72dpi

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed I have gone from posting quite a lot, to posting nothing at all for over a month now… I needed, wanted, a break. I knew June was set to be a crazy busy month, with work and life, so this was something I felt I had to do, something had to give. Or maybe I just had to close off everything I could for a while. Being a creative is so different, I imagine anyway, from how it must have been back in the day. I can post something before, during and after I have created it, instantly, it has the potential to be seen my thousands of people. This is great, and it keeps me going when people are encouraging etc. But actually, it also adds a whole other element that sometimes I’m not sure is such a good thing. Art needs time, I need time. I need space, a whole lot of space, anyone that knows me well probably knows that too. I cope very well in my own company, but at the same time am very sociable and thrive of the energy of others. But to create my work, and sink into the zone, that blissful place where everything makes sense, I need time, and when life gets so busy and things are so up and down, I will draw back, go back into my shell where it feels safe. The problem is, I have enjoyed being in that space a little too much, I thought I would miss Instagram at least, but I really don’t think I have, it’s like it never happened, I adapted to the change extremely quickly. I will be back, and probably soon… I have a new group of illustrations I have been trying to finish – little preview above of one that is still under construction/ still doing alterations to, but you get the idea… – so will most likely be back when they are finished, and I feel ready to show you them…. LOTS more ideas I want to work on too, but as usual it is a question of time… something I tend to be very unrealistic about.

I still feel like I am trying to catch up with myself, and my work. Speeding along against time, knowing I will never beat it or even come close. And then I try to remind myself, that is not the way to live, there is no use in constantly aiming and clinging to the next goal, the next thing, the next event etc, we must live for today, now, whilst trying to sensibly plan a bit for the days ahead at the same time….

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

Since I have been offline, amongst other things I have crammed in: two weddings, one in an idyllic forest, one in the Scottish Highlands, a trip to Cologne to do an art market/ show, ate some German food, spoke some German, made some new friends, flew home again, been to a three day festival in Scotland, got rained on, got sunned on, danced, jumped in a waterfall and lazed around with my best friends, turned 29, started the process of moving house, taken lots of photos, read some new books, tried to learn some more French, yoga, running, more running, been to Edinburgh, came back, created some new work, looked over some old work, written down lotsss of new ideas, taken more photos, written some words, read some more words, done some more yoga, started to prepare/ organise for an upcoming art fair in London as well as a three week arts market in the Edinburgh festival…. so ye, it’s been a busy month and a bit!

Of course, no picture can sum all of that up… maybe I’ll share some more photos in another post… but for now, here is a random pic from Cologne.

photo

I hope to post again soon with more words and images of what I have done and what I am still to do, as well as the usual random, but hopefully always engaging, musings.

Until then,

Holly

email: hollysharpe@live.com

http://www.hollysharpe.com