I am an art worker, which is to say I work with creative mediums as a job; however, that is different than saying I create artwork. I do also like to create artwork, but that is hard to keep up with, especially when you are an art worker. It is well known to those in creative fields of work that creative exhaustion can lead to difficulty when trying to make artwork in your own time. It’s the one caveat to the old saying, “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy my work or that I am in any way unhappy; on the contrary, I very much enjoy my work and am thankful every day that I have the opportunity to do what I do. I just know that the motivation to engage in making artwork is a little harder to come by. The creative spark needs a little extra nudge, is all.
I have worked at PRA for just about 3 years now, and I have been out of college for 5 years. College was the peak of my creative expression, with abundant projects and content that was rich with imaginative concepts and original designs (if not somewhat messy methodologies). Since then, I have gone through up-and-down periods of creative expression, but I have realized that while working as an “art worker,” there are ways to keep your creative spark alive and to continue creating great artwork in your own time.
The first tip I have is to expand your artistic horizons. Working in other mediums can bring you back to an energetic mindset when it comes to creative expression. I mainly work with digital visual arts through graphic design, video, and photography; in recent years, I have found that turning to more physical mediums has done wonders for my artistic energy. Drawing and painting feel like a breath of fresh air and give me fun avenues to explore. Creating music as an outlet has also been a great way to keep my creative flow going. I recently picked up my old trumpet for the first time in years, and getting myself back into shape playing through old songbooks has also helped reenergize me.
My next tip is to surround yourself with inspiring content. Spending time with others who create artwork can help to put you in the right mood. Seeing their work and possibly collaborating with them on a project can provoke you to develop new and unique artwork. If that’s not an option, following artists online or watching documentaries about artists can also help inspire your work. There are all sorts of awesome content out there and many avenues to access that content. Sometimes the best therapy can be a browsing session on Behance.
My final tip is to make sure that you create a space for making artwork. Regularly set aside a time and place when you do nothing else and have no other distractions. Take time away from your work and the hectic business of everyday life and clear your mind. Interact with those mediums as if it’s your first time working with them. When you do, you will find that creativity pours out of you and that these creative mediums can be brand new to you!