Staying Engaged with what Motivates You

Every artist needs motivation, even if they don’t realize it because their motivator is with them everyday. An artist’s motivator can come in the form of a parent, a new’s channel, a book series, or anything that gives you inspiration to make more art.

If you’re an artist, then you might know that feeling of wanting to start a new project after working on the same project for too long because some new inspiration gave you a shift in ideas. This is a healthy thing to have, because inspiration is a hard commodity to find in this hectic time, and you can always shift back to your old project when you’re ready.

I have many unfinished projects that I’ll get back to once I get the right inspiration. In the meantime, starting new art projects is so much fun because I stay engaged with what motivates me.

What motivates you? Some artists find inspiration from the strangest things, like this art made from gutters.

My main source for motivation is YouTube channels like Bobby Duke Arts and Black Beard Productions. These channels motivate me because I get to see other hard working artists do their thing.

So, if you’ve been struggling with motivation lately then consider finding what motivates you and stay engaged with it on a regular basis.

Good luck!

imperfect action

The Power of Swift Action

I used to think I was a perfectionist until I really stared at my art for a long time and realized my functional collage style is far from perfect. If I really was a perfectionist, I would be painting landscapes scrupulously with oil paints or something, not gluing a bunch of random stuff together to create something that kind of looks functional.

After thinking about this longer I came to embrace that “imperfectionist” inside of me and started making really wild art. Then, after taking some lessons from my favorite Ted Talk I started really understanding myself.

Now, I am glad to be nowhere close to being a perfectionist because I believe the power of swift action is a wonderful thing that can bless people’s lives. Instead of calling this imperfect action I like to call it swift action because it’s hard to do anything perfectly if you do it swiftly. I believe that if more people understood that they didn’t have to do things perfectly they would get so much more done and reach their goals faster.

I no longer stress over double checking everything because I just want to move onto the next project. For example, I’ve been finishing a lot more paintings recently because I’m satisfied with how they look. And when it comes to the kind of home decor we share here on my blog, ideas come to my head a lot more frequently because I’m less nervous about caring whether people will like them or not.

I started messaging friends to share this new internal discovery and some people didn’t respect this message but others have changed their lives due to it. I think it’s amazing how much you can get done if only you don’t care whether it’s perfect or not after you call it “finished.” After all, who is to say that Picasso’s paintings are perfect? That’s a far stretch! If Picasso tried so hard to make everything perfect I bet he wouldn’t have finished half of the paintings he did.

My friend who was most impacted by my message was one from Calgary whom I chat with on Facebook quite often. He works for an appliance repair company ( and I don’t think it’s possible for him to cut corners at work when fixing fridges and suchlike but he has been practicing the power of swift action at home and has noticed an amazing increase in productivity. For the first time in his life, he feels safe saying that he’s creative because he no longer stresses over whether his artwork is good or not. He just gets it done and moves onto the next!

This is why my advice for anyone out there struggling with perfectionism should try finishing some paintings even when they know they’re not perfect. After hanging up your imperfect paintings on the wall for a week or two you’ll start to see the beauty in imperfection and this could be the remedy you need to kick perfectionism to the dust. That’s just my advice, anyway. Also, check out that Ted Talk I mentioned above because there’s a lot more too this topic than I covered here.

world travel

Is Travelling Necessary for Understanding the World?

As an architect who loves home decor, I believe travelling around the world can allow an individual to see all kinds of wonderful things that they may not have seen otherwise. Living in different cultures can give architects ideas to blend cultures together in creative ways to invent new styles. But with that all said, I still think travelling isn’t necessary for understanding the world.

I was thinking about this a lot recently because I overheard two young girls chatting. One girl was a home-body who liked to stay in her small town and work from there. The other girl was constantly travelling and worked from her laptop in hotels. They were both around age 25 and one said, “When I was twenty I had already been to 25 countries.” And the other one said, “When I was twenty I had already written 6 books and had a masters degree in history.” Now which one do you think understands the world more?

Sure, travelling allows you to see other cultures face to face and speak other languages in their true contexts. But doing this doesn’t tell you the history of countries in the complexity that a masters degree would acquire. An American can go to Germany and party for a year and another American can stay in America and read on German history for a year. Which one will understand that country more? Why is Germany the shape it is? Why do their vowels sound the way they do? Who was the first Holy Roman Emperor? Why does Germany use the symbolism they do in their flag and national treasures? Partying for a year in Germany won’t answer these questions, and if you happen to be partying with someone who can answer them, did you write the answers down and memorize them?

All in all, there is more than one way to understand the world. The American who stayed home to study won’t know many visceral things that the traveler will and the traveler won’t know many historical things that the student will. Perhaps combining these two learning styles together would create the best effect.

Thanks for reading. We have more to read.

3 secrets for being creative

3 Secrets to Creativity as used by a Kelowna Appliance Repairman

My old friend Joseph from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada and I used to go to high school together. I was always shocked at his accomplishments as a youth, and he was the most creative kid in our classes. But after graduation, after him spieling on about how he would become not only the world’s most successful author but a painter and poet, he surprised everyone, or shall I say disappointed everyone, by becoming an appliance repair mechanic.

My other friends from high school were even more shocked than I was, because I knew it took motivation to create art and although Joseph was very talented and artistic I knew he wasn’t the most determined or diligent. After high school he followed his father’s trade and got the first job he could get. I went on to Art History in college while he was fixing refrigerators and ovens for family kitchens. Of course there’s nobility in providing quality services for domestic homes, but deep down I knew Joseph had the talent to become a great artist if only he could find the right motivation besides fame and money.

Like I said before, if you want paintings you should paint them yourself! But when I visited Joseph’s home several years ago every single painting on his wall was, well, from a thrift store and he hadn’t picked up a paint brush since graduation, let alone attempted to write a story. We didn’t talk much about it, but I knew he wanted to. He had a sadness behind his eyes that shouted, “I NEED TO CREATE! I’m tired of repairing major appliances for people in Kelowna. I want to move to Paris and make masterpieces with my mind!”

Also, I think he was jealous of me because I have less talent than him but I still keep motivated enough to follow my dream and use my creativity to create art. Short story long, Joseph called me a few days after our visit and right away I could hear the depression in his voice. He broke out in tears over the phone and said he had repaired his last appliance. Over the years he had repaired thousands of refrigerators, thousands of ovens, thousands of washers and dryers, was familiar with all brand names like Kenmore and Maytag, had seen the ins and outs of everything from a Hotpoint freezer to a Panasonic microwave–overall had been doing appliance repair Kelowna BC services for nearly two decades!–but he had quit his job. His heart was begging him to quit and follow his passion. But when it came down to making actual art on his first day of unemployment, he froze. He didn’t know what to do, and he had called me for help.

I knew there’s no way I could give my motivation to him. It doesn’t work that way, but I did tell him three things.

follow your passion

3 Secrets to Creativity

  1. Have a mentor. Have a role model, another artist to look up to. Without inspiration from someone you respect, without influence from a style you adore, how can you even know creating art is possible? If you take a newborn baby and put him in a world where no one creates art, how will the baby grow up to know creating art is even a thing someone can do for a living? I told Joseph to find inspiration by choosing who his favorite artist his. He never had a favorite artist before, but I told him once he chose his favorite artist he should study them daily. Motivation comes from seeing that great art is possible, and even a regular guy from a regular city like Kelowna BC can make great art if only he can learn from an expert who’s already done what he wants to do.
  2. Build a habit out of creating. If you’ve never created much, then of course it’s going to feel strange or even difficult to sit down and create something new that this world has never seen before. You need to let your subconscious mind know that you are a creator by building the habit of creating, and the only way to build a new habit is by repetition and getting rid of an old habit. Joseph had already gotten rid of an old habit–repairing appliances for a Kelowna company–and now he was trying to replace that habit with staring at the wall and crying on the phone. He admitted that before he called me he had called everyone else from high school and none of them knew what to say. I told him that he needed to slap himself across the face and stop being so pathetic. I told him he has all the talent in the world to become a great artist, if only he could man up, pick up that pen, pick up that paint brush and create something. Even if he didn’t like what he first created, he would build the habit of creating and let himself know that it’s possible.
  3. Develop your own style that you’re proud of. After completing steps one and two, the third step is to master your craft by becoming your own unique artist. At first, while following the influence of your mentor, your art might seem very similar to their’s, but after a while of building the habit of creating every week, you’ll start to break off that influence and find that there’s a few things you’d rather do differently. Maybe the tone, mood, vibe or some minor details that your mentor gave you may stick around, but the overall style is yours. And the best part is that once your style is yours and yours alone you can really stand out as an artist, for no one else in the world has that particular style. Each one of us is different, and after a while of following our passion our art will too become different. I told Joseph all this and concluded by saying that he should choose a mentor, he should build a habit, and while he’s doing that he should frequently close his eyes and dream of what his own style will be. This is the goal developing artists can look forward to for that motivation to keep growing. I said, “Joseph, if you can only put your head down and continue to grow, one day there’ll be no other artist in the world like you, and your art will be completely unique and then one day a young artist will choose you as his or her mentor.”

So What Happened to our Appliance Mechanic?

Joseph not only loved the advice I gave him, he followed it to a T-square. These events I described were a little less than a month ago, and since then Joseph had not only written his first short story, he got it published in a local journal and painted three paintings as well. Now he’s working on a book about an appliance mechanic who decided to follow his dream and found true happiness. I think we all know where the inspiration for that book came from. I decided to share this story after Joseph called me last night, and he sounded like the happiest man in the world! the sound of his voice brought a tear to my eye. He had done it! And you can, too!