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Wishing to expand your creative potential? Ask me Anything about boosting your creativity

Colleen Corradi Brannigan
Apr 12, 2018

You may be good at drawing or painting or creating things... Maybe you keep doing the same things over and over again without moving on or looking into possibilities, which in fact are endless! So...  Why don't you get into something new and explore different possibilities? Trial and error is the key to success. But also curiosity will play a part in it!

Expanding your creative potential is all about changes and starting to look around for new stimuli which may lead to your being a successful artist or creator.

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Conversation (61)

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Were you always artistic? Has it been a bumpy ride?
Apr 20, 2:22AM EDT0
Have you ever dealt with rejection? Were there ever any times when you felt like giving up?
Apr 19, 8:02PM EDT0

No never rejection. 

Times when I felt giving up my art: NO

Times when I felt like giving up working on exhibitions: YES. There is a lot of work involved in doing an exhibition and when you don't see the expected results you feel demoralised.

Apr 20, 1:59AM EDT0
How are your friendships connected with your professional life?
Apr 19, 6:25PM EDT0

I often involve my friends in what I do... some I even work with and I have even started doing shows with them. It is good fun.

Other friends, the more distant ones, I don't involve them if I know that art is not what gives them a buzz. So I don't even mention my projects.

Apr 20, 1:58AM EDT0
The world around you has changed a lot over the years. Today designers and fashion stand for a different thing than they did few years back. What are your thoughts about it?
Apr 18, 8:28PM EDT0

Designers are always artists. Even the position of an artist today is different from what an artist used to be. Times change.... and so do we

Apr 19, 1:27AM EDT0

At what point did you realize that art would be you direction? How did you stay focused? How did your setbacks (if any) help you create your bigger picture?

Apr 14, 8:40PM EDT0

Since I was a child I have always felt I wanted to be an artist. My parents discouraged me all the time so I had to fight to get into an art school since they really did not want me to follow that path. I felt I wanted to create art, so staying focused was just natural to me....  I was (and still am) just determined to carry on doing art.

The only setback when you start is that no one will take you seriously. Some comments often hurt me, even my father who kept saying: "why don't you do this or that... maybe you don't do it because you can't do it.. you don't know how to do it" - he seemed to enjoy mocking me.

I was hurt but just kept doing what I liked.

Last edited @ Apr 17, 2:17AM EDT.
Apr 17, 2:13AM EDT0
What are your plans for 2018? Is there a specific artwork you wish to work on?
Apr 14, 4:36AM EDT0

Apart from shows and exhibitions I don't plan my artwork. I simply enjoy doing what I do and don't spend time thinking about directions to take. Therefore, for 2018 I don't have specific plans.

Sometimes I spend time thinking about HOW to better deliver a message. Take for instance my latest project: I wanted to do something related to innocence... but didn't know exactly how to render the idea of innnocence. So I started thinking about children for obvious reasons, but then it was too obvious to use a child in artwork, since they have been used a zillion times to deliver that kind of message. So I just thought out of the box and came up with animals, particularly bulls who are used in bullfights for fun... and for the enjoyment of people they are brutally killed. Bulls suffer uselessly... and they are innocent. What have they done to deserve this treatment?So this is what I realised:

title: INNOCENT

Last edited @ Apr 17, 1:23AM EDT.
Apr 17, 1:22AM EDT0

I suck as a creative, which is a problem as a travel blogger. How can I begin to become more creative?

Apr 14, 2:43AM EDT0

Think outside the box is my one line answer!

Think wide and differently. As a travel blogger being creative means avoid describing the usual things... look for unusual things or characteristics usually overseen by people. It is like doing macro photography... looking for small details.

As regards creativity in general, one first exercise could be to take a picture from a magazine or book and reinterpret it.We have all seen how Salvador Dali simply added a moustache to the Da Vinci's Mona Lisa to create a funny but interesting piece of artwork! Simply reinterpreting the Mona Lisa created something totally NEW and different.So start looking at a picture and creatively change it!

Apr 17, 1:31AM EDT0
What actually happens in your brain when you make art? How can one harness the power of creative motivation?
Apr 14, 12:44AM EDT0

What happens in my brain I do not know!!I just relax when I create.

Harnessing the power of creative motivation? I don't know how to answer this difficult question!

I don't think I ever harness anything

Apr 17, 1:33AM EDT0
What are good examples of using restrictions to boost creativity and coming up with ideas?
Apr 13, 6:07AM EDT0

A good example is to strictly use only  two colours  and see what you can come up with.. in this case you simply work with concept rather than colouring.

Even doodling can help come up with ideas. If, on the other hand, we use a wide palette of colours, we are focusing on pretty colour combinations or pleasing paintings, rather than imagery.

Apr 17, 1:37AM EDT0
Do you believe that each and every human being has the ability to be creative?
Apr 13, 5:53AM EDT0

I am not sure about this. I belive that some minds are born mathematicians others aren't... some are philosophers, others creatives!If you are willing to be creative, then you have a starting point. Some people do not even wish to be creative since their goals are just different.

Apr 17, 1:39AM EDT0
If you had the chance to live during a different artistic movement other than now, which one would you choose?
Apr 12, 11:41PM EDT0

Probably I would choose the expressionistic movement, which is pretty close to my view : presenting the  world from my perspective so as to evoke emotion and moods 

This picture I am presenting is called Eufemia and it is an interpretation of one story by Italo Calvino, an Italian writer, who wrote a famous book called the INVISIBLE CITIES. In this particular  story, the people who  meet in this city called Euphemia will  invariably change their version of the story every time they tell it. Therefore my imagery stems from the idea of a Babel tower where people confounded their speech and could not understand each other.

Apr 17, 2:01AM EDT0
Do you think that creativity involves putting your heart and soul into your work? Or is it more like letting your mind flow freely to witness the surprising results of your actions?
Apr 12, 7:10PM EDT0

Putting heart and soul into work simply means believing you can develop your cretivity to create something stunning. Creativity is more about letting your ideas out.

You may be creative and have lots of ideas... but if you don't develop these ideas by working hard on them... they will just remain ideas.

For instance: I have several sketchbooks which I keep with me: one at home, one in my car, one in my bag, one at work, one in my country house... so that when I have ideas I will  sketch them down, often with accompanied notes. These ideas will be developed further once I have enough time to dedicate to this project.

Apr 17, 2:05AM EDT0
Were you ever discouraged? If so, how did it it affect your creativity?
Apr 12, 5:08PM EDT0

Discouraged yes many times... but this did not affect my creativity at all

Apr 12, 5:33PM EDT0
In thinking about the things that you have created, is there something that you hated but the public may have loved - and perhaps purchased? How do you explain this?
Apr 12, 4:23PM EDT0

Yes, it happened a few times. I simply thought some pieces were not worthy of being in the show because I simply didn't like them - I happened to sell a sculpture which, even today I have no idea why they bought it.... it must have struck a chord!My obvious explanation is that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder! What I believe is stunning might be ugly for someone else!

Just a  matter of taste!

Apr 12, 5:32PM EDT0
What does a day of work look like for you?
Apr 11, 9:56AM EDT0

There is no such thing as a typical day at work. 

I spend a lot of time in my studio but not always producing art. I sometimes need time to think and develop ideas. Sometimes I just sketch or simply spend time leafing through one of my sketchbooks  to get ideas or simply to edit some old ones. (sketchbooks are an essential part of my life: I always carry one with me even on holiday because sometimes things I see trigger ideas)

There are times when I paint endlessly till I get the painting finished, and there are times when I start something - painting or sculpture - which I will endlessly modify because I don't feel satisfied with it. Therefore, there are productive days as well as experimental days.

Sometimes I sit there looking at my own art and think about how I can make changes and improvements... Sometimes I totally modify things or even paint over an old painting just because I felt like doing it in that moment. Being an artist is a full time job: even when I eat or clean up I have things going through my mind and when this happens I stop to write down my thoughts before I forget about them. Sometimes this turns into new artwork and sometimes just new ideas to be tackled one day!

Last edited @ Apr 12, 2:37AM EDT.
Apr 11, 5:36PM EDT0
How do you help artists who are suffering from creativity block?
Apr 10, 8:42PM EDT0

Some artists  tend to work in a closed environment, in their studios where they never have a chance to meet and exchange ideas with other artists. They keep working on the same things over and over again and never even contemplate of moving forward. They become perfectionists in their own genre but then keep doing the same thing endlessly.

This is a creativity block. They can do nothing more than constantly repeat doing what they have already done a zillion times. 

So, to help them out my first suggestion is to kill their usual ideas and start something totally new! I often employ a rather invasive method: We both work on a project together where I start drawing something : it can be just lines or something more figurative, depending on what I expect of the artist and what changes I might want to make. Then it is the artist's turn. They will work on it for a while and after some time (minutes or hours) I will take over and work my way over the painting but for just a few moments, just to veer their work in another direction. Then it is their turn again.  Going back and forth allows artists to appreciate use of colours that otherwise they would have never used or kinds of imagery which they would not usually approach. However, this method will only work if an artist is open to changes and does not take it personally when changes are made to their own work.

Another thing I often do is to teach them a new skill where the ground is more fertile: this means that they need to start from scratch and start experimenting with new techniques and new ideas. This is by far the best thing that can be done to unblock creativity.

Last edited @ Apr 12, 2:40AM EDT.
Apr 11, 4:17PM EDT0
What are some of the creativity problems that artists come to you with?
Apr 10, 6:51PM EDT0

Some artists don't realise that their pictures are all the same - Same colour palette, same theme, repetitive images. They just know how to do ONE thing .

The moment they realise they have overdone things, is the moment they feel stuck.

Repetitive imagery is typical of those artists who do not experiment and don't want to be outside their comfort zone. They just keep doing what they know they are good at and this inevitably leads to being monotonous.

They are no longer able to think nor experiment .

A good way to get them started with experimentation is to work on subrtactive methods in monotype, where I will have them ink a slab of plexiglass completely black with etching ink and then use several ways (rags, brushes, pins, fingers) to remove some of that ink to reveal an image which will turn out completely different from what they are used to doing. This is just a starting point to develop images and ideas. Here is an example of a monoprint (picture taken during my 2017 summer workshop at my studio in Italy)

Working this way does not allow them to see IMMEDIATELY what they are doing because it is ONLY when the plexiglass is printed that they will see the end result and will finally find how easy it is to be free and work without a pattern!

Last edited @ Apr 12, 2:53AM EDT.
Apr 11, 4:22PM EDT0
Can someone learn to be creative? If yes, how so?
Apr 10, 2:02PM EDT0

yes of course you can learn.

You need to be curious and start learning HOW to look around you. Be stimulated by whatever you see... imagine how you can modify things and that is a good starting point.

Apr 12, 2:55AM EDT0
Are you an artist yourself? What do you create?
Apr 10, 12:51PM EDT0

Yes I am an artist.

I am very eclectic: I enjoy working with several media and get excited about new ways of delivering my ideas: sometimes I prefer painting to sculpture, or printmaking to ceramics... it depends on my mood. Most importantly I always look for alternatives and push things to the limit experimenting with materials and methods.

If you want to see my artwork, click this link where you can see a series of works developed over the years on a theme called the invisible cities.

Last edited @ Apr 12, 2:57AM EDT.
Apr 11, 4:31PM EDT0
How did you become a creativity expert or consultant?
Apr 10, 10:24AM EDT0

As an artist travelling around the world, I had a chance to get in touch with other artists and work with them. Exchanging views and perspective enabled me and them to view things differently. Over the time, this constant exchange opened up a whole new world of ideas and becoming an art consultant was something that just came naturally.

(Colleen in china with an artist friend Lu Guo)

Last edited @ Apr 12, 3:02AM EDT.
Apr 11, 4:37PM EDT0
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