On Wednesday last week i was given the opportunity to attend 'Reason to be Creative 2014' with some colleagues from work. For those of you that have never heard of it, Reasons to be Creative is a conference for anyone with a creative mind. It takes place in the beautiful Brighton, UK and is a 3 day event full of inspiration and education!
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I only attended the Wednesday and boy were there some train palavers, there and back! Our train from Reading to Gatwick was cancelled on the way there and the train from Gatwick to Reading was cancelled on the way back. Annoyingly, all train sites were saying that they were running, but we made it though and it was so worth it!
The day started with the Elevator pitches which are fast paces, exciting and fresh. There are 20 speakers each given 3 minutes to present their pitch and the audience are then given the opportunity to vote for their favourite 3 who are in turn invited back next year for a full session. Unfortunately, due to travel issues we missed most of these but the ones we did see were really interesting. It's amazing how much information people are able to present in such a short space of time.
Throughout the day there are 3 theaters running different speeches alongside each other so it's a case of deciding which talk you most want to see out of the three. Being creative bodies, we chose the more creative of the talks. The first one we went to see was Lizzie Cullen and her talk 'Owl and the murderous unicorn'. Lizzie is a multi-award winning illustrator based in London, she spoke really well and her talk was fun and enthusiastic. She put on a performance alongside her talk which the whole audience was engaged and enthused by. 'Owl and the murderous unicorn' was all about creativity, what is it, how to find it, how to use it and what to do when you lose it.
She spoke about finding your creative style and how once it has been found, it's one of the most beautiful things artistically. Lizzie mentioned that research and process go hand in hand, in order to produce work that makes sense and really portrays the vision of the work, you have to first understand what the work is about, to understand it's theme or subject.
She talked about her experience of losing her creative mojo and how she went about getting it back. Lizzie said that what really matters is how you are in yourself. In order to create your best work you need to be happy within yourself, if you feel like you're in a creative rut and have lost your muse or inspiration then take time out to fix it, to find it again. One of the most interesting points i thought she made was about being kind to yourself, Lizzie explained how being a dick to yourself and putting yourself down won't help anything and it certainly won't help in finding your creativity again.
Her talk was incredibly interesting, engaging and thought provoking, i'd definitely recommend seeing her talk if you have the opportunity. Check out some of her work in the mean time!
Sara Blake was our choice for the second session. Sarah is an illustrator, fine artist and designer based in New York. Her talk 'Be a Snortvart: Process, Creativity, Business, and being yourself' was based around her personal path with illustration, where she started and where she is now.
Sara explained how design serves a purpose, it has to fulfill a purpose whereas art doesn't have to, art it free and completely subjective. She said the big difference between art and design is that art requires you to love what you do.
"Every child is born an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up" - Pablo Picasso.
She spoke about the notion that we are who we were as kids, it's that simple, the key is being brave enough to listen to that inner child that's got all the answers. Despite the creative discipline, despite the tool, creating what you want to create is really important.
Don't wait for someone to hire you to make your work, do it in your spare time. Finding the time to create what you want to create is so important and she explained how that was how she managed to get to where she is now, on top of that, separating your love of the work from your want for the money will inspire you to create your best work. Sara told a personal story about how she was working her 9-5 and in the evenings working on some awesome illustrative portraits for Nike.
I loved her point about allowing yourself to make mistakes and get lost, she told another story about her journey down to Brighton and how she got lost along the way. She explained how she stumbled across these piano's that had been set up in some stations and how she was intrigued by the people playing them and their stories. The moral was that it's okay to go wrong and make mistakes because in the end you never know what you might discover in the process. Food for thought!
Probably my favourite talk of the day was Gavin Strange's 'The Aisle of Silly'. Gavin is a jack of all trades, a senior designer for Aardman animations, a creative 'berk' as he describes himself and by night goes by the name of 'JamFactory'. He's a 'polymath', someones who's knowledge stretches across many trades. He oozed passion and enthusiasm, the talk was engaging the whole way through and was just fun and really inspiring.
His talk was all about having the courage to be anything you want to be and saying yes because you never know where it might lead. Gavin explained how, as designers, our biggest stress is having to get the work done and to the client on time which, in the grand scheme of things, is so insignificant.
He spoke about not waiting to be asked to do something you want to do, much like Sara Blake, don't wait for opportunities to find you. Everyone has time, instead of watching another episode of Breaking Bad (or whatever it is you watch!) do something useful, create something beautiful.
"If you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life" - Marc Anthony
Gavin talked about the idea that it's okay to be crap, it's liberating. Quantity makes quality, making mistakes through trial and error is the best way to create your best work, it will help you to achieve what you are striving for. Using and abusing the trends is okay, use them, abuse them, mix them up and learn from them, there is no shame in that. He said not to care what any one else thought of you or your work, be weird, be wonderful!
My favourite point of his was to dream big and see how far you can go and most importantly make sure you are enjoying what you are doing, you can't make fun if you aren't having fun.
If you haven't had the opportunity to go to 'Reasons to be Creative' before, i'd definitely suggest getting down there next year. I came away feeling more motivated than ever with a million and one ideas for side projects and totally inspired to create my best work.