What Artists Do

What artists do
What artists do

I like rebranding.

I like the word ‘rebranding’ because it carries a connotation of bringing new and fresh ideas to something (or someone) that needs an inside-out makeover.

And artists need rebranding.

Why? When we hear the word artist, we can’t hear it without baggage of some sort. Some of the baggage is positive–we think of words like ‘creative,’ ‘inventive’ and ‘imaginative.’ And we also may feel some negative baggage when words like ‘unemployed,’ ‘temperamental’ and ‘irresponsible’ come to mind when someone calls themselves an artist.

Artists are not painters, actors, designers, writers… they are, but they’re more than that.

What really makes and artist an artist?

Artists bring change. 

Artists challenge us.

Artists make our senses come alive. They give sight to dim eyes and open ears full of distraction and worry.

In an often numbing world, artists make us feel again.


To the…

  • Administrator answering the phones today
  • CEO making big decisions
  • Painter picking up the brush again
  • Roofer laying shingles
  • Actor reading for the casting director

…you are an artist of change. Your work is good.  (Tweet that)

How to Cure People Pleasing

Michelle Brea via Compfight

Sometimes I’m a people-pleaser. I think many artists are bent in that general direction.

As artists, we often want applause, recognition or just the satisfaction of knowing we’ve made a difference. None of those things are innately wrong…until they become an obsession.

I know I can be overzealous at times.

I want to be wanted.

I like to be liked.

And I pretend it doesn’t matter to me if someone doesn’t like me–but it does matter.

Why? Because making people happy makes me happy–that’s why I love humor–that’s why I love entertaining, writing and any type of creating that changes something in someone.

Laugh it Up

So how do we fix a people-pleasing mentality?

I don’t know, but the only thing I can suggest is a bit of humor for tempering.

In that light, I present to you three miserable attempts at people pleasing, compliments of my dayjob…

1. Refuse to call people by their actual, real-life names.

There’s someone at work who’s name I got wrong when I first met her. She gave me a look as if to say “and you’re our PR Manager?”Look well deserved.

I called her the wrong name again this past week–and I’ve known her for about six months now. Impressive? Prolly not? Continue reading “How to Cure People Pleasing”

The Difference Between an Artist and a Non-Artist

Earlier this week I met with a successful businessman. He’s built a virtual empire and I’m sure he’s earned enough money to live comfortably for a very long time.

The meeting was beneficial for both of us but it was interesting how I felt after meeting with him, and I found a few questions swirling around in my mind:

  • Why did that meeting feel so hurried?
  • What is the difference between him and me?
  • How do artists fit into a business culture? 

I came to a conclusion that was much bigger than a silly little business meeting… Continue reading “The Difference Between an Artist and a Non-Artist”

Living In Awe



The won’t-let-go-of-you hug.

Favorite things.

As I sit in the quiet of this morning, sharing my heart with a tiny, blinking cursor on a screen in a tiny, beautiful home before anyone else gets up, I am in awe. The rise and fall of my breath and warmth all around reminds me that I have everything I need…and more. Every single need met.


It’s refreshing and astounding how taking one moment at the beginning of the day causes gratitude and thankfulness to well up and spill into the rest of the day. Just by listing those three things at the top of this post, my mind and heart get emboldened, realizing I’m cared for by God and have nothing to worry about. Continue reading “Living In Awe”

Freebie for Your Artist

I have a special gift for you, but first I wanted to thank you.

The Creatives blog has been up and running for a little over a year now and I’ve enjoyed interacting with each one of you and learning from you.

The discipline that it takes to write and be part of the creative community of artists makes me better.

You challenge me. You inspire me. You encourage me to keep creating. Thank you!

Onto the Gift…

The best Black Friday sales is the one you don’t have to pay for right?

Amazon has allowed me to give away my ebook, Ten Commandments for Creatives, completely free.

You pay nada. Zip. Zilch.

(Tweet this info to share the freebie-ness) Continue reading “Freebie for Your Artist”

Real Artists Work

I’m always inspired by being around artists that challenge and stretch me and since I’ve given up being a passion basher, I see people differently, places differently and my fellow creatives differently.

This past weekend my wife and I headed to the city for artistic inspiration: New York City. My takeaway from our getaway: real artists work.


We saw a couple Broadway shows…

In Cyrano De Bergerac, Cyrano’s first entrance was from the street–from house right of the theater. He then ranted throughout the entire theater, climbing several floors of steps to deliver lines at various locations while shrouding his facial protuberance in the dark of the performance hall and the tilt of his plumed hat.

Only a top athlete could accomplish this feat without becoming breathless and extremely winded. Continue reading “Real Artists Work”

How to Enjoy Your Day Job

I’m an artist.

I love creating. I love those who create. I love the whole vibe from creative people.

This past weekend I got to do 24 Hour Plays, where a play is cast, written and performed all the course of 24 hours. Awesome and challenging. It was such a thrill to experience that creativity explosion with other writers, actors and directors (here’s my 24 Hour Play experience from last year).

On Monday, it was back to my day job which isn’t always creative. Like most day jobs, there’s a lot of redundancy, e-mailing, spreadsheets, meetings and numbers.


I love my day job.

  • I love that my employers know I’m a creative person and allow me to do creative things that benefit the company.
  • I love that my day job doesn’t rule my life–it simply borrows me for 1/3 of my Mondays thru Fridays.
  • I love that my day job fuels my creative projects like this blog or writing this book to help other creative people.
  • I love that my day job is teaching me things about business that I wouldn’t know otherwise. Continue reading “How to Enjoy Your Day Job”

When Saying Yes to Others, Means Saying No to Yourself

[box options]Today’s post is a guest post by Amber Kane. Amber holds a Masters of Arts from Union Institute and University of Vermont, crafts amazing scarves/necklaces and writes about it all on her blog. Enjoy![/box]

You’re creative, which means that you might have trouble saying yes and saying no at the right time. 

  • If you are a maker, you are asked to donate your work to silent auction after silent auction.
  • If you are creative you are the go to poster maker, photographer, party planner, home decorator and fixer of all things that require glue.
  • If you are an artist you are the gift maker, dance decorator and problem solver of all things creative

I’m not here to say that helping a friend out is a bad thing, or that you shouldn’t donate your work to a charity that you believe in, but most creative people find themselves saying yes so often to the small things that they don’t feed their own creative journey.

Then they lose their way. Continue reading “When Saying Yes to Others, Means Saying No to Yourself”

Revealing Your Creativity: Cut, Discard, Reject

The sculptor starts with a mountain of stone. He chisels away and discards much of the rock to reveal the statue within the stone. He must cut and abandon parts of the stone first.

The editor starts with a manuscript. She slashes words from the novel to focus the reader on the essentials of the story. She must release words to make other words more potent.

The clothing designer starts with multiple yards of fabric. He reduces the fabric to smaller shapes and patterns to uncover clothing worthy of a runway. He must reject parts of the fabric to create stunning and original design.

nishat nguyen via Compfight

Creativity is revealed.

Art is found within the medium.

Ideas are released during the process. Continue reading “Revealing Your Creativity: Cut, Discard, Reject”