Creativity vs T I M E

I spent a large part of my Sunday developing a mood board for makeup and set design for an ambitious beauty story for Issue #3 of LAUD Magazine. This story hasn't even been pitched yet... so it may not see the light of day. However, considering I have been lying awake at night thinking about it... I am pretty determined to see this though to the end. I feel it has the potential, if done right, to be a real beauty moment. Forgive me for not even giving one aspect away of the shoot... Unfortunately we live in a world where some 'creatives' hear ideas... go away and shoot that idea before you have had a chance to execute your own version. I am an active positive thinker.. however there are some realities of the word you can't escape. Even releasing a sneak peek of my book "We The Painted" and I have seen entire series created off the back of that one concept. Such is the nature of the creative industry. I am sure once I complete this shoot, with some investigation I could find a similar shoot somewhere in the world .... creative coincidence also happens.

Saturday I was in the 'pondering' phase of the idea for this beauty shoot and how I can push my own comfort zone... and I saw this video pop up on Facebook. I really enjoyed the idea of this and kept the question in the back of my mind:

How does time affect my creativity?

This weekend was a rare weekend where I was home both days and my flatmate was away. Essentially, if I wanted, I could have been a hermit and not seen a soul for 2 days. That didn't happen... but what came out of it was really, as much quiet time as I wanted.

This video made me think about what my own creative process actually is. There are some things that I seem to do all the time that the little voice in my head would judge me for... but this weekend I realised it's actually essential for me.  This is what I realised:

  • I come up with most of my creative ideas either in the bathroom, whilst I am trying to get to sleep or when I go for a walk. I need to do these things more often.
  • I need to write it down pretty soon or the idea disappears due of the next idea taking over.
  • Once I seriously start working on an idea in the form of sketches or a mood board... I work best in quiet. I've never consciously put my finger on that aspect and always wondered why I used to want to go home soon after having a creative meeting... I want to get on with it in a quiet place.
  • Sometimes, I need to walk away from the task to either do some housework, watch TV or go for a walk if I get stuck on one of the aspects. This seems to get the juices flowing again.
  • Watching TV time is actually time for me to look at the screen and process ideas.
  • Talking with people about that idea before it's resolved for myself does more damage than good.
  • Other makeup images don't help my initial ideas.... it muddies the creative flow. They help later to paint a creative picture for others involved.
  • Time DOES influence the quality and detail of an idea... so procrastination is best avoided at all costs.

How does knowing all this information about myself help me as a Makeup Artist?

I mean... really! What can I actually take from this to evolve as an artist? Most of the time, in this job, creativity is often pulled out of thin air on a shoot when the photographer/stylist/creative director asks for something more... or even yourself could be the one asking for more. We usually have only a short amount of time to conceptualise a new idea and apply it to the models skin in real time on a shoot. How can knowing that creativity is best nurtured with the gift of time be a positive piece of knowledge for a makeup artist?

For me, I think the answer lies in a dual answer. As a makeup artist... it's our job to know our kit, abilities and creativity inside and out. To know how far we can push ideas and products and to develop our artistic confidence in a way that we know we can deliver a whole range of creative solutions at the drop of a hat. 

The other side of that answer is the actual fact that we need to gift ourselves time as often as possible for idea development. I don't know any successful Makeup Artist who hasn't at least once creatively directed their own beauty shoot. It's something that thanks to LAUD Magazine I have a platform to be able to do that more often. Issue #2 has a shoot that I creatively directed from start to finish. What it means for me is my portfolio is beginning to look like how I have always imagined it.

I don't know what this realisation is going to look in real life... seeing as I am usually surrounded by other people... it might look a lot like me going for more walks... taking more baths... going to bed earlier... even watching more trash tv to really just sit, stare and think. Maybe I could call it 'purposeful creative dates' with myself. For me to drive my body of work in the direction I want to go... booking in deliberate thinking and concept time for myself will be a step in the right direction... instead of waiting until I have a deadline and I do concepts out of deadline fear.

The lesson learnt this weekend is I need to work on creative concepts in my own time to give them space to percolate... not waiting for the green light to go and work on them as that adds time limits. Of course.. I have worked on concepts in the past without a deadline ... however... I want this to happen more often in my life.

For those who are wondering... once Issue #2 of LAUD Magazine is out... I'll write another piece and share what the concept board looked like. You really should grab a subscription... it's cheaper than a foundation, quarterly and will get you inspired for your next shoot x