Lightning and thunder play a tug of war
With the most delicate of fibres
Even as torrential rain is contained
Within a tiny vessel
Waves of salty water threaten to flood
The ploughed landscape
Unable to comprehend
Yet desperate to shed the burden
The hand begins to move of its own accord
Meaning manifests through the most unexpected means
The storm recedes
The vessel attains momentary peace
Creative people are often considered temperamental and restless. A lot has been said and written about this. I recently read the phrase “the creative’s curse” somewhere and this poem is my little contribution towards the stereotype.
Some time back, I stumbled upon a video. And I liked it so much, I watched it again, and now I’m sharing it with you (for those who’re impatient, its at the bottom of the post!)
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat Pray Love’, talks about creativity as an external ‘genie’, and how creativity comes to an artist, instead of creativity coming from within an artist.
This video made me realise how many times an idea or thought came to me. My genie came in the form of little bursts of inspiration. And when she came, she gave me sleepless nights. At times I’ve woken up at unearthly hours* , unable to sleep, till I have written down something. And even afterwards, I have felt uneasy at not having published it. Sometimes I’m just too tired to listen to her, and I tell her to come another time. And of course she doesn’t.
This creati-genie has inspired quite a few posts on this blog. And clearly, right now, my genie is on vacation. Or perhaps I’m the one who isn’t sensing her.
Maybe she’s somewhere around me, reading this post. Maybe she’s screaming something, desperately trying to grab my attention. Or maybe she’s just smirking, enjoying the fact that I miss her.
Off late, as I haven’t been blogging, I’ve felt frustrated. Or perhaps my frustration is making me lose connection with my genie.
I’ve had to work hard on this post. It doesn’t help that I actually drove my genie away. But I shall try to answer the question The Daily Post asked bloggers.
Why do I blog?
There may not be just one single answer. And it is most likely a combination of several answers.
Perhaps it is the want of attention, the emotional high of being heard.
Perhaps it is to share our world with others.
Perhaps it is a journal, a memory bank, should we need to refresh our own memories.
Perhaps it is to vent out the frustration within.
Perhaps it is to discover a few things about our own selves.
Or perhaps it is to allow the genies sitting on the window-sill next to us, to take the spotlight for a while.
And maybe, just maybe, it is to sleep more peacefully at night.
I’d hoped to celebrate my 100th post with my genie. But, I suppose she deserves a little break!
I hope you like this TED Talk as much as I did. Is your genie with you? How has your genie helped/troubled you? Let me know in comments…
* unearthly hours here refers to what I term as unearthly – which is not necessarily beyond midnight, but likely at the hour when you are busy relishing your dinner!
Are animated GIFs the stuff of junior highschool hijinks or, are they the political cartoons of the new millennium? What do you think?
My first reaction to this question was, ‘Huh! Those silly little things! Who makes GIF Animations any more? When the web has evolved to PNG and a billion colours, why would anyone even think about a format which has only 256 colours?’
But then… I was reminded of something…
There was a time, when I was obsessed with them. My inbox was full of them. I never had ‘important mails’. But cute cartoons, waving back at me, were important enough for me to collect. These virtual creatures became another collectable item, gathering virtual dust in a folder on the hard disk…
And then, I learnt to animate.
A month-long summer programme introduced to me, persistence of vision, and frame-by-frame animation. An acquaintance showed me the terrifying interface of Macromedia Flash. One look at it, and I came running back to the comfort of MS Paint!
I searched the web-world for freeware. It was fun learning to use applications like Art Rage. Using a small GIF Animator, I strung together individual frames and added, what I thought, were cool transitions.
I found a cute dragon cartoon on the net, and coloured it. I made the dragon blink, and saved the in-betweens in Jpeg file formats. I had no clue, why the quality of the image degraded each time I saved it. Two years later, I got the answer to that.
In our graphic designing class, our teacher tried to explain, what lossy compression meant. While most students stared back with blank expressions, I silently patted myself for being smart!
During our sketching class, I casually mentioned playing with wheat flour, as a child. My art teacher pointed out to me, ‘When you were a child, you were willing to experiment. By using flour and Papier-mâché, you were being creative.’
I realised what he meant, and it applied to almost every other aspect of life. The moment we learn the ‘proper way’ to do things, we refuse to accept anything else. And once we do that, we close our minds. We not only lose our willingness to experiment, but also, our creativity.
Creating these GIF animations was just one of the ways I expressed myself. For me, they were, they are, and will always, represent fun, and creativity. They represent a time when I was willing to experiment, and learn on my own.
* * *
I never thought I would ever go back to GIFs. But I did end up making one not so long ago, for a post. And that’s because that is the only format WordPress allows for standalone animations!
Software: ArtRage – Even after brushing hands with the big guns, I still love it!
Movies13 – a newer version of my main weapon – available at Jans Freeware
Disclaimer: Potential users are requested to use their judgement before downloading any software. Do not hold me responsible for any harm to your computer. While I have used the above mentioned products, I am not, in any way, endorsing these products.
Past couple of days I’ve really been busy trying to evaluate the assignments I’ve done over the past couple of years. I thought I would collect all my work for a portfolio. Most of my stuff was scattered and I’ve been meaning to get a little organised for quite some time now. But for some reason or the other, I’ve not been able to. Well, this time, I somehow managed to do it!
Since setting up the blog, I’ve been meaning to post my stuff online. So here it is! I’ve added two more galleries with some of my best stuff. Apologies for the low resolution. I realise most of the work is amateurish, but its been a roller coaster ride doing most of the stuff. Most of the vector illustrations are really old. And frankly, I’m kind of disappointed that I’ve not been able to create decent works over the past few months.
Going through the files, I realised a gradual drop in enthusiasm, as well as originality over a period of time. And I’ve realised that creativity cannot be forced. One has to have a free mind, and most importantly, the ability to live up to expectations. As long as there is no expectation, there is no pressure. But as soon as someone expects something out of you, it shows. I can now appreciate those people who have to shoulder the responsibility of managing clients, employees and peers in the work environment.
To face tremendous pressure, and still deliver great results, is the mark of a great commercial artist. And this holds good for every field.
Well, that’s all for now.
Since I’ve posted my sketches, it’s only fair that I say thanks to our sketching faculty. Thank you sir! Please visit his Blog Here