This past weekend, I took myself on an Artist Date. I went to Figment, a multi-media, interactive art event held at the Greenway in downtown Boston. There were all kinds of things to do – I added to a collective mosaic, abstract-painted in a group, contributed to a large chalkboard with the words, “Before I Die, I Want To…,” watched jugglers, listened to a HONK! Band (made up of various instruments and crazy costumes), watched kids making art, saw body-painted women posing for sketches, walked through the Silly Walks zone… it was a lot of fun, and reminded me that art doesn’t have to be serious, and that it can foster community and get people thinking. Also, that we don’t have to be passive consumers of art: we can participate, and contribute.
Julia Cameron, author of the popular book The Artist’s Way, encourages us to go on Artist Dates weekly. To try something new, or do something fun that we haven’t let ourselves do in a long time. In our world of never-ending busyness, it can be difficult to plan something by ourselves, just for fun. Artist Dates are important: they help fill the well of creative ideas and inspiration, which keeps us motivated and helps break through blocks.
I keep a list of potential Artist Dates that I’d like to try, but I also keep it open if something unusual comes up. It can be as simple as walking in a new neighborhood, trying a new food (or baking from a new recipe), dancing in my livingroom, going out to take photographs, going to a gallery or museum… the list is really endless, and as creative as you want to make it. I don’t get one in every week, and I don’t force myself to do a new thing each time, but taking the time to just do something fun and inspiring without pressure reaps many rewards in terms of my energy and motivation. Keeping a list of potential Artist Dates means I always have an idea ready. It can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as a day (or weekend) away.
Plan one for this weekend. Don’t think too much about it, don’t try to make it “perfect.” Just do it.
If you regularly do Artist Dates, let us know some of your ideas in the comments!