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Ever since I remember, I’ve been engulfed in the smells of paints, diluent, wood, varnish, and soap – art in general – because of my momma, who is a painter and craftswoman. That’s one of the things that most impacted me growing up. I have always had the desire to also become an artist of sorts and embrace the lifestyle, energy, perception, and sensibilities, which always brought a sense of purity and beauty to a life that many times is not that pure and beautiful.
Therefore, in my professional path, I started exploring Illustration, 3D modeling, texturing, and graphic design because I essentially wanted that feeling of creating something from nothing to something beautiful. In many ways, that something, that art, had a significant impact on me when I started coding.
You may be asking yourself, what the fuck coding has to do with Art?
For me, coding is like a tapestry: you need to have a vision and join many divergent paths and materials to reach your end goal, your vision. In painting, and I would even say in any creative endeavor, you’ve to start small, set up the piece, your workplace, prepared everything, research, and experiment to assure your vision can be transposed to external material.
Here are some insights I had from bringing that warm artistic side to a more logical cold one:
Looking at problems with various perspectives and different lenses
If you merely see the broken bridge in front of you, you fail to see the path around it. In art, when you want to express something, be it an emotion, a moment, or something spiritual, you’ve to allow yourself look at it in many different ways, close your eyes, and immerse yourself in that moment. In an instant, your mind naturally starts creating images and relationships. And that’s the magic of our associative processes, which we ordinarily call “intuition.”
Going back is better to go forward in the wrong direction
Paint over it, erase it, throw it in the trash, free yourself from feeling that something you made can’t be thrown away and must be fixed. If something is wrong, it’s wrong. Don’t try to mindlessly correct something when you can quickly make it better from scratch. Art, right?
Don’t stop improving, be a perfectionist
If you keep doing something that you already know it can be done in a better way, you’re only prolonging your own suffering. Why? Because it’ll surely blow up in your face in later stages. When you note an area that can be touched up in painting, you do it and don’t blindly finish everything and overlook that area. You’re mindful that what you do now influences what can be made afterward.
Plan, gather references and make drafts
Respect our human need to think about things deeply, to visualize them, to seek answers, and to take little steps that enable us to feel if something is right or wrong. Einstein once said:
“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.
Understand that you can look for inspiration or for art in almost anything in life
The most astonishing answers lie in what surrounds you. So, embrace learning of areas that have nothing to do with yours, because if you accomplish that, your knowledge of concepts, processes, frameworks, answers, and problems, will grow exponentially. When your “associative processes” kick in, they will have a whole library to enjoy.
If something doesn’t feel (look) right, it isn’t right
Be conscious of what your spirit is telling you. If you’re spending hours and hours on something that doesn’t make you happy, it’s not working or not flowing like it should, most probably you’re trying to stick a Square peg in a round hole. So stop whatever you’re doing, breathe deeply, and let yourself think about the problem instead of mindlessly pursuing a solution.
Don’t just do the work; look beyond it. See the art
You’re alive, you feel, breathe, cry, laugh, dream and get angry. If you don’t experience these emotions during your work, you start to be a mindless robot that only does whatever its asked to do. Be yourself, try and look for the horizon, the mountain, and the small things you can do to improve upon what someone asks you to do. Create and bring your own unique vision and value to anything you do.
Open your mind to every possibility, let it engulf you
In the Chaos Theory, there’s this “fascinating idea that order and chaos are not always diametrically opposed. Chaotic systems are an intimate mix of the two: from the outside, they display unpredictable and chaotic behavior, but when you expose the inner workings, you discover a perfectly deterministic set of equations ticking like clockwork.”
Unpredictability enables you to be free to achieve and think about anything. The sole way to obtain great unique insights is to release yourself from the shackles of what you perceive as true or real.
Feel that you’re a creator, a maestro of words, functions, art and vars
Let it sink in. Breathe. You execute decisions that may or may not generate results. If you grab a pencil now and start moving it around, it will create a mess, but you set an intention to the movement, an objective, and are mindful that you’re a creator – a god at that moment – and your potential is limitless.
Take your time and discover your state of flow
Don’t live jumping from fire to fire. Living in urgency induces a state of “fight or flight” in which you’re detached from your own-self because your mind merely wants to survive. Your beautiful, emotionally sensitive spiritual self requires time, peace, and tranquility to come out, so when you achieve the state of flow, be mindful of what you did to achieve it. Be conscious of your needs and you’ll start grabbing hold of your life.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Failing is one of the worthiest things in life. It’s a unique opportunity for growth. With that in mind, being fearless of making mistakes means you’ll reach quicker a solution and learn so many ways that something shouldn’t be done. “Fail fast, fail often.”
Experiment a lot, try alternative ways, ideas, technologies
What happens when you don’t fill your car with gas? It runs out and stops working. The human being also needs to be filled up with new experiments, new ideas and feelings, or it’ll slowly stop moving. Thoughts will be slower, reaction times become reeeeeeeally loooooong, the brain hinders it’s “associative processes,” and life starts to look dull, bland, greyish, cloudy.
However, when you get out of your comfort zone and start trying new things, your whole reality expands, thoughts get faster, you’ve more juice to work it, your brain gets upgraded from being a slowpoke to a cutting edge supercomputer.
So there you have it, some of my insights from growing up with an artist mom and the impact it can have when you let yourself be conscious of your feelings and act on it.
It’s not an easy process to start looking inside and making decisions about it, more so if there wasn’t anything creative in your whole life. Don’t tolerate that excuse or block it because when you do, you start to realize that everything is connected, and we truly are and can be gods of creation.