Doubt is the killer of emotions.
I remember looking at a beautiful picture and being amazed at the scenery, feelings of wonder and awe seeping into my soul and then suddenly it faded. Washed away like the etched drawings on the sand by the waves of doubt. Was this a doctored image? Are the colors enhanced by filters? Does this place even exist?
I came away feeling repulsed, cheated, lied to, and I was upset with myself for being so naive. I wanted to sit down and rant on my blog about how dubious people were destroying the truth. Was nature not good enough that we now had to enhance it? Was natural green to die a slow death by manipulated vibrant green? Was the red of a rose not sweet enough that it had to be darkened with the perfected update?
Then a friend, totally by chance, recommended I read the book Steal Like an Artist a book by Austin Kleon. One sentence hit me like a cold icy breeze, Nothing is Original. Creative work builds on what came before, and thus nothing is completely original.
This created a shift in my mindset. My limiting belief that natural means not be tampered with, died. I stopped seeing an artist’s manipulation of the existing to create a work of art as blasphemy and instead began to see it in a new light. When you are in a state of heightened awareness, love, bliss, all the colors are vibrant, darker, and more pronounced, the artist is merely trying to make others see what he or she does.
Empowered by this new beliefe I tried my hand at photobashing. It is the digital art where one takes existing photos and manipulates them to create new images. I created a series of images for my book The Chronicles of Arcanilius using this method. I bought images from Adobe, storyblocks and other sites and then manipulated them to create what I could see in my mind’s eye but did not have the talent to recreate from scratch.
The process was cathartic and I discovered that I quite enjoyed the art of creation. I now use this talent to design the newsletter for my church. I have a pinboard of ideas that I now have for inspiration. A whole new world of creativity has opened up for me by letting go of one limiting belief about creativity.
It’s our own biases that distort our understanding of the world. Half the pain we inflict on ourselves is because of our rigid beliefs on how things should be. We could not enjoy the technology of flight for the longest time because we as a society held onto to the rigid belief that anything heavier than air would fall down. It begs the question what other beliefs are still tethering us to the ground?
Challenge common sense, because sometimes it’s good to be unique.
Ted talk by Steal Like an Artist author Austin Kleon