I spent last week in Brighton (UK), attending the Reasons To Be Creative conference, which SiteGround sponsored. Right from the beginning of the event I started hearing the word “stoked” (completely and intensely enthusiastic, exhilarated, or excited about something, according to the Urban Dictionary) unusually often. I heard it repeatedly used not only by John Davey (the great guy organizing the event), but also by many of the attendees. By the end of the event I already knew how it felt like to be stoked myself.
Reasons To Be Creative is one of those rare opportunities to get truly inspired, that you just can’t miss, especially if you are working in the digital creativity space, and even if you are just a business-oriented person with no previous experience with Photoshop or any other Adobe product (as I am). Allowing yourself to be challenged, provoked and inspired is a key ingredient of life and we should be looking for opportunities to get that. Events like this tempt you to want more for yourself, to get better in what you do, and most of all, to unleash your creativity.
Creativity is a result of a hard work
You thought that creativity is a gift and comes easily to few chosen people only? Well there were many speakers on this event, who are globally recognized for their creative genius that were eager to challenge this notion and to present creativity as something that everyone can and should strive for. As Jon Howard (Exec Product Manager for BBC, @swingpants) pointed out creativity is more a result of hard work and drawing connecting lines between the dots of your experience and knowledge. Kate Moross who now makes the album covers for many cool labels, and James White whose illustrations led him to working with clients like Toyota, MTV and more, have a lot to say about the process and the hard work to get there. They wandered for a while, experimented with their work, before settling for the style that makes them unique and brings them the big clients.
Creativity requires courage to be yourself
When you add some courage to the hard work you are on the right track! Many people work jobs that give them financial stability and security, but don’t make them happy and don’t allow them to develop their true potential and creativity. If you feel you are selling your soul for hire, you may be inspired by Sara Blake, a graphics designer and artist from New York, who made amazing large scale murals for the Footlocker Nike House of Hoops Store in New York City. She urges you: “Don’t wait for someone to hire you to do work”.
Many people feel that employers and customers put limitations to their creativity. And from my standpoint of a project manager working with designers, I would say: yes, in every commercial project there are business objectives, apart from the pure aesthetic pleasure. However, you should not be afraid of having your own distinctive style and ideas. People doing design are not just instruments in the hands of the business people. We do things together, each of us bringing our unique expertise. When the aimed business goal matches the designer's unique style, the best results are achieved.
Creativity is not afraid of criticism
If you feel inspired to make the leap in the dark, unleashing yourself, you should be aware that criticism and disapproval are inevitable, but if you accept the good and the bad as sources of learning, you’ll most probably learn faster. James Victore, whose art is full of social causes and powerful messages, said “you have no friends, no enemies, just good teachers”.
So if you think you carry that creativity bean inside you that needs to be uncovered, Reasons To Be Creative will challenge you to stop being an artist in disguise, hired by someone to do anything else but the work you really want to do. You can hear so many amazing, real-life stories of wonderful artists that there is no way you get out of this event without some courage to do the things you like. I hope you will also be as stoked as I was.
You can see pictures from Reasons to be Creative in our Facebook album.