The Portable Artist: Creativity On-the-go!

The Portable Artist: Creativity On-the-go!

Letter Seventeen

Can you take your creative work on the road? Occasionally I love to work in coffee shops. If I’m listening for the cadence of dialogue I can merely take off my headphones and listen to the conversations around me. Need ideas? Listen.

You need to take your show on the road. If you’re feeling stuck, get out of the state you’re in, or at least get out of the house.

With my first laptop computer (way back when) I had the ability to capture my thoughts, ideas, and narratives in a very powerful way. The laptop also gave me mobile access to midi music composition. While I’ve never gotten very good at that, the capture of musical ideas today has become more of a decision about which tool to use rather than how to capture it.

Apples new Music Notes is a great example of an app that gets out of the way to facilitate your creative expression. Open the app and you are presented with a single button, start recording. You then capture a musical idea via voice, guitar, piano, whatever. When you go to play it back, the app gives you some accompaniment options. Drums and guitar. Sometimes the results are useful, sometimes they are more humourous. But the point is, Apple’s app allows you to record your idea. THEN it adds the fun.

You need to take your show on the road. If you’re feeling stuck, get out of the state you’re in, or at least get out of the house. Today’s technology gives us so many ways to connect with our on creativity. And many more ways to connect with others.

Do you paint? Well, I suppose digital paint isn’t quite the same thing. You might need a small watercolor set and a small pad. But everyone else… You need to keep refining your capture system.

Even without knowing which was the chorus and which was the bridge, I was able to know that I had gotten the idea down.

As an example, this weekend, I had a song idea arrive at a very in convenient moment. My fiancé had just arrived home from a long run. She was interested in greetings. The song idea was just emerging. She saw the look on my face and gently closed the door on the office so I could continue. I used the video recorder on my phone and got the idea down right in that moment. And as I was capturing it, I was able to build up three distinct parts. (verse, chorus, bridge) And even without knowing which was the chorus and which was the bridge, I was able to know that I had gotten the idea down. I could then go greet my woman and go on with the rest of my day.

It is important that you can be flexible and agile with your capture system. If you’re a painter you might need to draw. A composer you might need a simple recording program and some innovative input devices. The point is to make sure you can grab your system and go at a moments notice. Then, when the moment strikes you can capture it and get back to the moments of your life.

2-25-16

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2016/02/the-portable-artist/

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image: my morning spot, john mcelhenney, cc 2014

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