Experimentation Leads to Breakthroughs in Your Creative Life
Take one look at my Instagram feed and you’ll see that I’m inconsistently consistent. You can scroll through about 3 years worth of art to see I’ve been this way since the beginning of my creative life on Instagram.
I’ll never have the decorative checkerboard feed with the hyper-curated artistic style. I’m a little jealous of these people I admit as the consistent aesthetics really draw you in (pun intended) and let you know what to expect.
Just to note; someone I feel does it the best is Dan Lee of @dandrawnwords. Plus he has a wide range of experimental lettering styles that bounce between analog and digital.
You see, I love to experiment.
I don’t know if I’ll ever have a set distinct style I’ll be known for. One thing is for sure, you can always expect the opposite of minimalism because I’m a sucker for the details.
I try simplicity here and there but dammit I hate white space in my drawings. It feels like this space is here for a reason and that’s to jam pack more shit into the canvas to captivate your eyes.
This brings me to my point:
As creatives, I believe we should always be experimenting—that’s how we will push our minds and creative community / industry forward.
Experimenting is Progress
While scanning my IG feed and seeing all the experimentations, it got me thinking about life.
Life is just one big experiment, especially if you’re a creative.
You’re constantly in pursuit of something. You fuck up every day trying to get things right and often get caught up in the failures.
Experimenting is so important because it shows you what’s not working so you can progress to the next thing that is working.
If you take failing at face value and let it define you then it’s easy to lose that experimental spirit.
You are supposed to struggle in your creative life.
As an artist, one minute you feel like you’ve got a heater on your hands then the next piece you question why you even bother creating at all.
The same thing with life, one moment you are riding the highs and the next moment it throws a nasty curve ball that whizzes by your head.
You can’t have the highs without the lows because it’s hard to appreciate things when everything always goes right.
Highs Come With the Lows
I recently had a string of back to back weeks where I had a big win in my creative life followed by a curveball.
The win came with a great freelance coaster project that kickstarted my local creative career with a bang. The project caught some air time on the news and landed me on the front page of the paper.
The project was the byproduct of an experiment and delivered a strong positive message to my community. It was making an impact which is something most artists strive to do with their work.
However, the following week life decided to keep me on my toes.
On Saturday, December 10th, I was driving on the highway headed to my mom’s birthday party. The gentleman I was passing decided to casually swerve in my lane causing a collision that sent my wife and I spinning out of control and almost rolling into a ditch.
Thankfully no one was hurt and there wasn’t a semi or something trailing us as I may not be here talking to you right now.
My wife and I are extremely lucky to be here as this accident could’ve been much worse if a few variables were changed. I’ve been losing sleep by replaying different scenarios of how things could’ve gone.
…I don’t know why I do this to myself…
Essentially it made me realize that life is so short and it could be taken away from you in a matter of seconds.
It definitely made me realize that you are not always in control.
Control & Discomfort
There are only a few things you are in control of and two of those things are:
- your daily attitude (especially when facing adversity)
- what you spend your finite amount of time working on
I choose to find a positive in every situation and realize there are going to be plenty of more good times and bad times on the horizon.
I also realize that I love creating with every inch of my body and every ounce of my soul. If I want to do something wild like draw on pizza boxes or scavenge hobby lobby for random things to draw on with my 40% off coupon then damn straight I’m going to!
You and I can’t let ourselves be defined by one way of doing things because there is so much to create as an artist.
Don’t confine yourself to conventional thinking and be afraid to try new things in life. Getting uncomfortable leads to breakthroughs and pushes the creative community / industry forward.
Experimenting is important because it shows us what’s not working so we can progress to the next thing that is.
I want to constantly get uncomfortable and continue to find out who Scotty Russell is to the core as an artist and as a human being.
Just Do Something
In conclusion, here are a few reminders to not only you but to myself as well.
It’s okay to not be perfect and to have it all figured out. None of us do and that’s what makes experimenting so much fun—it helps you figure things out by the act of doing.
There is no one way of doing things.
It’s okay if you want to try different things.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself in a creative corner of life.
Experiment. Fail. Try again. Try something new, but for the love of all things good just do something.
Living a creative life is just one big experiment—make sure you’re having fun during the process.
- As creatives, I believe we should always be experimenting—that’s how we will push our minds and creative industry forward.
- Experimenting is important because it shows us what’s not working so we can progress to the next thing that is.
- You can’t have the highs without the lows because it’s hard to appreciate things when everything always goes right.
- Getting uncomfortable leads to breakthroughs.
- It’s okay to not be perfect and to have it all figured out.
- Life and creativity are just one big experiment—make sure you’re having fun during the process.
Own the Original Drawing
If this podcast episode resonated with you, it’s available for purchase to serve as a visual reminder to keep pushing your creativity. This week’s episode drawing is available here.Purchase the Drawing