When I was a kid, I always found solace in picking up a pencil.
The hours would drift by unnoticed when I was huddled over a sketchbook.
If there was ever something on my mind, drawing would soon dissolve anything troubling. Sketching encouraged my creativity. Thinking up landscapes and characters. Even inventing, or dissecting objects.
This natural tendency led me to believe I was more “right-brained” than left.
As a reminder: those who are right-brained are supposed to be intuitive and creative free thinkers. They are “qualitative,” big-picture thinkers who experience the world in terms that are descriptive or subjective. For example, “The skies are gray and menacing; I wonder if it’s going to rain?”
Meanwhile, left-brained people tend to be more quantitative and analytical. They pay attention to details and are ruled by logic. Their view of the weather is more likely, “The forecast said there was only a 30% chance of rain, but those cumulonimbus clouds will probably bring thunder as well as rain.”
Fast forward a couple of decades and you could easily be fooled into thinking the opposite was actually true for me.
I currently help lead a team of machine learning scientists in building artificial intelligent algorithms that trade in the world’s financial markets.
You can’t get much more left-brained than that.
Thankfully, it seems then, I can handle both.
That said, over the past couple of years I started to find myself less creative. I’d simply pegged it to me hitting my thirties, old age n’ all that…
But it got me thinking, I didn’t have an outlet that encouraged real creativity. For sure, I did some writing online and advised a few startups — but all of this still centred upon the real and tangible. When I was writing, it was about startups or AI. I wasn’t inventing characters or landscapes in some dreamt up fictitious world.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, lockdown has given me back some hours in the day to pursue lost passions, learn new skills, and revisit topics. With this in mind, toward the end of March I ordered quite a few books on artists and creative thinkers who I admire. Namely: Da Vinci, Basquiat, Picasso, Banksy and George Condo.
I wanted to get back to seeing the world through the eye of an artist.
When looking through the eye of an artist you’re a bit more observant. The more observant you are, the more acute things are around you. The first thing you notice is the ability to find beauty in the small things around you.
You’re looking at the shadows of objects.
You’re looking at the way fabric falls.
You’re also thinking about the overarching message of the art piece.
It can all get quite philosophical.
“If the ground is covered with snow in which the sun reflects … if you ask someone what color he sees, he will tell you white, pure white, whiter than the sunlight, a little gray in the shadow. Artists will tell you that the shadows are not gray, but a light blue and snow in sunlight is a rich yellow.”Charles S. Peirce
As I continue to think about how to put a (positive) dent in the universe. Specifically what I’m going to dedicate my thirties to achieving. I need to be engaging, or at least exercising, the right hand side of my brain again.
Throughout lockdown, I’ve started to draw and paint. You can see my finished works at Taylor’s Studio. You can also see me translate some of what I’m learning into my entrepreneurial endeavours through my sandbox — where I’m a little bit more liberal and unfiltered in my thoughts that I publish.
Some things that I’ve learned through my reading
- The act of making and creating is deeply satisfying, life affirming and rewarding
- Confidence is crucial. Artists don’t seek permission to paint or write or act or sing; they just do it
- It is by being creative that we are likely to find contentment in our digitised age
- Artists turn nothing into somethings. They do it by behaving like any other entrepreneur
- Big ideas come from the unconscious. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant
- You cannot produce something interesting unless you are interested in something
- Collaboration can lead to unexpected, or otherwise unobtainable, discoveries
- The final stage of the creative process is in fact one of the hardest: turning everything learnt, developed, and tested into something concrete
- “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton
This was the third in my latest challenge to write daily. I’m working on developing my communication skills, and making my writing more personable, and enjoyable for anyone who takes the time to read. If you made it to the end, thank you for spending the time! I’m also trialling the little ‘applause’ below — just give it a couple of clicks if you enjoyed!23