This Good Friday morning, I attended Danielle Krysa’s talk at Creative Mornings. Even though the subject was humility, the creator of the Jealous Curator also tackled vulnerability and creativity in a way that made us – the 100 or so people listening to her– feel as if she was talking directly to each of us. (Raging case of self-doubt? Who hasn’t experience that?)
She used the “humble pie theory” to approach humility; on one hand there is the sweet deliciousness part of being humble (not being proud or arrogant), but on the other lower part is the soggy crust composed by all those feelings of insignificance, inferiority and doubt.
Danielle recalled that 6 weeks before graduating from her BFA, a teacher told her during a critique of her paintings, “You should never paint again.” Her major was painting and it’s fair to say these words were engraved deep in her soul. For a decade she ignored fine art, concentrating fully in design. It wasn’t until she created The Jealous Curator, a blog that showcases art pieces from artists all over the world, that she allowed herself to look into that part of her identity. But it took her many years to overcome her creative block. So how does/did she do it? (It’s an ongoing process) Well, she asked 50 artists over the world and came up with a recipe to exorcize creative blocks:
- Screw perfection
“You cannot ruin it!”
- Go Outside
Creativity is not going to come if you keep looking at your blank screen or canvas.
- Make rules and play within them
The fact is that artists don’t beginning a masterpiece with a blank canvas.
She also shared with us a recipe for the chocolate goo (the deliciousness part of the humble pie):
- Begin with a scoop of achievable goals: Nope, that solo exhibition at the MOMA is not.
- Add a big dollop of vulnerability. You don’t have to share it on the big, anonymous, trolling world of social media, it can be shared with people you trust, who can give you feedback.
- Finish with a big truckload of “thank you”. Even if you do it with a clenched jaw. It’s an exercise to train your inner critique. Don’t give them a list of reasons why they are wrong.
What I found fascinating is that even though she was focusing on artistic processes, this simple recipe can be applied to almost any creative endeavour. And yes, I felt she was sitting across the table from me, sipping a cappuccino, and helping me step out of my self-doubt cave, where I’ve learned to live cozily for so many years.