Being able to create work that you are proud of is a lifelong struggle for creative people. We’re constantly gripped by self doubt and worry about whether the work we do is good enough. And with the current political, environmental and social climate, it’s more important than ever that we find joy in our creative outlet.
Brook Tate is a creative who exudes joy and positive energy. He is a young writer, painter, theatre maker and musician, and we spoke to him about how to create work that excites you.
Here is his advice…
Make sure your space is right
Maybe it’s as simple as getting some natural light or adjusting your chair; make sure that where you’re working is a space you feel comfortable and happy in. Not everyone has a massive window to let the light in, so if you’re working in the evening or a darker space, check your lightbulb is giving you the right colour light to work from.
Find little steps you enjoy
When he’s painting, Brook loves the process of mixing his paint. It gives him space before he starts to think about what he’s creating, as well as enjoying watching how the colours mix together.
In your artwork, there will always be little satisfying steps that you look forward to – be sure to single them out and relish them.
Have time away from your work
You can’t just work non stop and expect to come up with art that you love and is the best it can be. It’s important to factor in time away from your work to just be. Spend time away from the studio, desk, laptop or wherever you work.
Make sure you paint things you love
Brook said to me; “When I’m creating portraits, I’m lucky because I love the people I’m painting” – which is such a valuable way of working. Whatever you’re creating, whether you’re writing a song or drawing a picture, make sure the subject is something that moves you. If you care about the subject of the work, you’re going to be even more excited by the outcome.
If something isn’t right, stop.
For Brook, writing music is like going on a journey. Starting at an idea and following it through a forest or along a path to find something beautiful. You have to trust that it’s taking you in a direction that you want to go and let it lead the way.
However, if you end up somewhere you didn’t want to go, just leave it. If an idea doesn’t excite you anymore, put it to one side and focus on what does bring you joy. Don’t get rid of it completely, just save it for another day where you feel that curiosity returning.
Time + Love + Materials
Natural talent doesn’t exist. At least not according to Brook. With enough time, plenty of love, and the right materials, you can become skilled at anything.
If you find the work you’re creating isn’t turning out how you’d planned, maybe you need to give it more time? Perhaps you need better materials, or access to a different tool? Or maybe you need to focus on doing something that you feel more passionately about?
Enjoy the process, not the product
So much pressure is put on the final piece being perfect that we forget to enjoy the process. Traditionally, singing was used as a way to tell stories, convey emotions and would help us to connect to one another. Today, it’s all about who has the best voice and who looks the part.
“It’s not about being the next Beyonce, it’s about singing because you love it.“
And at the heart of it, that’s the most important thing. Learn to love the process and you’ll love the outcome no matter what. What’s important is that you’re being creative.
Brook Tate is a painter, signer, theatre maker and all round creative living and working in Bristol. You can check out his work here: http://brooktate.com/portfolio
PAPER Arts offers support for young creatives on how to build a creative career and navigate Bristol’s art scene. For more information about the work we do, please email [email protected]