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  • TanyaLeeMarkul

    Hi Trevor -- this is so inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to share and write AND for doing what you do! How can I reach you? I'm the co-founder and chief editor at and I'd love to connect with you!

  • MamaKath

    I have been writing about this for the past 5 years. It was when I realized that a good musician friend of mine was also an amazing writer, photographer and videographer that I started to look around at myself and other artists. Today I start all my first interviews with artists with the question "What other arts do you create in". I explain that, for me, art is the attempt to recreate emotions taking an audience from observer to participant. Art can be many things including cooking, architecture, production, etc. I feel that once we identify our first talent, it releases a raw courage. Later it is either the frustration of people not understanding our "first language" (first art) and/or the curiosity to push our skills that we experiment with new "languages". Ultimately we discover that we have more than one creative talent. What I love about the SoCal arts tribes is that they encourage and mentor this progression.

  • Sue Xiao

    Now I feel a little less alone in my doodling compulsions--not only that but doodling the same figures over and over for the past 8 years of my secondary/higher education life. And you hit it spot on: everything I do outside of work/school draws from the same creative energy. Even within school, it is this impulse to bring something fresh and new into the world that motivates me in things like research and writing papers. And as I embark on the road to becoming a physician this summer, incorporating this energy into my everyday life will become increasingly important for the wellbeing of myself and my patients.

    The next time someone asks me how I can spend hours each summer night in the kitchen, I'll just point them to this article.

  • BarbaraEK

    I think Trevor Burks point is spot on, but I think it extends well beyond art to all kinds of creativity. The ideas people, leaders and others in non-profit work are often involved in multiple projects outside of "work". We apply our creativity to creating community, to working the earth, to working with the products of the earth as we bake, cook, plan events. Working in various mediums feeds our souls and our creativity, allowing us to bring more to the table in our work.

  • Laurie Rosenwald

    At RISD in the ‘70’s, what I called the Swiss Miss style prevailed. Serious theories from the Bauhaus via Basel. Semiotics. Among other peculiar assignments was a concrete book (as in concrete poetry) and I was immediately aware that in this department I had been catapulted into an even more rarified artistic environment that “Fine” Art might have offered. “Univers” was the only acceptable typeface, and then there were the grids. Grids everywhere! No pictures allowed, unless they were grainy black and white photos. And certainly no illustrations! Here’s a word I’ll hate forever: “conceptual.” I think it means “un-stupid.” Design turned out to be even more snobbish and existential than painting. I longed for a down-to-earth project, like designing a new candy bar or something. Besides, I missed drawing.

    So I transferred to the Illustration department. There, luckily, I met Mahler Ryder, a teacher who encouraged every possible kind of artwork, up to and including things that looked kind of like graphic design. I feel sad because he died so young. Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Warhol and Ed Ruscha were among my influences. My theory will always be this: look for the passionate teachers. It doesn’t matter what they teach. Of course the other Illustration professors encouraged me to return to the Graphic Design department, since every single piece I produced included typography, and they didn’t think that was Illustration, really. Uh, okay. I was young and insecure. Now I’m old and insecure. It’s ever so much much better.

    I decided to transfer back into Graphic Design.

    They wouldn’t let me back in the department, unless I took a whole extra year. Clearly, Graphic Design is a very Serious Thing. It was a Big Deal. The Big Choice of Major had become such an issue, such a source of contention that for me the fun of making art was nearly gone forever.

    Here’s the absolute worst thing you can say to the head of a Graphic Design department:
    “Oh, Come On! It’s only graphic design! It’s not like engineering! A building’s not going to fall on somebody’s head or something because I missed half a Semester!”

    The Head said “Now we won’t let you back at all.”

    I was effectively kicked out of Graphic Design. There was nowhere to go but Painting, where no one was minding the store anyway and I had time for a few Graphic Design electives. Thank God for the late Michael Glass. He was the teacher responsible for my own acceptance of the possibility of a lighthearted and tolerant world, where illustration and design and painting could live in Peace and Harmony Together. I brought drawing into my design work, and type into my drawings, and I’ve done that ever since, with happy results. My whole lifetime it’s been a tough sell, but what gets through can be something complete, something my own, and not a little picture in a box set into somebody’s else’s badly-designed text.

    • Cyrena

      Thanks for sharing this story -- it's incredible how often in life people will tell you what you can or cannot do based on preconceived notions. And even better what can come out of creating your own!

    • Jelena Woehr

      I love this story! It seems like they really did you a favor keeping you out of a course of study that would have taught you primarily to conform to an artistic sensibility other than your own.

  • Jenn Coyle

    I was just in the Centre Pompidou yesterday and we remarked about how creative people tend to have multiple outlets and how styles and experimentation is a never-ending journey for creatives and artists. Same goes for designers, and you really nailed it here.

    Recently I've gone to label myself as a multipotentialite, but since all of my passions lie within creativity, I could really just call myself a "typical" creative person with multiple outlets! Love this post.

  • Suego

    Totally agree with you. The creative drive is like therapy, no matter what form it takes. And often the process of creating is the reward. You start with a blank slate, be it paper, a computer screen, a garden, an educational lesson or a recipe, and you create. Using what you know and formulating what you desire, voila, you've made something beautiful and often functional! I am so happy that I have that drive. It's what drives me everyday.

    • Jelena Woehr

      Yes! I heard it mentioned recently that children draw "for fun" but adults somewhere along the way lose that drive to simply enjoy being creative -- we think "unless I could be a professional, it doesn't matter." How silly! I picked up a brush pen for the first time and doodled last night and felt great about it. I always forget how good it feels to create for creativity's sake until I start doing it again.

  • Oliver Warden

    I wonder if this isn't a broader cultural phenomenon. I am an artist as well but a visiting curator mentioned, after seeing all my work hanging on my studio wall at the same time, that my work flipped from medium to medium and content to content like the internet. I felt this was a good point.. my mind is rewiring to take in multiple stimuli in quick succession… so, it stands to reason that my output would be the same. From Facebook to news to tumblrs to my own site, I move quickly and with intent. I currently do interactive performance, paint, video game landscape photography and I am now making a social network as a work of art.

    I think the approach and vision you're talking about isn't "you"-centric or even "art"-centric, it's just a contemporary way to see. And vision informs our practice.

    Social network:

  • Tristan Howard

    This is great and reminds me so much of myself and how i define myself through all sorts of art and creativity, and as i get older i realize i have less time to indulge in the fluidity of just making art for me. I find myself having less creative outlets than before as i get busier and older. But the art, the true, raw art that we create anyway we choose to is very much a craving.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Totally agree. For the new year, I promised myself to sign up for a couple of classes- one in music, design, and art- just to feel a little more well-rounded and balanced again.

  • Sam Osborne

    This article sounds so much like me - always doodling, fiddling, arranging and rearranging objects - I entertained myself for ages the other day with just a piece of paper by seeing how many different ways I could fold it. It's how I understand and process the world and you are so right that being able to do it makes everything feel better :)

  • Sarah Muir

    lovely to be able to give yourself time like this