In the days leading up to SXSW Interactive, we’ve been looking at the Hired Guns and Hired Guns pals who will be there. Up today: artist Noah Scalin:
Unstuck: Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing
Friday, March 9, 3:30
Book signing: 4:05
Presenter: Noah Scalin
(your resume in 140 characters or less):
Artist, designer, activist, and author of 365: A daily creativity journal and Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing at Home, at Work, & in your Studio. I made a skull a day for a year and it changed my life!
Why did you want to speak at SXSW?
I wanted a chance to share my story with the terrific range of folks that SXSW attracts; and of course I love having the excuse to visit Austin again! Read More →
The least creative place you can be is most likely where you’re sitting right now.
Like many people, I spend the majority of my workday in one room, sitting in front of a computer. And while my office may be on the more creative end of the spectrum — filled with all manner of interesting objects — it’s still the least inspiring place I find myself on a regular basis.
Workspaces are places of familiarity, but if you’re looking for inspiration, you actually need the exact opposite: an influx of the unknown and a sprinkling of the completely random. And there’s no better way to finding these experiences than just simply getting out of your environment.
For a year, Skull-A-Day, my daily art project, was my excuse to spend part of every day away from my desk. Sometimes it was just going to another part of my office to make something by hand, but very often it required me to get out of the building entirely and spend a some time really paying attention to the world around me. Read More →
Next Monday, October 3, Noah Scalin will teach a Hired Guns Academy class on ways to stay creatively productive.
Are you a perfectionist like me? If you aren’t, I can almost guarantee your company or boss would like you to be one. This is a shame, because perfectionism is probably the biggest roadblock to innovation that you will ever encounter. In fact, letting go of perfectionism, or as I like to call it, preciousness, is the key to unlocking your creative potential.
Over the years we’ve been taught that it’s unacceptable to try out new things that could potentially fail because they will:
A. Waste Time
B. Waste Money
C. Get You Fired
D. All of The Above
So we’ve gotten into the habit of working safely within our comfort zones in order to avoid creating anything that’s less than perfect. This is fine for just getting by, but terrible for moving forward. Read More →
On Monday, October 3, Noah Scalin will teach a Hired Guns Academy class on ways to stay creatively productive.
“In every creative person’s life, we arrive occasionally at a place where creativity stops flowing. For a while we’re happily riding a creative wave and then out of the blue—nothing. For a terrifying few hours (or days, or weeks), we think the next idea will never come. We become afraid that our ideas are not good enough and probably never really were good enough. At worst, some of us just give up completely.”–designer Peleg Top from the preface to my book, Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing
Does that sound familiar? It’s definitely a place I have found myself many times over the course of my 17 years as a creative professional. And while I always managed to find the way back to my creative path eventually, it took the unusual commitment of making a skull every day for a year to finally figure out some practical (and reproducible), ways for generating creative energy at a moment’s notice.
Since I can’t put you in a time machine and have you do your own yearlong project, I’ve created the Get Unstuck class as the next best thing. We’ll cover The Big Seven, a set of basic tools for stretching your creative muscles, which I learned during my own creative journey. And then we’ll put those tools into practice, with a hands-on exercise that will get your creative fires stoked and give you some experiences that you can apply to your own work right away.
There’s no need to wait for the muse of inspiration to show up once you learn to turn on your own creative tap. And this is the class that will give you the tools to you get (and keep) your creativity flowing.
To register for “How to Get (And Keep) Your Creativity Flowing,” click here.
As the man behind the Skull-A-Day Project and 365: A Daily Creativity Journal, Noah Scalin knows about inspiration, and on Monday, October 3, Noah will teach a class for The Hired Guns Academy on something he knows a lot about: getting your creativity unstuck. Here’s a bit more about him:
Richmond, Virginia (after 10 years in NYC)
New York University
Owner, Another Limited Rebellion, a socially conscious design and consulting firm.
Where do you plan to take your column this year?
I plan on teaching the skills I’ve learned about generating creative energy and providing the inspiration people need to commit to real creative change in their lives.
What do you hope to accomplish with your Hired Gun posts?
Have more people making more things more often. This will make them more successful, and more important, more happy. Read More →
When I started giving talks about my Skull-A-Day project, I quickly realized that people weren’t just interested in seeing the skulls I made, they were inspired by my experiences and the things I learned about creative inspiration. So I decided to create a way to help more people have the daily project experience, and more important, get past their excuses for not starting projects themselves (i.e. I don’t know what to make, I don’t know how to start, I don’t know what a blog is, etc.).
Thus was born my book, 365: A Daily Creativity Journal. At the start of the book I said that I wanted to hear from people who took on the daily creative challenge. The response has been overwhelming and amazing. Almost immediately after the book was published I started getting a constant stream of people sharing what they were doing and sending responses to my two-question interview: 1. Why did you decide to do this project? 2. How has doing a yearlong, daily project affected your life?
The answers to the second question have been the most moving for me, and I thought you’d find them inspiring as well. In no particular order, here are a few cool recent projects with the answers their creators gave:
“I’m surprised to find that over the course of these 12 days it has become easier and easier to come up with ideas. The first day was such a struggle, kicking around ideas all day, but yesterday, the idea just came to me. Just image what day 100 will be like! But the really wonderful effect of this daily project is the feeling of accomplishment I have every day, because I created something, however simple, and put it out in the world.” Read More →
Noah Scalin is the creator of the Skull-a-Day project. He’s also the author of 365: A Daily Creativity Journal and part of Another Limited Rebellion, a socially conscious design firm. In this new series for The Hired Guns, Noah talks about what he learned from making his projects and how its lessons can be broadened to help everyone get their creative side back on track.
On June 4th, 2007, I started a blog, posted a small orange paper skull on it, and wrote, “I’m making a skull a day for a year.” The entire process took less than twenty minutes; the hardest part was probably coming up with the name: Skull-A-Day. By the time the year was over, I had developed an international following, with tens of thousands of fans visiting the site every week, gotten a book deal, and begun to do workshops on creativity for corporations and universities. Not bad, considering that none of those things were goals of the project… initially.
Most days, my biggest goal was to just get through the day having completed a unique piece of art, however I could manage it. There were days that I finished mere seconds before the midnight deadline (this was imposed by the fans of the site); there were days that I spent nine hours working on the project (a bit of a jump from the initial twenty minutes); and there were days that I found myself doing things that I would have been previously embarrassed to try (yes, that was me with my hand in the trashcan on the corner of Broadway and 10th). But there was never a day when I didn’t make something. Read More →