“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
I have recently been running Bad Art Nights in my home town and thought it was about time I wrote a blog about the purpose of all these fun and games that we are hugely enjoying, and why it can solve so many creative problems.
Bad Art is definitely fun to do. But it also serves a deep, transformational purpose. So what is it that we are actually doing here, and why are we doing it?
First of all, I want to emphasise that if you want to be a visual artist of any sort, of course doing Bad Art will directly help you. If you are a musician, create Bad Music; a photographer? take Bad Pictures! You see where I am going with this.
BUT ALSO – creating Bad Art in the form of painting, drawing, collage and sculpture in a playful manner will also help you if you have a job where it would be disastrous to do it badly, such as being a doctor or a train driver or a parent or an employee – you wouldn’t want to experiment with making a mess of those!
BAD ART DOES THIS FOR US:
When we let go and play, as we did when we were children, we learn to access again the part of our brain that helps us to relax and live in the moment. If you are trying to be too perfect at ANYTHING, you will stop worrying about OUTCOMES because you are “off the hook” (i.e. it is SUPPOSED to be bad, so the result doesn’t matter) – and you begin to enjoy the PROCESS, which will bring you JOY and PEACE.
JOY AND PEACE? CAN I REALLY EXPERIENCE THAT WITH A BIT OF OLD CARDBOARD AND SOME GLUE?
Well, yes. When you experience JOY and PEACE, then, and only then, do you begin to produce work that matters. This will work for you whether you are a visual artist or any other creative person. And guess what? We are all creative people – the whole human race. Everywhere you look, you will see things that have been created by the human mind. So anyone who needs to solve problems by thinking out of the box, or who can’t stop fiddling with details, or who needs to control every situation that they are in, needs at some point to access the intuitive, creative side of their brain – called the right brain – and put the logical, analytical left side to sleep for a while.
Look again at Einstein’s quote above.
In fact, we are often so busy using the tool (rational mind) that we forget to use the huge gift we all have (intuitive mind). We so love to be in control! And if we allow the left brain to be in control all the time, it will do what it does best – and control the whole of us.
WHAT IF WE LET GO?
Would the world come to an end? Of course not. What will happen is that we will allow ourselves to find the gift of intuition again, which is ironically the one we were trying to find by trying to control the outcome of things…..
Access to the Intuitive mind – the place of brilliant, original ideas and lightbulb moments – has acquired many names through the years and one of the modern ones is ”getting into the zone”, or the “flow”. We all know what this means – those magical moments where everything falls into place and seems effortless – but how do we get there in a busy modern world? Not just by chance, but deliberately, and on a regular basis?
SHUT DOWN THE BOSSY BIT
We have to first of all shut down that bossy, controlling, know-it-all, logical, addicted-to-outcomes LEFT BRAIN. And Bad Art is one of the easiest ways I know to do that. When we do Bad Art, we let go of our expectations, forget the concept of an outcome, get it gloriously wrong and laugh at it – in short, we PLAY. Ideas start to flood in and we are suddenly exactly where we want to be – in the “Zone”.
So the aims and the rules of a Bad Art session, which I repeat each week, are:
YOU HAVE PERMISSION:
• TO GET IT WRONG
• TO MAKE A MESS OF IT
• TO BE IMPERFECT
• TO LOOK AT SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK AND STEAL IT
• TO LET GO AND HAVE FUN FOR THE SAKE OF IT
• TO HAVE NO INVESTMENT IN THE RESULT
YOU DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION:
• TO CRITICISE YOUR OWN WORK
• TO CRITICISE ANYONE ELSE’S WORK
BE BOLD! BE RECKLESS! MAKE HAPPY MISTAKES AND LAUGH AT THEM! LEARN WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF AND ABOUT YOUR CREATIVITY! JUMP OUT OF YOUR SAFETY BOX! PRETEND YOU ARE THREE YEARS OLD!
So let’s get more Joy and Peace into our lives and do lots of Bad Art.
(See the Workshops page if you live near me and would like to join in.)