How to Be Creative. The Artist Mindset

Art Ideas for Kids - So You Can Get Work Done at Home

May 22, 2020(edit)

How are you doing keeping your kids occupied while you try to get work done at home? Many parents are asking for suggestions. I have some ideas that I think you’ll love! And no, I won’t be talking about learning the piano or taking up photography. Those are costly and take a long time. The ones below are cheap and don’t need pre-planning.… View More

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Learning the Piano Again

May 8, 2020(edit)

I hope you had a good week, notwithstanding, you know, the virus. The US unemployment numbers just came out today, and it’s harder and harder to stay optimistic. Have you seen this guitar performance? That’s how I’m feeling right now. We just need to laugh. So in the spirit of fun, I’m doing something different in this blog post. I’m going to let you change the blog topic of this post to whatever you like. How, you might ask? Well, read on my friend.… View More

Learning Piano as an Adult: 1 Year Progress

Apr 24, 2020(edit)

Do you think you’re too old to learn something new? Well, this post might help debunk that notion. Who knows, maybe this coronavirus lockdown might just be the perfect time to dust off that forgotten dream! Mine was playing the piano, and it all started with a spark of inspiration.… View More

Haircutting 101: the Coronavirus Edition

Apr 16, 2020(edit)

Since barbershops and salons are closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, now may be the perfect time for you to make the switch to cutting your own hair. I’ve been cutting my own hair for the past 1.5 years. So, I’m recommending tools, videos, and a shift in mindset that hopefully will fast track your learning.… View More

Synchronicity Example : Back to Piano

Apr 29, 2019(edit)

I’ve been thinking how I got back into piano after 35 years of not playing. I attribute it to synchronicity. I was getting lunch at the cafeteria at my day job, and I bumped into a colleague as I was waiting in line to pay. “Do you want to have lunch together?”… View More

The 5 Second Rule

Jun 11, 2018(edit)

My latest experiment involves Habitica. It is a productivity app that is a role playing game. When you complete habits, daily tasks, and to-dos, you get points and progress through level–just like in a video game. You could also join groups (called guilds) and play together… View More

The Innovation Engine

Jun 5, 2018(edit)

I’m always curious about creativity. I want to understand the conditions that foster creativityäóînot just in my artwork, but also at work. Yesterday, I was surfing YouTube and came across Tina Seelig who created a creativity framework for the workplace. I love things that attempt to explain… View More

Errors and Art

May 29, 2018(edit)

Admitting that you are wrong is hard. That happened at my day job this week. I was working on an analysis, finalized, and circulated it. A week later, someone pointed out an error. A huge error. My analysis was reviewed by multiple people, but the error still got through. I felt really really bad.… View More

“I’m Just Not Creative” Says the Robot

Aug 3, 2017(edit)

There was an article on hyperallergenic this past week entitled Humans Prefer Computer-Generated Paintings to those at Art Basel. The article talked about a Rutgers study where researchers mixed up paintings made by Artificial intelligence (AI) and by Abstract Expressionist painters and asked… View More

What is An Artist Mindset?

Jul 27, 2017(edit)

In this blog, I always talk about the artist mindset. I contend that if you adopt the artist mindset at work, you get better job performance and fulfillment. Work will never be perfect. If it were fun, then it wouldn’t be a job. What does it mean to have an artist mindset?… View More

Creating Habits to Realize Your Dreams

Jul 19, 2017(edit)

In my quest for productive habits in my studio this year, I’ve read a lot of books on how to create and sustain habits. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg is one of the best books I’ve found on the subject. A habit has three components: the trigger or… View More

Perfect In Its Imperfections

Jun 28, 2017(edit)

I just finished reading Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I loved it. One thing that I had to get used to though, as I was reading the book, was the language. It was so dense and convoluted. The language reminded me of one of my photographic influences, Julia Margaret… View More

How to Brainstorm Like An Artist At Work

May 24, 2017(edit)

And that’s the end of the brainstorming session. People then get frustrated, fear looking foolish, and shut up. There must be a better way. We already know the advice on how to brainstorm. We read it in self-help books: keep it high level, don’t eliminate ideas, focus on generating the quantity… View More

To Be A Leader or Follower At Work

May 17, 2017(edit)

Look, everyone wants to be a leader at work. I get it. You want to be recognized as someone who is forward thinking, dynamic, and in charge. But the thing is there are only several spots in that corporate ladder. Do you really want to do strive for that? Is it really what you want? The 80/20… View More

How Creative Are You At Work? Here are Two Indicators

May 2, 2017(edit)

“You have to be creative” is the buzzword right now in the workplace. What does that mean exactly? It’s been my experience as a back-office analyst that when your boss says this, it means ideas that haven’t been tried before. Something that delights people. Like what art does. So how do… View More

Why Do Art When You Already Have A Day Job?

Apr 25, 2017(edit)

The short answer is that whatever art, hobby, or side project you pursue will improve your day job performance and satisfaction. I know it will, because it’s happening to me. And that took me by surprise. The Turn in The Road I’ve been an accountant for 25 years and a little over a decade ago, I… View More

Changes at Work? Think Like an Artist to Beat the Anxiety

Mar 22, 2017(edit)

Is your company reorganizing? Do you have a new boss? Were you “volun-told” a new job? In my former work as a tax accountant and in my current job, I frequently experienced large scale changes. People always say the pace of change should be welcomed. It’s an opportunity, not a threat.… View More

Struggling To Define Your Goals? Try Your Unconscious

Jan 31, 2017(edit)

If you are still struggling with setting some goals for this year, because you can’t think of any, why not try your Unconscious? Your Unconscious already knows what you want to be. You just need to find a bridge between the two realms: the Conscious and the Unconscious. Until you make the… View More

Connecting The Dots at Work

Nov 17, 2016(edit)

“You have to be creative” is a current mantra being bandied around at work. But how do you actually do that in the work situation? I came across a quote from Steve Jobs where he spoke about creativity. He said that it is simply connecting the dots. It’s about connecting disparate ideas,… View More

UFOs and Carl Jung

Jul 11, 2016(edit)

“You should stop tweeting quotes from Carl Jung,” my partner says to me this past weekend. “Why?” I ask. “I think it’s great. My work is about self-discovery, so it’s fine to tweet about what I’m learning right now.” “Still, nobody’s interested in that. Do something else.” I sometimes wish… View More

Plan the Experience Of It

May 19, 2016(edit)

This past week, I washed 500+ cyanotype photograms. Probably even more. I was one of the artists in the Art of Science event at the Maryland Science Center, and by my rough estimate, there were over 500 kids from ages 6 to 14 with parents and teachers who went through my event. This was the first… View More

Personal = Universal

Mar 30, 2016(edit)

I just came back from fotofest, one of the largest photography festivals in North America. Held every other year, it is a month long festival with photography exhibitions across many art venues in Houston. I specifically went there for portfolio reviews, and I met with 21 portfolio reviewers over… View More

Art and Its Relationship to Life

Mar 22, 2016(edit)

If there is one artist that I would love to be when I äóìgrow up,äóù it’s Robert Adams. Born in 1937, he is a photographer well-known for his work during the 1970s on the American West. He was an English teacher before he became a photographer. I identify with him because he started in one… View More

Sex and Cash Theory

Mar 7, 2016(edit)

Here’s another article that has greatly influenced my work and thinking. This one is from Hugh McLeod, elegantly titled the Sex and Cash Theory. I’ve shared this idea since 2012 after reading Hugh McLeod’s book, Ignore Everybody. It has a lot of staying power. I’ve always thought that in order to… View More

Two Perspectives on How To Create Art

Jul 27, 2015(edit)

In my readings, I frequently encounter two opposing perspectives on how to create art. This topic interests me because having been an accountant for 22 years, I’ve always regarded artists with awe. How do they come up with their ideas and their art? And since I can’t usually ask them, I turn to… View More

In The Can or Out Of The Can?

Mar 9, 2015(edit)

There are books that I come across that stay with me for a long time after reading it. Lynda Barry’s What It Is is one of those books. Part autobiography, comic, self-help book, and journal, it is a guide to becoming a writer. One particular page (as shown above) I still think about four months… View More

Art and The Accumulation of Mistakes

Dec 1, 2014(edit)

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams
I marvel at the simple wisdom embedded in the quote above from American cartoonist Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert comics. Perfection is the enemy of creativity.… View More

Artist = Scientist

Nov 10, 2014(edit)

Three images from A Million Suns will be exhibited during the Atomic STEaM Photography show at The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, New Mexico from November 8, 2014 to January 8, 2015. “STEaM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. While… View More

My Prize Winning Stupid Idea

Sep 22, 2014(edit)

Recently, I won third prize at the APA Curator’s Voice Competition. The group show with images from all winning artists is up right now at the ModernBook Gallery in San Francisco until September 27. This is the last week to catch the Approaching The Unreal show. If you are in San Francisco, please… View More

When Losing Is A Lot Like Winning

Aug 11, 2014(edit)

I’m happy to announce that I won third prize at the American Photographic Artists San Francisco (APASF) Curator’s Voice competition! The exhibition will be held on September 4-27, 2014 at the Modernbook Gallery in San Francisco. I’m pretty excited. Lately, I’ve been thinking about this process of… View More

Mind, Hand, Heart

Jul 28, 2014(edit)

I’m new to this artist thing: submitting to juried competitions, getting selected, exhibiting the work, hopefully inspiring a viewer, and selling a print. Everything is an adventure and a learning experience. Recently, one of my images got picked for the Maryland Federation of Art exhibition.… View More

Follow Stupid Ideas

Jul 14, 2014(edit)

In the process of creating art you develop mantras—things that guide you in art making. Here is one mantra: follow stupid ideas. Most of my images start out as stupid ideas. It’s true. If I’m working on an image, and I don’t think that it’s stupid at one point during the art making process, then more likely than not, that image will be dead on arrival (DOA).… View More

How Do You Find What You Really Want To Do?

Jul 7, 2014(edit)

A friend and I decided to have lunch outside. It was nice out–something that will become increasingly rare as summer unfolds. My friend was especially reflective that day, and we got to talking about choices that he made in life. He felt that he hadn’t achieved anything worthwhile. He never made… View More

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