Book Pixies : Inspired By Art

Buy a book. Read a book. Pass the book on.

The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do? What else can you do for any one but inspire them? (Bob Dylan)

I was contacted a few days ago by Sam. Sam works in the library of a local school and has been following the free art project for a while now. Inspired by the project, and by Emma Watson’s Book Fairies, the school, Carshalton High School for Girls, has devised a community pay it forward project of its own. This week, Book Pixies came into being.

Students from the school have begun to distribute books in the local area. They visited a children’s hospital this week to start the project and give an interview to hospital radio. You can follow progress and find clues to where the books are being hidden on the school’s Learning Resource Centre instagram account. I wish the girls and the Book Pixies project every success. Who knows, maybe we’ll team up for a joint free art and book drop some time in the future?

I learned of the Book Pixies project while I was deep in preparation for an art exhibition. I was busy making and curating, surrounded by my work and wondering…’is it good enough?’ The timing of Sam’s approach, coincidental though it was, uplifted me, and helped motivate me to put together what became my most succesful art show to date.

I’m delighted to learn that the free art project has inspired others to act, and I am grateful for Sam taking the time to let me know. These little circles and loops are important so I’d like to leave you with something to think about. Who is inspiring you? How are they inspiring you? Have you told them?

Be curious. Start something. Keep going.

Developing and Sustaining A Culture of Creativity

This is the beginning of a curation of some recent talks, projects and workshops on developing and sustaining a culture of creativity in the workplace. This space will grow into a mixture of words, pictures, and practice, and the first thing I want to share is a series of annotated images, which I used to support short talks at Workplace Trends and Clerkenwell Design Week. There were four talks in all, each one slightly different, yet similar enough that I hope this one set of notes covers all the main points.

In summary the talks focused on:

  • Scene setting : some evidence about why creativity at work is important
  • Reluctance : some thoughts on why we don’t use creative practice more readily
  • Getting started : A few ideas on how to bring business and the arts together
  • Creative prompts : Simple steps to spark and sustain the creative process
  • Age of Artists : An introduction to the evolving Age of Artists framework
  • The Free Art Project : Be curious, start something, keep going
  • Reading list
  • Thoughts on managing a creative culture : Taken from the book Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

Here’s a link to all the details. Sustaining a Culture of Creativity. I hope you find them useful and if you’ve any questions – feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line.

More to follow…

Clerkenwell Design Week Day One : Finding Henri

I’m currently at Clerkenwell Design Week (#CDW2018), working as the artist in residence for Ocee Design. The event is huge, with over 100 showrooms open to the public. The weather was excellent on day one, and this helped draw a really big crowd.

On arrival at the Ocee Design showroom there was a very welcoming, lively atmosphere, lots of people being really well looked after. It was a lovely mood to start the working day.

I set to work on the first of a series of signed and numbered free art drop prints which are being hidden around the festival. In total I dropped six yesterday, four in the morning and two more in the afternoon. Here are two of them shown in situ.

The time was passing quickly – a short talk I was delivering at 2pm was on my mind, and I had one or two technical glitches to iron out. With helpful people on hand, the set up was completed, and the talk went well. I’ll be repeating the session throughout the week and I’ll post the notes and slides next week.

The showroom continued to buzz – we have a doodle canvas on display for our visitors to add their names, sketches and thoughts to, and while people engaged with that, I felt I hadn’t really clicked into the artistic gear I was looking for. Earlier, while speaking, I had referenced Henri Matisse. In his later years, as his health deteriorated, Matisse displayed great adaptability in conceiving and delivering the idea of his now famous cut outs. During the talk I used him as an example of willingness to change, and I subsequently discovered one of his prints in the showroom. It struck me that I too needed to change my approach.

A sign was made, inviting people to make art with me, and while I waited for people to engage, I began to make. People showed an interest, conversations started, then I found myself making art to order. Things were moving along nicely, and then – it happened. A kind person responded positively to the art invitation, and there we were, talking and making together.

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The day ended with some excellent conversations about what had been made during the afternoon, and some shared ideas about what we can do on day two and day three. I’m heading back into London in a few minutes, ready for another day of using art to inquire and engage – a tool for expression and exploration. Yesterday I spoke about Henri, and then, when I needed inspiration, I found him. I wonder what will inspire us today?

The people at Ocee Design are a real pleasure to work with. They were busy all day and did a great job of keeping the energy going. The enthusiasm and warmth they have shown me and all their guests is appreciated, and I’m confident it points to things getting even better as the festival continues.