Saturday, June 1, 2013

A job that revives my Love for Creativity

Saturday, June 1, 2013
I often tell this story to my juniors at work, especially the fresh grad ones, and those who tell me that they can never live the life they want, to inspire them to discover what is their truest potential and to pursue it. 
For those who know me, they would know that my tale started with the fact that I was never an art graduate at all. My love is very proud of me on this because I did not submit to the system of society.

In fact back when I was in college, when I was studying Mass Communication, majored in Advertising (although we did have an introduction to graphic design), my college mates often tell me that I was definitely in the wrong course because of how often I showed my passion for art in my work. I used to make extra money by painting on their t-shirts and doing body painting / henna body tattoos during college events. I even contributed my crafty skill in the performing arts society by doing make up, dressing the actors and designing the stage (I made a liquor rack lookalike for the bar scene). The only reason why I had to pursue what I pursued was because of my family's wishes. They insist that I studied a course that would guarantee me a steady full time job and a good pay. But it was more than that.. with the economy and the mind set shift, I guess they didn't really see it coming.

I went through a whole different direction after graduation. I enjoyed my studies that's for sure, I mean I had to because I was paying for my own education. I learned alot and that was important. But I had one stubborn rock that was stuck in me- the one where I was holding grudges that I never got to pursue what I wanted which was Art. And I held that grudge in me for as long as I can remember, and now looking back, I am aware that I was my own creative blockage. I used to think that being creative, or being an artist/crafter, you'd have to own a formal education. Yes and no... Yes because well, somethings in this world you just need that piece of 20k over paper. No because, creativity isn't something you can learn actually, it's more like acknowledging it, embracing it, nurturing it... because it is already in you.

who says that you can't become an artist, crafter or a writer on your own? 

Back to my story... 

After grad I went to a different path. While my college mates was going overseas to further their studies, working for big advertising agencies or broadcasting studios, building their careers as journalists, newscaster, actors, etc. I was working at a local English centre, teaching kids English. At the same time, I continued what I did in college, which was painting on fabric. And went to train with a master in fabric painting. You know, since I couldn't do art neither fashion, so I found my own alternative way to do what I wanted to do. My mother was supportive, but of course, on the side we had to worry about money. I had to worry because I had to carry on the responsibilities of providing for the household (my mother is a single parent by the way). 

After that I went to work for a local craft store, and continued learning from my fabric painting master, because she owns the craft store, and learned other types of crafts. I was very young, and naive and yes stubborn as well. Learning was a problem because I was my own creative blockage. 

Nonetheless, I had two fashion shows showcasing my fabric painted apparels coupled with reconstructed fashion. And I also discovered mask painting and incorporated that into it too. At that time, that was my signature. I went on painting on wedding gowns for a local boutique owner, and then jumped from one job to another and hit rock bottom with drug abuse when I was jobless.

Anyways to cut the story short... all in all, I was unaware that i was my own demotivation. I had too much self doubt and blamed the world when it was all me all along. To the extend, I stopped painting: the saddest moment in my life. That time, I remember, everytime I looked at a piece of art or craft created by someone, I felt as if it was far away, so disconnected and a big wave of hopelessness. I was so depress because I knew deep in my heart I was born to live & breath Creativity. I love art, I love the works, the wonder, the message... it was Me.

Somewhere in 2008, I went back to work again, as an art teacher and a lesson planner for an art programme. It never really occur to me that I was actually working for a subsidiary company that belonged to a famous art college that I wanted to apply to so badly when i was in college. When I resigned from that art centre for children, I joined their main company (the art college) and became their creative copywriter. I became part of their creative design team in their little advertising-like agency. It was at my awakening moment about 2 years ago that I realized, SHIT! I am actually here, how amazing things worked out!

Even though it took me about 8 years or more to get here, I am thankful that I am here. It is no wonder how they say God works in mysterious way, because damn right he does. The universe was listening all along... I ended up working at the art college that I wanted to apply for, I get to witness all the art and fashion works, write about it, attend free seminars and sharing by creative professionals, and yes became part of their design agency.
image credits to the students-artists
image credits to the students-artists
image credits to the students-artists
(Sculptures above- each of the sculptures shown above have profound meaning. I am not sure about the first, but I know that the second image actually means Suicide and the third (above) means Sexual Harassment)

So recently, I attended a week-long seminar organized by one of my colleagues who ran it for the advertising & graphic design students. It was amazing, I love these seminars because I get to meet the speakers who were not only creatively awakened but geared up to use their skills for a social cause. It reminded me about my love for art, and how thankful I am to be aware that I am naturally creative in the soul

"I want you to know that you are too! You and everybody else in this world are naturally creative. it doesn't have to be art-related type of creative."

I was caught up in the topics shared by the speakers; one of them was about art history (my favourite), sharing about art nouveau and others, another one was an art director on graphic design for a social cause and the other was an individual who was a self-funded photographer who took photos in places like Cambodia on glue-sniffing children, Palestine to document the lives of the middle east at war, Indonesia after the tsunami in Acheh, and so on and so forth.

I was empowered by these people. I was inspired not because of their artistic ability, but because these people didn't speak about polishing your creative techniques, or learning about design disciplines; they spoke simply about using your talent, your gift, acknowledging your abilities to help social cause. To contribute, to change the world to make it a better place. To empower others too.

I was deeply touched while listening to the speakers, and I couldn't help but was reminded of a situation I encountered sometime ago when I was still with the art centre- I don't mind sharing with you this because it would give me a chance to reflect and release from mental suffering: when I was still at the art centre, I was working under a senior that was supervising my work and performance. One day I showed her my artwork, a picture of a girl I drew (mind you, it was one of the first drawing I did eversince I stopped painting). She made a remark, not because I didn't do a good job, but because I was not capable to draw just because I didn't have any formal art education experience. And also, you've seen my artworks, of course they don't look like the work of a fine arts artist. But it's okay, because I have my own style! Probably just not the kind that everyone likes. But I like it, and that's all that matters.

You see, working in a company that belonged to an art college, it is only natural of them to assume that only individuals with formal art qualifications would be able to do that. But in this case, because I didn't I was given the impression that I was in no position to produce any artworks, or give any artistic /creative opinions non whatsoever because of my missing education. I was very sad of course, not because I was put down, but because of such mindset. But I am grateful for that experience; because it was that moment, that I chose to fight the system that creativity is not just limited by formal art education. It was more than that. I unraveled the boundaries and redefined creativity.

And so when I witness the inspiring words coming out of each speaker's mouth, I smiled to myself. Because I know I was on the right track, and these empowering individuals here, believe in the same enlightened message as me. 

During these years, I have had colleagues come and go, and friends asking me why have I not switched jobs yet or take up offers by other companies. I admit, of course I have thought of it. Sure it may not always seem like happy rainbow colours over here at work, but I know for sure if I look into my heart, I understand my purpose here. Plus, I'd rather choose to magnify the advantages and benefits working here rather than focusing so much on the unhappy moments. Such is life.

Well, Creativity has been redefined. And I hope that by sharing with you this, you continue to be inspired too. So if you have a dream, to do anything, even if you are a stay-at-home mother, it doesn't matter, You still need creativity and that creativity is already in you. Find it, light it up, reconnect with YOU and change the world.

Thank you.

PS: Sorry I couldn't show more pictures; alot of the artworks and slideshows showcased during the exhibition and presentation are private and confidential. 

*Please respect the owners of the content of the images. Images of sculptures work above belong strictly to the students whom have produced them. I do not own any of these works or images. Please do not use, copy or republish any of these images without permission.

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