Friday, January 30, 2009

found objects as art and fiction

How to create a path to inspiration by going around a creative block

Creative work thrives on change and variation. Whether you're a professional artist or weekend hobbyist, creativity needs an open mind in which to work and an open mind is one that allows inspiration to enter at any time. However, inspiration is unpredictable when it's allowed to show up on its own; sometimes, it needs to be "found".

To give you an example, it's no longer enough for me to shoot a random subject. I need to know in advance what I want to capture as well as have a reason for capturing the shot. After writing out my ideas and overall thought process, I decided to shoot found objects. Found objects, random items that are found (as they lay) in public spaces, have always fascinated me so I figured this would be a good place to start. But I wanted to spice up these shots, give them something extra beyond just being pictures on paper. Since I write on a regular basis, I thought it would be interesting to add a story to each shot; taken one step farther, I decided to let the subject of the photograph dictate the story.

That's where I came up with found objects as art and fiction. I realized that those objects somehow got to that spot, either on purpose or accidentally. Who was it that dropped that bottle cap? Did the wind blow that piece of paper into the pile of leaves? These types of questions started popping into my head and that's when I knew I was inspired.

Am I suggesting that every creatively blocked photographer start shooting pics of street litter? Not necessarily. What I want you to do is think of something random that most people don't pay much attention to. Maybe it's retail receipts, lint, lost change underneath couch cushions, or even chewing gum stuck to a sidewalk. Find something that is often overlooked and start taking pictures. Ask yourself how that item got there. Try and figure out what, or who, it belonged to before it was left there. Jot down notes on what comes to your mind. And most important, keep taking pictures! Spend an hour going through this process. When you get home or back to your studio, develop the shots and compare them to your notes. At that point, let the thought process flow naturally and see where it takes you.

Inspiration isn't easy. Sometimes it comes naturally but a lot of times, it's not there when we need it most. So go out and find it. Create your own path to inspiration and creativity; and remember, creativity isn't just a fun product, it's a fun process.

(originally posted in JPG Magazine's online community on 10-21-2008)

© 2008 joe blend. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

...get a FREE SNACK with your artwork!

edit: 02-10-09

The promotion ends Wednesday, February 11th 2009 at midnight! There's still time for artwork with a creative snack!

Each of the next 3 artwork purchases through my Etsy shop will receive a free "ink snacks"! The artwork consists of drawings, collage, and photography.

How is this possible?

I've reserved 5 of the 25 copies of the January 2009 edition of "ink snacks" for promotions, gifts, etc. Since I have four left, I decided to celebrate the distribution of this first "ink snacks" edition by giving away a few with artwork purchases. There will be no additional shipping charges for the extra item but standard shipping times still apply.

How do I make sure I'm one of the first 3?

Under "other items", you can click on the sales link which will show you how many items have been sold. If there's three separate artwork sales listed (not including "ink snacks"), then the promotion is no longer valid. I will do my best to announce, through Twitter, how many promotional purchases have been made. If you are interested in the promotion but are unsure as to whether it's over, send an email to info at abstractlatte dot com for clarification.

If I purchase 3 pieces of artwork in one transaction, do I get 3 zines?

Sorry, only one promotional opportunity per transaction.

How long will this officially last?

Two weeks or three artwork sales, whichever comes first.

Visit to view artwork and purchase information. Good luck, your creative snacks are ready for consumption!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

a creation story

I believe in sharing experiences so that others who may be in a similiar situation can benefit from your mistakes/struggles/successes/etc. So in that spirit, I've decided to share my creation story...the message summarized in a few words, the journey to this understanding provided in detail for those interested...

the message creative, have perspective, and enjoy life.

the story

I got burned out in 2008. Not from taking on too many projects but from having too many choices. I'd spent years developing work in photography, drawing and illustration, and graphic design but as the months of 2008 passed, I was able to add technical writing and creative writing. Then came my interest in books. By the end of the year my plate wasn't full, it was overflowing with options for creative nourishment. I was confused, overwhelmed, and stressed. I felt like an amateur juggler, standing in the spotlight for hours, with someone off to the side throwing new objects into the mix at the exact moment I seem to regain control. Something had to change but I didn't know the "what" or the "how".

I decided to do more research and after learning how others managed to find their niche, along with writing a lot of my own thoughts on paper, I came to a few conclusions:

-I enjoy handmade/hands-on work
-I have a lot of interests and ideas
-I love books, magazines, bookstores, coffee shops, and am fascinated with their associated cultures
-Interaction and experience are fascinating

While it seemed like a simple decision, it wasn't until recently that I decided to make the leap of faith towards what my gut instincts were telling me over the last 8 months. I'd read about designers taking what they're interested in the most and making it a career focus; I'd seen the websites of creative individuals that made the same leap I was about to make. Things became clear.

art house + creativity cafe

My decision was to take my love of books, art, bookstores, and coffee shops and mold them into my own personal endeavor that could utilize all of my abilities and interests in a clear, manageable, and functional way.

Instead of allowing my interests to intimidate me, I decided to embrace them. I realized that I was taking things way too seriously and was losing perspective in the process. And the perfect vehicle for this fresh creative journey was right in front of my face for the last three years...abstractLatte. What started as a casual blog ultimately became a foundation for something bigger and more rewarding. It was liberating; like taking that first full breath after quitting smoking or like making that last payment that gets your credit card balance to zero.

I've finally found my niche, now it's time to enjoy it.

I hope my creation story can help those that have a passion in life but are unsure about how, or if, they should approach their idea. Use my story as inspiration to sit down and write out your ideas or talk about them with a trusted friend. But remember that when money/income are involved, extra care and attention are needed...translation/disclaimer: I'm NOT telling everyone to quit their job and start fulfilling their dream! What I am saying is don't be afraid to think about your dream/passion, don't hesitate to plan for its future, and most important...embrace it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

thoughts on materials - "sponges"

primary use: general ink/paint application
overall opinion: Fair

advantages: easy to find, inexpensive, they can create interesting ink/paint treatments.
disadvantages: these particular sponges can be difficult to use when applying ink/paint due to their angles and textures.

misellaneous: My experience with the above types of sponges has given me mixed feelings about their use. I haven't used them often; as a matter of fact, this is probably the least used medium for ink/paint application in my supply of art materials. However, I am willing to use them in future projects since their use can result in interesting treatments; I'm sure they have their time and place but this is one material that I will have to re-visit. I'll update this section with new comments after I've used these materials again.

more thoughts on materials:

...prismacolor markers
...Staedtler pigment liner
...carving block
...coming soon (sketch pencils, espresso)

thoughts on materials - "carving block"

primary use: general ink/paint application
overall opinion: Good

advantages: easy to cut, inexpensive, the blocks are available in a couple of sizes, they are supposedly easier to carve than linoleum.
disadvantages: they crumble if you cut thin forms, the material splits easily if you are not careful when holding the cut pieces.

misellaneous: they're made of an eraser-like high density rubber and take paint very well. You can cut the block with an exacto knife (or is it x-acto?) but I suggest making sure you cut through the block completely before attempting to remove the cut-out forms. If you're looking for an inexpensive but creative way to apply painted letters (or other solid forms) to a surface, these blocks are a good option. The above examples were taken from the letters I used to create the cover typography for "ink snacks".

more thoughts on materials:

...prismacolor markers
...Staedtler pigment liner
...coming soon (sketch pencils, espresso)

Friday, January 02, 2009

"ink snacks" - january 2009 is here!

concept: bite-sized creativity (the January 2009 edition consists of prose and poetry)
dimensions: 4"x4", unfolding to 17"x14"
price per copy: $3.50 USD
# per edition: 25 (with 5 being retained for promotions, donations, and gifts)

purchase information:

[return to main zine page]

first post of 2009!

I thought I'd look ahead for a minute and talk about my plans for the year...

...the first edition of "ink snacks" is completed and will be listed for purchase on my Etsy site sometime this month. I'm also working on a couple of other zine concepts for tentative distribution in March. first brands in the "coffee & tea" section will be displayed in February, assuming I don't run into any issues that could cause a delay. I should have three brands to start (they're all independent or humanitarian-inspired brands), then hopefully add a few sporadically throughout the year.

...abstractLatte has really grown over the last year to include a studio, Etsy shop, and Twitter site. I want to keep the endeavor small so I won't be adding any more major elements to the overall brand. However, I plan on having my new portfolio page for the studio portion completed and installed this month along with new work to be displayed in the "books & art" section of the blog.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and wish you all the best for 2009!