11th August 2015 Written by Warholst Just Listen

The Maker's Soundtrack

Making your own stuff can be pretty great. There’s something deeply satisfying about sitting back and admiring the fruits of a good DIY session. But do you know what is even better than making? Making to music!

We love makers here at Warhol’s Children, so we have put together some tunes for you to create to. And as an added bonus, if you’re in need of some DIY project inspo we’ve got that sorted as well… try getting stuck into some do it yourself jewelry. Go ahead, make yourself something pretty, or make a shiny shiny bauble for someone special instead. You know you want to!

Happy creating!

Lots of Love, WC x

14th April 2015 Written by Jessica Chehade Music

The Artist's Perspective: Where Art Thou, Success?

Work, of any kind, is demanding. It requires effort, time, and persistence. But artists’ work, that which is gruelling and rewarding all at once, can provide boundless inner joy once completed. That is, until the next audition, due date, or exhibit…

Miss Sarah Kristine is a 23-year-old singer, dancer, and actor. She featured on Australia’s Got Talent 2013 and The Voice Australia 2014. She’s performed in musicals of The Wizard of Oz and Hairspray, and I have had the pleasure of hearing her versatile and captivating vocal chords live in theatre and concert.

When I spoke to Sarah I tried to dive into her pool of thought, I wanted every drop of her creative juice to seep through my own fingertips and help me write. I sought to know for all the artists out there how one deals with the obstacles of an artists’ plight, I mean, flight.

I meet Sarah at Badmannercafé in Parramatta, It’s 9.30 on a Tuesday morning and she’s still in her workout gear having come from ballet class. She looks surprisingly awake and fresh for a Tuesday morning and I find myself in awe of her already (although this might be because I rarely rise before 9am). We take a lengthy look at the menu and place our orders. “Two soy caps, thanks.”

I spit some questions out in the void for us to have a chat about,

  1. A brief outline of your typical week and how it benefits you as an artist?
  2. What is your ultimate dream/goal?
  3. How does what you’re doing now contribute to this dream/goal?

Sarah is warm and down to earth. As we speak I can see in her eyes the fire and passion of a dedicated artist. She tells me she’s struggled with the daily grind, but seems to welcome it. It makes sense to me, because how can we succeed if we don’t work hard for what we want?

“My week as an artist can be an emotional journey” she says. She works two jobs, one as a singing and dancing teacher three times a week and two days as a receptionist for a construction company. She takes two ballet classes a week and slogs three sessions of boot camp, otherwise she can be found at an acting class one night a week and practising her singing every night.

“Aesthetics are undeniably a huge part of the industry. Therefore, nutrition and exercise are a huge part of my week.” But that’s not the sole reason for her busy regime as she admits that all these activities “benefits me on three different levels; mentally, physically, and disciplinary.” I tell her I’m sure we can all appreciate the need for disciplinary routines as the motto I feel can sometimes inhibit us and prevent the active pursuing our goals. She agrees.

“Inspiration is a dirty word for the creative soul. I believe that completing tasks like finishing a song or starting one, is the very same as an accountant going into their office each morning. It's work.You have to get it done to reap the rewards.

Sigh

But she doesn’t stop there. In order to be on top of the music industry and get herself known and circulating the right places she attends auditions, acting classes, attempts song writing and researches. A huge part of research, networking and publicity involves social media now. Sarah describes the upkeep of social media as “gut wrenching” but even if labouring over Facebook posts and Instagram disheartens you, “we must acknowledge the dominance of social media” she asserts, “irrespective of our liking it or not”.

“I do wish for recognition and for people to admire my work... but ultimately, doing what I love every day and making an income off it is the goal.”

For Sarah, “dreams are goals”, so set the tasks daily that enable you to reach your dream and you’ll be on the right path. “What I am doing is not a routine for before I reach my dreams, I do what I do now as a way of life." She admits there's always more to be done, and she's happy to do it, if it means getting her where she needs to be.

“At the moment, my plan is to invest in an appropriate laptop and music production program to have the ability and freedom to create my own work. My goal within the next three to six months is to have an EP of about five songs. Put them out there in the world of producers and social media and gage the feedback.

Despite the slumps of insecurity, self-doubt and criticism she admits even she goes through, “my aim is to live for the needs and demands of the present day to overcome that” she says. “Yes-sometimes it's hard to wake up at 5:40am to get ready for boot camp. But this is character building! It’s like that moment where you realise, even though you don't want to complete that song, you have the ability to do it. So you do it. Then, once completed (like exercising) you feel elated and strong. A strength that drives you to the next item on your to do list.

Well, her bravado and vibrancy are infectious. I believe she'll achieve her dreams because where there's passion and dedication there must be success, even if it's measured on a daily basis. And hey, this article got written didn't it? Inspiration can only happen when you decide you're ready to succeed.

Image by Carol Matt via The Monday Jam

13th March 2015 Written by Erin Cook Film & Photography

Anne Lynn Sawyer: Seeking Beauty in Nature (and Finding it)

If you’re reading this article right now, there’s a distinct possibility that you’ve got a few creative bones in that body of yours. You’ve made your way to the Warhol’s Children website and clicked on a link that looked a little bit arty. Perhaps you were looking for a bit of inspiration? Or maybe you’re suffering from creative block? Well, read on, dear reader, because Central Coast photographer Anne Lynn Sawyer might be able to help you out.

Anne’s photographs and illustrations are centered on the timeless concept of beauty in nature. Rather than torturing herself by looking inwards for inspiration, Anne prefers to look outwards. She looks outside of herself and outside of her windows in search of material to inspire her art. Nature is her vice and there’s a big wide world to keep her occupied.

Her work is created in the space where her two main interests, art and nature, collide. Anne’s creative practices are so intertwined into her life that she refers to her art as her, “beloved, if not demanding life companion,” before continuing, “we never get bored with each other.” I sat down with Anne to chat about her artworks and the inspiration behind them. It quickly became apparent that she’s just as in love with her ‘demanding life companion’ as she was when they first met…

Erin Cook: Have you always been passionate about creating art or is it something that has developed in recent years?

Anne Lynn Sawyer: The urge to express myself creatively has directed much of what I do for as long as I can remember. As a young child I would draw, colour in pictures, and make all manner of things from what I found around me. I feel truly blessed to have been provided with the sensitivity to see the world around me with creative eyes.

E: How do you view yourself? Are you a photographer, artist, illustrator or perhaps, all of the above?

A: I guess the closest answer to that would be, all of the above, as I draw on facets from a number of disciplines in my work. However, photography has provided me with a tool to amalgamate many of my interests and creative studies.

E: There is an overarching theme of nature throughout your work. Did this occur organically or was it a conscious decision?

A: My passionate love of nature has also formed an enduring part of who I am and has therefore fuelled and provided an infinite source of inspiration for my art creating. I view creative imagery as a powerful tool in the development of awareness for the beauty, diversity and gift of nature and the dire need for humanity’s respect through more sustainable practices.

E: Most of your photographs are instantly recognisable as your own. When creating new works, do you have a set process?

A: The development of a recognisable style for any artist is desirable and actively cultivated as a method to promote and identify your work as your own. However, having said that, I don't consciously follow a process, but merely answer what feels right when I am working. I guess to evaluate my process it would more closely constitute a constantly evolving series of experimentations rather than a ridged discipline. By working in this fashion, I remain fresh, engaged and am always learning throughout the development of new work.

E: How do you get the creative juices flowing when you're stuck in a rut?

A: I guess there are many ways I use to inspire myself to create...I like to go for a walk and just look about me, there is always something interesting out there in the big wide world.

The time of day you choose to photograph can open u a myriad of opportunities for capturing enhanced textural shots as the light is angled strongly in the early morning or as sunset approaches. I go looking for the shadows, which are cast by everything on bright sunny days. Shadows remove the confusing detail and reveal fascinating shapes, which have become altered, often eccentric versions of their creators.

I believe that all of us should view the work of artists and creatives as often as possible; their work is an endless source of inspiration...galleries, street art, craft markets, books, magazines, the internet.

Taking a class in a previously unexplored art form or craft is also a wonderful way of reawakening what lurks deep within the creative Aladdin’s cave that lies in all of us.

E. Do you have any advice for budding young photographers? 


A. Practice truly seeing...learn to look more closely and imagine the potential in everything around you...that which seems insignificant and ordinary may be reinvented by open eyes and an open mind.

Sometimes, the best way to get out of a creative rut is to find out what inspires other creative minds. Anne’s enthusiasm for her art shines through her words, especially when you add nature to the mix. If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. Now stop procrastinating and hop to it!

Image: Anne Lynn Sawyer

22nd October 2014 Written by Tina Hasiotis Trending Conversation

To Think Better, Think Less

We are lovers of the creative. We revel in novelty and are stunned by genius – the sheer imagination behind a creation, a thought or an idea. Demystifying creativity, particularly the source of creativity, has been taken up many researchers: creativity can either be learned via grit, a product of conscious thought. Or on the other hand creativity is mysterious, irrational – a force emanating from the inner workings of the subconscious.

 
Plato held that creativity was not susceptible to naturalistic explanation. For him, it was a “madness” of the Gods within, a form of possession. When a poet becomes engaged with his work, he falls into a “meditative trance, becoming saturated with a pure non-material energy.” The poet is not able to make poetry until he becomes inspired and goes out of his mind…beautiful poems are not human, not even from human beings, but are divine and are from gods.”
What Plato is referring to is freeing your mind. The notion of freeing your mind for something like let’s say, serenity is omnipresent. We meditate, clear our heads, empty our minds and so on, but merely to the end of being ‘calmer’ but we can empty our minds and not only feel better, but do some of our best creative work.


Enter Rousseau.  


From an early age Rousseau developed a passion for walking; finding delight especially from the journey’s guided by chance: peripatetic randomness, or what he calls, “the pleasures of going one knows not where.” Such walks allowed his mind to wander. In his Reveries of the Solitary Walker, we are introduced to 10 chapters of Rousseau’s autobiographical musings toward the end of his life. Through his walks, Rousseau delved deep into self-reflection and self-analysis, rejoicing in his freedom to “converse with [his] soul.” 


“There is something about walking that animates and activates my ideas; I can hardly think when I am still; my body must move if mind is to do the same.”

 

Earlier this year Frederic Gros released his book A Philosophy of Walking where he also spoke of the mind-freeing quality of walking. Of the 3 kinds of walking he describes, he refers to ‘contemplative walking’. This type is similar to that of Rousseau’s walking: a propellant for mind-freeing. “You’re doing nothing when you walk, nothing but walking. But having nothing to do but walk makes it possible to recover the pure sensation of being, to rediscover the simply joy of existing…” It is at this point where our mind is free.


The basic premise here is that walking doesn’t require any particular conscious thought – hence its mind-freeing quality. When we walk, the mind walks also, our minds wander – they roam their own grey cellular paths to find ends that were known but not acknowledged. The good idea, the creative potential wedged inside the deep recesses of our mental workspace. Walk yourself, and you walk your mind along some new creative pathways.


In a study by Oprezzo and Schwartz, it was found that walking improved divergent thinking – the thought process used to generate ideas by exploring many different possible solutions.  They found that walking had a large effect on creativity, and most of their participants benefited from walking compared to sitting. In one creativity exercise, participants were asked to generate analogies for some terms they were given, for example, “robbed safe” could have a response like “empty box”. 95% of participants who went for a walk were able to do so, compared to only 50% of the participants who remained seated.   


And so we walk over to meet a drunken Hemingway, seated in a dimly lit Parisian brasserie. We take a seat, “write drunk, edit sober”, he sputters. In this case, the ramblings of a drunken Hemingway actually shared a fair insight. A 2012 study, found that intoxication can actually fuel creative output. One group of participants were required to stay perfectly sober, the others were required to reach a blood alcohol level of .075. Participants from both groups were then given a creative word association test. (A trio of words is given and the participants have to find a single word which fits each word. For example: stick, light, birthday, with the answer being “candle”.)

 

The results of showed that the drunk students solved more of these problems in less time than the sober students. And alcohol was the main reason as to why the drunken participants were 30% more likely to find the answer from sudden insight. This of course should not taken as a guest pass to chronic alcoholism.  


Why were the results so? It’s because being drunk allows our mind to make connections that it would usually ignore when sober. Much like the mind-freeing quality that walking offers, intoxication, or even something like looking for creative insight when you’re tired at night or in the morning – whenever – is an opportunity for your brain to disengage from the constraints of likely thoughts, and delve into unknown territory.

 
The dimness of Hemingway’s brasserie was conducive to enhancing creative output as well. It’s because dimly lit workspaces make us feel free and uninhibited – both of which are imperative for creative output. Researchers conducted a little study which saw participants divided into small groups and placed in a room with light fixtures from the ceiling hanging directly above the desk. The illumination varied for each group: some receiving dim light (150 lux), general light (500 lux) and bright light (1500 lux). After acclimating for 15 minutes, participants then went to work on a series of insight problems.


Results indicated that the participants in the dimly lit space solved significantly more insight problems than those who worked in the brightly lit room. Those in the dimly lit room also felt freer and less inhibited than their counterparts.


So we go back to roaming Rousseau and a hungover Hemingway somewhere in a dimly lit Parisian brasserie, and we see some of the world’s finest minds, out of their minds – in a good way. Sometimes we have a tendency to make things difficult for ourselves, automatically creating mental boundaries which prohibit us from seeing things from different viewpoints which have the strongest of potential to assist us in creating something beautiful. Go for a walk and think about it. 

 

Image: (c)Jorge Royan, Wikimedia Commons

31st December 2013 Written by Thomas Brooke The New Frontiers

SLOPES: THE INTERVIEW

Remember Slopes? Not the wintry kind but the easy to roll up and down platform - if you have wheels. Melissa Loughnan from the creative team behind the innovative art space gives a glimpse into the gallery’s conception process, curatorship and why diverse art needs these social spaces to thrive. 'Slopes is a play on 'Slumps' which is frequently-used slang for Utopian Slumps, and references the ramp in the middle of the gallery space. The gallery is in what was previously a Citroën mechanics workshop and the ramp was used to transport cars from one level to another. In the division of the warehouse a wall was built at the top of the ramp, so now it effectively leads nowhere. We decided to celebrate this fact through the naming of the gallery and in the layout of the exhibitions, rather than leave it as an elephant in the room.’
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