DWeiss Creative

DWeiss Creative

The Creativity of Dave and Dawn Weiss

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All posts by amokarts@aol.com

Book Review:What Do You DO With and Idea? by Kobi Yamada

Okay, okay, okay, I know this is children’s book, so why do I love it so much. I’ll tell you why. Because it’s brilliant and it’s a wonderful representation of a drum I have been beating for 20 years. I first found this book in a gift shop while I was on vacation this past summer. I read it standing by the shelf (not that hard it’s a children’s book, after all) and had tears in my eyes when I was done.

It’s about a little child and his anthropomorphized idea. It shares all the struggles we have with our ideas, the pain of rejection and the joy we feel when we immerse ourselves in bringing our ideas to life. What do you do with an idea? Well that would be a spoiler, but suffice it to say, it’s what I have been saying all along. I loved this book. Author Kobi Yamada did a great job of bringing this concept to its essence so that anyone can understand it and illustrator Mae Besom captures the spirit of this book fantastically.

Lastly I love that this book was written for children, but the truth is children don’t need it. Children already dream and create. The real and lasting impact of this book will be fond in two ways. First that the children will hold onto it when the world begins to tell them they are too old to dream, and second that people reading this book to their children,grandchildren etc. will grasp the concept and begin to feed their ideas again.

I have so much more to say, but by now my review is probably longer than the book so I will end with three words, read this book!

Cause and Effect: What Creatives Can Learn from Kathy Griffin

So the other day, Kathy Griffin posted the now infamous President Trump severed head picture. She thought she was being cutting edge and cool, making a statement. Then yesterday I saw her crying about how the Trumps were bullying her and she has secured a lawyer, I guess to bring some sort of lawsuit against the president of the United States and in that moment I understood, she doesn’t understand cause and effect. Do you?

Now let’s start off with the basics. First this is not a political post, it’s meant to get us thinking about our own actions as we put our creations out for the world to see. For the record, I am not a huge fan of the president, but he is the president of the country where I live and as such, I want him to do great things. Likewise I am not a huge fan of Ms. Griffin. I’ve seen her be funny and I have seen her be over the top and vulgar. In my opinion, the Trump photo crossed a line. That being said, I am a big fan of the first amendment. Now I believe there are extenuating legal circumstances about doing things like this with the president, and I’m not a lawyer, but if those laws were not violated, Ms. Griffin is within her rights to make this photo and share it. I support her right, not because I like her expression, but because I like the freedom to make mine. Is that clear enough?

That being said, while she may have been within her rights to post the picture, it seems she expected there would be no fall out. If that is indeed the case, that was not a reasonable expectation. This is cause and effect and it’s important that we see it as creatives. You may have the right to create something and post something, but others have the right to react to your creation as well. In Ms. Griffin’s case, CNN fired her from what was no doubt a lucrative gig as host of their New Years Eve show, not doubt costing her hundreds of thousands of dollars. The photo was the cause, the loss of the gig is the effect. Now consider all the others who may not want to be associated with this controversy and the end result could have cost her millions. Again cause and effect.

In the same way, we may have something to say as creatives but before we share that creation with the world, we have to consider cause and effect. As Jesus said, “Count the cost.” Will making this statement and venting this frustration be worth the possible fall out? If you believe it will, create it, post it and stand behind it. That’s your right, but understand you also own the fall out.

That’s the other side of this Kathy Griffin story. She now says she is being bullied by the Trumps. I don’t know that this is true. Post a picture of my severed head and you probably won’t see my good side, though my turn the other cheek skills are getting better. Again, though, I don’t think she is seeing cause and effect. She wasn’t fired by the Trumps. She was fired by the news agency who pretty much hates the president the most. I was a little surprised that they didn’t give her an award. For CNN to fire you over something you did to president Trump shows how reprehensible they thought this statement was.

At the end of the day creatives, like it or not we stand behind our creations, so it is very important that we make our choices wisely and count the cost. You might need to take a cool off period before you hit send or post. You might need to rethink what you’re trying to say and of course you’ll want to ask yourself am I speaking the truth in love. It’s cause and effect. Make sure of your cause, because you’re likely to feel the effect.

Embracing Limitations

One thing I become aware of from time to time is that I spend a lot of time writing about the arts on here but not as much time making art. Today I wanted to change that. We’re having a family vacation soon, a couple of days at the beach and I have to admit the closer it gets the more my mind goes there. We’re going to Maryland, a place known for it’s crabs, so I decided to create a crab. Now I could draw a crab with some effort, but I didn’t want to do that. Instead I wanted to test my skills. I wanted to deal with some limitations. I decided to do the piece in Photoshop using only a few tools. Mostly the circle and/or oval tool and some effects. It was an interesting attempt.

Sometimes working with limitations can stretch your creativity. Try it, impose a limitation on your work and see how what you can come up with.

Creative Block Busters: What Am I Missing?

Well in a few months I will be speaking at a writer’s conference on the topic of overcoming writer’s block. As I started working on the handouts, I discovered that I am probably headed for more of a small book than a handout. I began going through this blog to cull themes for the book. In my ideal world I would like it to be 101 ways to overcome creative block. So far I have fifty and while that may be enough, I’d really like to make 101. Ironically, I am a little stuck. Here’s the list: What am I missing? Yes I know some of them may be a little vague, but I know where I am going… Hey there’s another one “Ask Someone/take a poll”!

  1. Start
  2. Don’t Wait for Inspiration
  3. Ideas are Money
  4. Go Looking for Trouble
  5. Jam
  6. Go for a Walk
  7. Get Away From It
  8. The Second Project
  9. Not Too Many Projects
  10. Have a Diversion
  11. Eliminate Distractions
  12. Find/Make Time
  13. Be Prepared
  14. Have Something With You
  15. Your Workspace
  16. Unleash Your Inner Child
  17. Collaborate
  18. Silence the Inner Critic
  19. Ignore the Outer Critic
  20. Brainstorm
  21. Change Your Medium
  22. Do the Hard Stuff First
  23. Fresh Eyes
  24. Change of Venue
  25. Keep it Simple
  26. Deadlines are Your Friend
  27. Break it Down
  28. Minimize Distractions
  29. Believe You Can
  30. Farm It Out (no one is good at everything)
  31. Look Outside Yourself
  32. Rest
  33. Decompress
  34. Avoid Comparison
  35. Redefine Excellence
  36. Start at the End
  37. Ask Lots of Questions
  38. Make It Better
  39. Do What You Know
  40. Who Do You Know?
  41. Remember When It Was Just Fun
  42. Talk to Someone Outside Your Circle
  43. Change Your “Glasses”
  44. What’s Your Motivation?
  45. Re-Organize
  46. Seek Your Higher Power
  47. Ask Someone/take a poll?
  48. What Will Happen If You Don’t Finish?
  49. Finish
  50. Ship It!
  51. Start Again

Flight of the Intruder

As you probably know, one of the things I advocate for all creatives is that you have a hobby beside your creative field. This is a great way to beat creative block and burnout, two things that plague most of us from time to time. My diversion is building models. I always have at least one in the works. I like this hobby because it is still creative and yet it is structured enough that I can do it when I am blocked on my professional projects. I had thought about creating a separate model building blog, but I decided that I already have too many web projects going so I’m just going to make a hobby page here on this site and link al my posts to it.

This project was a blast. One of my favorite builds so far. It’s a Hasegawa Egg Plane. This particular one is an A-6 Intruder. It’s about the size of a plastic easter egg 2-3 inches long. The small size made it a challenging kit, plus it’s really detailed. I tried some new things for me on this one. The biggest one was the use of body putty. Being a primarily a car builder, I don’t usually use it, but this little plane helped me to learn how to use it pretty well. Truth be known I probably would not have needed it. This is one of the best machined kits I have ever built and the fits were outstanding all the way around. The kit has a ton of decals and was really fun to build and paint. My only struggle on this kit was painting the lines on the canopy and this as probably more my issue than the kits. I tried to brush paint the spray paint so the canopy frame would match the fuselage. The paint was a little too thin for that and I will have to readjust for the next kit, because Lord-willing there will be more.

Best of all was the price. I got it on Amazon for $8.00 shipping included (Now $9.04, still a great price1). Now it ships from Japan so it takes a couple weeks to get here, but for free shipping on an already inexpensive kit it was worth the wait.

I had a great time with this kit and I highly recommend buying one.