June 30, 2024
Make Art or Die Trying

Post #2 in a series working through the book “Make Art or Die Trying” by Stuart Semple.

Here we go with chapter one, titled ‘Ideas’! I've got my portable-sized notebook and a shiny new pen ready to go. I can’t even count how many ideas I've lost simply because I didn't write them down. Semple's first chapter emphasizes that ideas are out there, just floating around. You don’t have to be special to catch them; you just need to be open and write them down before they vanish. The notion that only the highly educated or naturally skilled can call themselves artists has always bothered me. Yet, I still hesitate to label myself as an artist. But with my notebook ready and my mind open, I’m prepared to embrace these floating ideas and make some art.

Not all ideas are good, and that is ok. You need to sift through the bad ideas to find the gems. How else would you recognize a good idea without the bad ones to compare it to? One of the exercises in chapter one is to spend ten minutes writing down as many conceptual ideas as you can, without worrying about how you’d execute them. So, I gave it a try. I‘ll be honest; I’m not thrilled with my ideas (even though the book says not to judge them). But hey, they’re on paper now, and who knows what might come from them later on! Next, Semple challenges us to share at least one of these ideas with the world. Terrifying. It makes everything so real, and people will judge them. But I promised to commit to this book, so here goes:

For context, here are a few example ideas from Semple's book:

  • A cardboard box full of kittens attached to a hot air balloon
  • A group of trees planted to form the shape of an alien when viewed from space
  • A painting of concentric circles, each in a contrasting color to the one before

And now, three of my own, visualized with the help of generative AI:

Idea 1: A tabletop with color tiles that shift

Adobe Firefly generated image of a large table with color tiles that could be moveable.

Idea 2: A sidewalk made of glass with water flowing beneath it

Adobe Firefly generated image of people walking on a sidewalk made of glass with water flowing underneath.*A very impractical idea for water conservation.

Idea 3: a map of the world made with typography representing each region

Dalle-3 Ultra generated image of a map of the world made up of typographic elements. Disclaimer: if this says actual words, I do not know what it says!

The next exercise asks us to take a picture of something every day for 36 days. I've chosen my object and saved the first photo on my phone. Only 35 more days and photos to go and I will share the results.

Stay tuned as I continue this journey through "Make Art or Die Trying." Let's see where these exercises and ideas take us!