mask#1

 

In over four years since I’ve been editing this blog, I’ve never felt the desire to post my own work alongside all the amazing art and photography showcased here. I’m still a bit hesitant, but also curious to know people’s reactions to these, so I thought I’d share and see — I’m open to feedback.

Four Masks/Manifestations are a series of masks I created following an abstract and self-explorative theme. The idea was to mainly focus on the eyes, the only part of the human face which truly communicates one’s world. In this sense, the rest of the mask is a facial manifestation of what one’s eyes communicate. Read the rest of the statement here, and a few more images here.

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On how to overcome creative blocks and how to improve your self-management

Some of my friends (not many, but there are a few) who know how I use the web will tell you I’ve always got some kind of neat Firefox add-on or a little Mac app that can help getting over problems of productivity, self-management or creativity.

But my addiction to this sort of thing goes further. I actually spend a lot of time procrastinating by reading through self-help articles relating to such things as productivity or procrastination. Obviously this habit has become a bit excessive, since I usually end up spending more time finding new ways to work more efficiently than actually doing any work.

…My point being, I’ve become reasonably slightly knowledgeable on these topics of psychology. All that means is, I’ve read quite a few great articles around the web. And I’d like to share a few of these with you, since, although the conversation is generally more one-sided, I believe you’re all human beings (and most likely creative ones) and must often run into problems of productivity, creativity, self-management and self-improvement.  Am I wrong?

On creativity:

Well, if this is where you’re having trouble, I’d advise figuring out which type of creative block you’ve got.

Concerning what to do about it however, most creative blocks revolve around an issue with your inner critic – you know, all those negative thoughts telling you it’s not worth it or you can’t do it? well in most cases those thoughts can be envisioned as coming from your inner critic. But don’t be fooled, the inner critic doesn’t manifest itself as obviously as one might think. As Denise Jacobs over at A List Apart explains (she likes to call an inner critic a troll):

“The resourceful and clever troll employs many tools to complete its task, ranging from the subtle (distractions and boredom), to the complexities of perfectionism, to diminished confidence and a paralyzing fear of failure.”

And once you’ve dwelt with that biggie, how do you get back to work? I’d suggest this great read on how to reignite your creative spark by the same author.

If that’s not enough expert advice, listen to Brian Eno, he’s got a fair amount of street cred. And maybe even download his cool idea-generating app– Oblique Strategies

On Self-Management:

I have three regular social networking service profiles [Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Twitter], one very comprehensive RSS-reader [Feedly], a few other profiles I’m slowly building up [Diaspora and Linkedin] and countless other accounts on services such as Tumblr, Pinterest..etc. And finally a couple email addresses; one personal and one for the blog.

Gosh, it almost looks like I’m bragging about this neat chain of distractions I’ve wrapped around myself. But the truth is, I do completely embrace the social web, and I have a hard time resisting the urge to open a new account on every new service bringing something enticing to the table.

So instead of shutting myself off from these ‘distractions’ that constantly nag me for attention while I’m trying to produce some kind of work, I read on how to improve my self-management.

First one must understand the science behind procrastination, and how it is a basic human impulse. Everyone procrastinates, it’s not just college students putting off essay deadlines– but also politicians, generals, economists; people who’s actions (or lack of) have real consequences.

That’s if you care about knowing what it’s all about– obviously there are lots of cool tips and tricks on overcoming procrastination.

But it all boils down to self-discipline and self-control or in other words self-management. And again, one must consider that science is revealing more and more on how our self-control may be a muscle that gets tired like any other muscle if used too intensely. I think it’s fair to say that makes sense to most of us– our willpower and the strength to resist an urge is limited.

That’s why re-gaining your self-control or self-discipline when you’re down isn’t a one-step process. You can’t just decide to go back to the gym, spend less money, stop watching tv crap and focus from 9 to 5 everyday from now on. Take little steps one way, and it will affect all other parts of your life with time.

When it comes to online self-control, I like to use the app appropriately named SelfControl.

What’s your take on avoiding / overcoming a creative block or a bad case of procrastination?

p.s: have a great weekend guys!

 

 

On Photo Crediting: Let’s get the platforms involved

Believe it or not, Art Sponge has been around since 2009. That year coincides closely with when I started spending a significant amount of time everyday browsing through Flickr photostreams, blogs much like this one, and image bookmarking sites such as yayeveryday! (in its previous form that is) or . Later on I set my Tumblr dashboard to endless scrolling and that’s where I’ve lost a large part of my days since.

Along with this habit came the awareness of how much stuff gets lost in this vast web of ours. Yet with time I started also realizing there is a discrepancy between images that aren’t credited back to their author simply because of they’re floating on a sharing platform such as Tumblr (that’s no excuse– but there is a difference between clicking ‘reblog’ and actually creating a whole new post), or pictures that are sitting on a website’s front page or a fully formatted blog post.

I recently came across a great write up by photographer Amy Stein (note to self: feature Amy Stein’s photography here asap) who took a great approach to the problem. Her view is that artists cannot avoid having their photos or artworks being shared all over the net, given how the web has become based on social sharing now. Therefore they’ve got to let it happen, and with the help of others in the artist community those who ‘forget’ to link back should be reached out to and asked to attribute the work.

“Let’s create a kind of attribution Neighborhood Watch where we confront site owners, editors and publishers that post images without crediting the artist and kindly ask them to get with the program.” Amy Stein

Personally, I think is a delightful idea– and although it’s never been given such a charismatic label, this kind of movement happens all the time in sporadic outbursts around the web. Most recently I came across a post from personal blogger Yoojin Chung who was having exactly this problem, with the help of her followers who sent emails to the offender she got the website owner to attribute her photograph. There are loads of other example of this sort.

So, what’s my point? Obviously Amy has done a pretty great job at explaining the problem before me. Well my point returns to this idea of there being two kinds of uncredited images: the ones floating around the platforms, and the ones posted on websites. Most often, the former is a result of the latter. For example, a tumblr-user reposts an uncredited image found on a blog and it just keeps being reposted until nobody has any idea where it originated from.

Resolving this might need more than a Neighborhood Watch which can only be effective if the movement is carried out by significant numbers– reaching out to the platforms themselves seems also very important to me.

From my knowledge, I’ve rarely seen much of an emphasis put on crediting the origin of images on the formatting back-end of platforms such as Tumblr, Blogger or even WordPress.

What I mean by emphasis is there should be something that intervenes in the writer’s process of inserting an image that triggers a search for a link to the image author.

Or at least a caption raising awareness around this issue. Or something. Honestly I’m just throwing a suggestion, but I’m sure many people out there have better ideas on how the great people behind blogging platforms could implement a solution to the problem of unattributed images.

What is your take on this issue? Got any suggestions? Fire away!

in the mean time, spreading the word on such websites as LINKwithlove is also great. And if you’re having trouble figuring out what to do with an image you’re about to post, Erin Loechner from Design For Mankind has pia bijkerk created an amazing poster to help out:

Guess Who

Well, I guess I’m breaking my own rules a bit here and showing you guys my own stuff. Why? Because I feel like it and it’s my blog after all :D that’s the beauty of it.

Anyways, These two photoshoots were a great relief after so long taking crappy pictures of coffee mugs.

The first one was Claudia (the one with the short hair). Claudia is beautiful and smily, and a shy (yet daring) young woman. We hung out at one of the nicest parks of my city (Montpellier) and decided to rebel against society and run into the bamboo forest. This turned out to be so much better than I’d expected, with the light coming through the trees and a huge lonely tree in the middle.

The next day I met up with Anna, whom I’d asked to come along to a photoshoot during a party a couple of days ago. She gave a different atmosphere to the pictures, a bit more careless and free. We went back to the bamboo forest and her long crazy hair was flying all over the place. It was glorious.

Un enorme Merci a Anna et Claudia

Anna under a bridge, with really crappy graffiti everywhere

Anna being a lioness in the bamboo forest

Claudia giving me the eye

I’d sure appreciate some feedback on this stuff guys, this blog has reached a reasonable amount of readers per day however the comments section never seems to pick up. Speak up !

more stuff up on flickr and dumplr

  • © 2013 Art Sponge

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