Creative Experiential Ideas

When I began painting and creating music in earnest (35+ years ago), I’d been told quite a few lies I believed as truths. But I don’t think there’s a bigger one than, “Everything that can be done in music, art, photography, etc. has already been done. All you need to do is stand out.” Bullshit.

To be honest, if you stop and think about it, it has a ‘ring’ of truth in it, doesn’t it? If you start an electronic no-wave project, I already exist as Anything Box (shameless plug). If you want to paint in Abstract Expressionism, there are plenty of artists doing it (my hand goes up too).

But does this make it true that you cannot be FIRST in something in these areas of art and music? It’s important. Think about this. Don’t let cynicism into your heart. I’m speaking to you as a real person, direct to your creative soul.

Think about it long enough and you will realize that there are firsts happening all the time. And it does not make other artists more special than you. They just got there first. But how? How did they do something as a first? Because when asked, each usually says it was a chance thing. No. It wasn’t. Being first takes work that goes beyond the creative work itself. Sometimes it can be a fluke. But usually, it is not. Learn!

The artist, Marshmello (?) played a gig on the video game Fortnite, and it was a huge success. And don’t snicker at the fact that he has millions of followers on Youtube. Don’t be cynical that Fortnite is a game played mostly by young kids. The success of this disruption cannot go unnoticed.

The fact is, more than 10 million people watched that event. The total now sits around 27 million. That is a first. Can you imagine that for something you will create? I want you to. So as I’m typing this, I am going to tell you that the phrase, “Everything has been done” be struck from your mind and heart. I mean it. Get rid of it. And I’m going to show you how to do that right now. Seriously. I’m not joking. I need to share this!

So. Question: How often do you write down your ideas? And I don’t mean sketching a new drawing or trying to write a song. That’s the work. Working on the craft is actually sitting down to write, making new beats with your MPC, or painting that image that’s in your head. Again, that’s the work. It’s important! And that is what has been done time and time again. And don’t get me wrong. Do it. Every day, every hour, every second that you get. The work is key. Nothing replaces it.

But I think we go about it wrong. We wake up, we eat something, have our coffee, set up our space, and we sit there trying to draw out something. And granted, it’s a good method in some ways. The argument for this method is that you will eventually break through the walls and create something. But sometimes, this is a frustrating experience with no fun in it. The work begins to suffer if you approach it this way. Stale. It suffers in being the same, similar wording, similar colors, similar notes. I’ve been there. Innovation cannot happen at this level.

For work to become great, you need experiential ideas. So how do we create firsts? How can I help you solve this for yourself? I can only tell you what happened to me when I started to realize that creative ideas and creative ideas about experiencing creative ideas (experiential ideas) are two very different animals. Let me explain it in more detail…

When you have a creative idea, it is the spark to write a story, create a beat, or put a brush down to make a painting. This is a creative idea. It’s perfected, so I won’t fuck with it. Whatever motivates you to this, keep doing it. Sit at your favorite desk. Touch the lucky rabbit’s ass. Do it.

An experiential idea is when you set up parameters in the form of an experience that will ensure your brain will formulate creative ideas from it. Simply put, I call these experiential ideas. Term aside, how often do you write down ideas for generating ideas based on experiences? This is what I want to teach you here and now. This is when you jot down an action item like, “Take some instant coffee, put some rubbing alcohol in it, and make a piece using only napkins as the brush… At the library.” In the music world, this was also referred to as an “Oblique Strategy”. This expands on the concept without the random aspect.

What experiential ideas such as this do is they set up experiences that you would not be normally having. It’s also not about leaving a ‘comfort zone’. If you use pencils all the time, write a few experiential ideas down about using them on surfaces you’ve never encountered. Distress the paper. Draw on a slab of stone. If you are a musician, this means, “Instead of sampling a record, let me go to a place where there is a piano, ask someone to play it and I will secretly sample them.” Think experiences.

It is experiences like these that lead to the firsts. Believe me. Because as you experience these actions, your brain will fire off in a creative deluge. Be ready for it. It’s going to get unreal.

About six months ago, I began to get up at 6:20 AM, which for me is almost the most abhorrent thing one could think of to feel “creative”. But I grew to love it. I began by walking about a mile up the beach and back, stopping to rest at this huge rock that faces the ocean. I meditate on that rock. Or at least, my version of meditation. I sit there and relax. I let my thoughts go nuts, but gently allow them to pass instead of lingering. What I did by altering my normal routine is to create a new experience for my life. That was the start.

Now, very often on these morning walks, I started to get new ideas. At first, they were creative ideas. I knew they would come, and of course, I am beyond grateful to Yah for them. I am! But what also started happening is that I started to cultivate a new habit of jotting down experiential ideas. And these are the ones that lead to the diamonds. I guarantee it.

All I can tell you is that every single experience I have had has yielded a constant stream of art, music, words. Nothing can stop that flow now. And while in those experiences, I have found firsts. Real firsts. As in I Googled the technique and it does not exist. Can you imagine that? Can you? Go ahead. Google experiential ideas. Chances are it lead you here. There are such things as “experiential marketing”. But have you ever heard of the term, Creative experiential ideas? Nope. You have not. Google it. Prove me wrong!

I swear on my life, that I just came to define the term for what I’ve been doing for the last six months. Here, in this post. I’ve been following Creative Experiential Ideas to create new forms of art and techniques for art. But it doesn’t stop with art. It seems to work for everything! So do this and please tell me if I’m just being crazy or not.

So here’s what you need to do. Set up 5–10 “Creative Experiences” for your self that revolve around your craft yet uncommon to it, and write the ideas for experiences down that you get from these experiments. I urge you to try it because it has changed my life. And I am surprising myself every day with the things I’m finding. And a bonus? I am clearer than ever when I attack the work!

Please let me know if you have had this experience, or how you came to find your first? I would love to learn from you, too! I would be honored to know how you think!

~ Claude S.

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