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The importance of experimenting with different artistic formats

There is great value in getting outside of your comfort zone and experimenting with different artistic formats. If you’re primarily a writer, it can be a great form of inspiration to pick up a canvas and some paintbrushes. If you’re a painter, pick up a journaling habit. Finding inspiration cross-format can be a very refreshing way to look at the world and the possibilities for expanding the work you already do. If you have the chance, try something you’ve never done before, whether it’s glass-blowing, pottery, sculpting, gardening, learning graphic design, picking up an instrument, or writing a poem. Inspiration abounds in the process of travelling through a new project. Consider the ways in which you can describe one medium within another. Working with mixed-media, or creating a cross-medium collection of pieces can also be really fun and inspiring to experiment with. The only way to expand your comfort zone is to reach beyond it. I think I heard that in a yoga class, but the general concept still applies itself here. If you’re a poet, try writing an ekphrasis: a poem inspired by a visual art piece (In Greek, ekphrasis literally means “description”). The Poetry Foundation glossary explains ekphrasis with “through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the ‘action’ of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning”. If you’re a painter, try the reverse: paint a scene inspired by the narrative of a poem. Maybe you’ll find an amplification and expansion of meaning. Don’t consider branching out as a distraction, but as a new form of inspiration. Just keep creating!

Art by Caitlyn Sparkman; Words by Juliana Tattoli

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