If a white piece of paper blinds you with too many possibilities, starting with another piece of art and editing that can get you straight into the art-making process. Creating instant restrictions creates less resistance to getting started because there’s less choice on offer. Austin Kleon in The Steal Like An Artist Journal encourages us “If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.” By mixing up existing art into something new, you’re creating your own art and experimenting with what you like visually.
You will need: Text (or images) to cut up. Pencil and ruler if you want to be really accurate. Scissors or scalpel to cut. Glue if you want to fix permanently in place.
- Divide your chosen text into squares of equal sizes and cut out
- Optional: Use pencil and ruler on the back if you don’t want to do it by eye
- Rearrange the squares into a new arrangement
- Optional: fix in place with glue
Why not try cutting different size shapes and then fit things together like an abstract jigsaw puzzle. Play around creating more irregular shapes and arrangements that aren’t so neat and square. Cecil Touchon uses a similar process to create his Typography Abstraction art and so ‘frees the letters from their burden of being bearers of meaning.’
Seeing something arranged differently and changing your perspective will feed back into other areas of your life in a positive way. In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity, he says “Good scientists, like good artists, must let their minds roam playfully or they will not discover new facts, new patterns, new relationships.” By allowing yourself to playfully create new patterns using what exists around, you opens yourself up to other unknown possibilities.
Look what’s already laying around your home that you can cut up and rearrange and go have a play.
“…nothing is completely original. All creative work builds on what came before. Every new idea is just a remix or a mashup of one or two previous ideas.”– Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist