The Box

You’ve all heard about the box.  Thinking outside of the box.  Performing outside of the box.  What about the box, exactly what is it?  The box is what everyone else has done that pertains to your area of interest. The box encompasses your specific subject matter (ex. portraiture, still life, landscapes, narrative, tableau …) including your technique, and your creative process. First, you must actually see the box, the world you choose to explore.  You must understand your box, learn it’s details.  What is it made of? What is the essence of your subject matter?  How has it changed or evolved over time? Who else has spent time in your box?  What have they done?  Research everything you can about your genre, your box.  Know all that currently happens in it and all that has already happened in it.  Who has danced in your box before you?  What was the beat they marched to?  Did they bring anything new to the world you are interested in?  Who influenced them?  Learn your box! You must know what it is and has been about.  It is also your place of departure.  You cannot leave people or ideas in the dust if you do not know what they are about in the first place.

After you have researched, explored, experimented with, and played in the box, you must construct your own version. This is your your vision, becomes your voice, and is your interpretation and/or translation of subject matter we may have thought we were familiar with, until you and your creativity came along.  New point of view?  New way of seeing, feeling about your subject matter? Evolved technique?  Inhabit your new world.  Own it, and the technique and personal process involved. Then go outside of it!  That’s the part we always hear about, but how do you do it?  Find how you are limited and then create over, around, and through any limitations. Limitations are nothing more than doorways to creativity.You just need to open them, kick them down, move them out of your path. Figure out a new way! Make your version more emotional, more powerful, more exaggerated, more surreal. Make it undeniably beautiful or incredibly bizarre, impossible not to look at, and even harder to forget. Push yourself out of your own new box and take a look.  You must see it, de-construct it, see it differently, re-interpret it, and build it again.  It is no longer a box, it is YOUR box, your voice, your approach, as the result of insight, interpretation, invention.  You are outside of everyone else’s box.  Now they must figure out how to go outside of yours.

Make the round world square.  Give it a new box.

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