I mentioned earlier this week that I recently read Do Less: a minimalist guide. I've been on the road toward minimalism for the last five years. It's something I feel strongly about. Throughout my year of creative habits, I've struggled with how to bring minimalism to it. I mean when one of your guiding principles is quantity leads to quality, that's not very minimalist at all!
I wrote a little about this struggle last year:
I’ve simplified lots of things but most especially my home. I like living with less stuff. I spend less. I have less to maintain and less to clean. I don’t like having a lot of stuff on my shelves or my wall. One of the questions I have for myself is this…if I’m making a lot of art, aren’t I just creating clutter for myself? And then if I sell it, am I passing on that clutter to someone else? Of course, beautiful art isn’t clutter but let’s get real: not everything one makes is beautiful.
In the book Do Less she says:
"The essence of minimalism, originally a movement in design and art, is using the fewest elements to create the maximum effect."
I found that interesting, to just be reminded that this whole minimalism movement came from art and design in the first place. The author of course talks about quality over quantity and while that seems to contradict what I'm doing here, I'm starting to realize it doesn't have to.
I firmly believe that the only way to achieve quality is through quantity. However when she says quality over quantity, she's talking about what you keep around you. So lately I'm exploring how I can keep both core values: 1) quantity leads to quality and 2) quality over quantity.
For one, I don't have to keep everything that I make and I don't! I also don't trash it. Instead I paint over it or I tear it up and collage it. I try not to sell or pass it on to someone else unless I think it's quality.
I also don't collect art supplies. I try to simplify the materials I use and I choose just a few high quality ones. I don't need more than one pair of scissors or more than a few brushes. I don't need to buy more paper until I run out of what I have.
As I sit here and look around my cluttered studio, it's obvious I still have a long way to go. It's not just about being organized. It's about how clear space allows me to experiment and be creative. It allows me to be still and to think. It's going to take time to find ways to use fewer elements to maximum effect but you know I love a good challenge!