I use a lot of maps in my artwork: I cover my sculptures in maps, use them as backgrounds for my linocuts, and have started making mixed-media paintings of imaginary maps. I also collect old maps and have a couple framed in my home. The magic of maps is in the stories they tell: of the past and the future, of reality and the imagination, and of science and exploration. Here are 11 talented, inspiring artists who are telling beautiful stories through their unique use of maps.
We all have times in our lives when our commitments outweigh our energy. When we've said yes to way to many things and can't see how it will all get done. When even the things we love start to feel like a burden and we long for a bottle of wine, our couch, and all the Netflix we can handle (it’s not just me, is it?). I’m coming to the end of one of those seasons and though I am deeply tired and quite achy, I am still standing, with a much lower meltdown factor than I expected. Here are six things that have helped me survive the last month with my joy and creativity (mostly) intact.
This week, as I was writing out this Instagram post, I realized that one word has made more of a difference in my life than any other. It helps me through the worst attacks of anxiety. It strengthens my relationships. And it keeps me moving forward with my art practice and business. It’s not a word we might usually associate with strength and power but trust me, it carries plenty of both. The word is softness and despite its unassuming nature, it has utterly and completely changed my life.
Somewhere, somehow, I’ve developed a habit of trust. Trust in myself, but more importantly, trust in the process of creation itself. Somewhere I’ve become convinced that if I give my all to a creative project, it will give me something in return. I will struggle, and I will very possibly fail, but the effort will be worthwhile no matter what.
I don’t strive to be a full-time artist so that I can feel burned out and anxious. I do it so that I can feel fulfilled, challenged, connected and joyful. And when I’m not feeling that way, I know something is wrong. This is because I’ve done a lot of work around figuring out how I want my life to feel, instead of just making a list of accomplishments to check off as I go. Most of the time, we’re encouraged to set goals based on outward measures of success. But when we’re not clear how we want that success to feel, it often doesn’t turn out how we thought.
Nat and I go way back: we first met working at a chocolate store here in Edmonton and later were housemates for a year or so. We cooked and crafted together and had long conversations about how to live a creative life. Every now and then she would pull out her cello to practice and I was in heaven. I've missed her terribly since she moved to Winnipeg but have loved watching her music career flourish from afar.
I've been using the bullet journaling system religiously. The first time I heard about it, someone was waving a fancy ringed planner around and raving about this system where you could buy all these things and decorate your planner and blah blah blah. It sounded dumb. But then I did some research and it turns out that underneath all the stickers, gold writing, and cutesy illustrations that pop up when you search #bulletjournal on Instagram, there is a rock-solid system at work. I tried it out back in January and it hasn’t failed me yet.
In the wake of the Charlottesville protests, I was encouraged to see some anti-fascist art popping up in my Instagram feed. It’s so easy to feel powerless when confronted with such powerful expressions of hate, but one easy thing we can all do is share images and messages that express what we believe in. I went digging for some art being made in response to hate, racism, and heart-breaking current events. Here’s what I found
Curiosity is a beautiful thing, but only when it isn’t an obstacle to doing your creative work.
It’s all too easy to keep putting off getting started because you just need a little more information. It can create a powerful mental block that tells you that you’re not ready, you don’t have everything figured out, and you won’t succeed without having it all mapped out ahead of time. I’ve learned that there is no such thing as ‘having everything figured out.’