Week 4: What speaks to you? And why?
Alright, so, if you have an email address? You've probably gotten one of those "Get to Know Your Friends Better" emails. The ones with a bunch of questions like "Do you like chocolate or vanilla better?" or "Are you a beach or skiing vacation person?" Yeah, those. Well, we're going to do a variation of that for this week's challenge. So get ready to do some self examination!
Ok, I'm going give you some questions. Here we go:
1. What is your favorite color to wear?
2. What is your favorite color with which to decorate your home?
3. What is your favorite color in general?
4. What is your favorite season?
5. What is your favorite flower?
6. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
So those are your questions. I want you to go ahead and write down the question and the answer. That shouldn't take you too long, but please be honest. Don't come up with some answer you think makes you sound more sophisticated or fun. If you're not honest then this won't work for you. After you do that, I want you to put your answers somewhere they won't be lost and don't worry about them for a while. Try to wait at least a few hours before you revisit them for the next part of your challenge...
...and we're back. I hope you had a nice few hours totally forgetting about what you wrote! So here's the next thing I want you to do, and it may seem pointless or even a little difficult at first: I want you to go back over the questions, look at your answers, then ask yourself "Why?" Why do you like to wear a specific color? What is it about your ideal vacation spot that draws you to it? If your favorite color to wear and your favorite color to decorate with are different than your overall favorite color, why is that? And what is it about your favorite season that makes it your favorite? This time, take your time and think about it. And be as honest as possible!
At this point I'm guessing you may be wondering what this has to do with art. Or you may be wishing I'd mind my own business so you didn't have to actually think about anything past your one word answer. But here's the thing, I asked you to be honest in your answers for a reason and here's why: I have a sneaking suspicion that many of us don't dress or decorate with our favorite color. Maybe it's because our favorite color isn't trendy this year. Maybe it's because we feel that color is too bright and would add an extra ten pounds to our image. And I think that simple questions like asking about favorite holidays and favorite vacation spots are often tied up in emotions initially but those emotions are usually generated not only by the people we spend time with during holidays and vacations but also the mood created by the music/noise and also by the visuals like decorations on holidays and architecture or scenery on vacations.
Though it seems like this challenge isn't art related, it is. Or maybe more specifically it's a building block to once again, learning to look at things with a new perspective. Identifying how we respond to specific colors and why, why we choose to dress ourselves and our homes a specific way, and where we choose to spend our free time can tell a lot about us and what we're thinking. I challenge you to be honest about whether you use color because you love it or because you feel like you're supposed to in order to be stylish in how you dress and how you decorate. I challenge you to look at your favorite holiday and look past the possible chaos and stress at the imagery your holiday may have and maybe you'd be surprised to find out you actually have a holiday you are drawn to as your favorite that you never considered before. I challenge you to think about your past vacations or vacation dreams and think about why those places draw you to them. The imagery and experience of skiing down a mountain are vastly different than a walk through Rome in the rain.
We're all different people and I think sometimes we're so used to be "guided" into our emotions and feelings that we lose some of our creativity in our every day lives. I know for a fact that there is a dress in my closet that I would never normally have picked. It's brown and turquoise blue - a blue that is a little more colorful than I'd usually wear. Why? I don't know. I know I'm in a "darker makes you look thinner" mode right now. But I loved the mix of the two colors so much I had to buy it instead and I've gotten more compliments on it than I'd have ever thought!
If you are thinking right now that you choose your own style, make sure you think again. People make millions of dollars creating visuals, writing voice-overs and recording music to create an emotion or belief about their products. Believe me, how you feel is directly related to the imagery you see and hear and experience. Think about that. Think about whether you stifle some of your own creativity because it's easier or trendier to do what everyone else is doing. I'm not saying you're wrong or right. I just want you to think about it. Be more aware. Be more deliberate. And don't sell yourself short. Identify what you like and why and then own that preference as something that is uniquely yours. What you're drawn to is part of your creative identity. Creativity isn't all about output. You can't create without input as well. Without inspiration. Just try to work out whether that inspiration is really what you love. And if it's not, start looking around and figuring out what you do love!