Many employees today are stressed out and struggling to balance their workload and personal lives. (Who even has time to discuss work/life balance, much less execute it?) Artists have a lot to teach us about the importance of play, working within limitations, and protecting our creative energy from the eroding forces of technology, which is ever-present in the form of email, texts, and social media. Milk*, an ad agency in Norwalk, Connecticut, invited me to conduct two workshops with their staff. We discussed how embracing limitation can actually make you more creative in your work and personal life, and also how important play is, especially when we are stressed and under deadline pressure. Using some of today's most interesting contemporary artists, writers, and musicians as examples, we learned how to bring the lessons of the artistic life into the workplace.
Whether you're an art student facing the prospect of graduation or an adult pursuing a creative field later in life, the barriers are similar. During my 13 years at The MacDowell Colony, I worked with successful and emerging artists from around the world and learned a lot about the challenges of being a working artist today. Some critical questions: Will you be able to make a living from your art? If not, what is the perfect day job for you? How do you handle the acute fear that frequently bubbles up when creating and showing new work? How do you learn to use technology to the benefit of your art practice without letting it use you? How do you find the residencies and grants that are the best fit for you? How do you connect with a like-minded community of creative peers? How do you market yourself without selling out? How do you create your best work given these practical and psychological barriers? These are just a few of the topics we discussed during my talks at the Cleveland Institute of Art and at the Monadnock Writer's Guild. I also explore these subjects in my Complete Creative series on Gwarlingo and in individual and group coaching sessions. If you're interested in working with me, email michelle (at) gwarlingo (dot) com.