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Artists are known for being the pioneering out of the box types. But then so many find themselves in a frustratingly small competitive mini world going for the same gigs or galleries as their counterparts. Lack of inspiration and lack of compensation are two of the biggest pitfalls to avoid while we adventure down an artists path. With so much pulling back and shrinking going on these days, I think we creative types need to stretch out and think BIGger.

Expanding the sphere of our art is good not only for the creative stimulation the challenge brings, but also for the new sources of income it can generate. In a nutshell, splashing out of traditional containers can be both fun and profitable.

Well the visual artist’s primary canvas is the human eye and perception/imagination field.
The paper and easel and computer screen are common containers for that art, and yet in being small squares, they have their limitations.

EXAMPLES of CANVAS EXPANSION FOR VISUAL ARTISTS:
Tattoo Art, Body Painting, Face Painting, Designing Fashion, Painting Murals, Caricature Sketches, Graffiti Art, Air Brushing clothes and walls and people, Silk Screening, Live Painting at music shows, painting pregnant women’s bellies, drawing your dream home on your lover’s back and taking a picture of it, decorating cakes, doing custom signs for local small businesses…

Musicians primary canvas is the human ear and the emotional and social field.
The live show and the compact disc or mp3 are the traditional containers for this audible art.

EXAMPLES OF CANVAS EXPANSION FOR MUSICIANS
Play in mental hospitals or old people’s homes, teach kids in schools or private lessons, collaborate with other artists on a large public art project, create a music therapy project at a local childrens hospital, go in a tunnel and record your most heartfelt music and sell it to gardeners to play to their plants, make fun little snippets of music for commercials, ring tones, your answering machine…

Performing Artists like actors and dancers primarily use a stage as their canvas.

EXAMPLES OF CANVAS EXPANSION FOR PERFORMERS:
Perform on the streets, perform for your neighbors or block party, collaborate with photographers and film students, for charity events, in beautiful spots in nature, in ugly industrial settings, make up a new theatrical telegram service, work with wild new props, dance with fire, put on a show with your favorite kids for their parents, do political satire miming at the lawn of a federal building, dance at rallies, try go-go dancing, wear a mask and perform on a bench during lunchtime in a big city, teach your art form to kids or under-expressed housewives and businesspeople,  hang up a big sheet at a party- shine light on it and shadow dance behind it, build a stage onto a big van or ice cream truck and take the show on the road…

You get the picture.

Integration Exercise:
(cause it is oh so easy to scarf through ideas with our minds and never build a bridge into action)
Answer these questions in your journal or with another artistic partner.
1.)    What are my main 2 artistic forms?
2.)    What current canvas are they being expressed on?
3.)    What new ideas do I have for other outlets and canvases to explore?
Then circle the most compelling ones. Then do them, or if you are the forgetful type- write them and hang them up in a visible place to remind you of them till you get around to trying them out.

Would love to hear your comments or ideas.

My first love was gymnastics/dance, then came collage, then poetry, then guitar & songwriting, etc… After these wonderful love affairs I have had with these many art forms, there remain a few that would be able to be categorized as life-long loves. One day while journaling I stumbled upon this process of making these lists and boiling them down to the more essential. I found the framing it showed me quite helpful, so I have developed it into an exercise for you to try. It goes like this:

1. LIST any & all Artistic Forms you have had an affair with in your life. (from brief infatuations to staple marriages) Note- you can do this for all sorts of loves, not just ‘artistic’.

2. Place them in the order they appeared in your life (optional, but interesting to see the chronology)

3. Split your list into 2- the ones that you are still somewhat actively engaged in, and the ones you have pretty much let go of.

4. Notice where you feel peaceful acceptance around the lost art and where you feel sadness or upset. See if you can take small steps to reclaiming any lost loves.

5. Circle the ALL TIME most IMPORTANT to you from the List. (should be less than 3)

6. Write a Love Letter or Vows & Commitments to this 1 (or 2 or 3) Outlet that you Cannot Live without.

Hope you get Insight into what Really Matters to you. Have Fun!