Mike's Picture

House of Michael Warren

Designer, Musician, Sculptor

The art of making many

I was going to write a note about not posting on my blog for over two years. After giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that it would be best to just get back into the thick of it. Why bother telling you all I've been busy, and that life got in the way of me tapping on the keys? We are all busy. No one wants to hear it.

I want to give a heartfelt thank you to my great friend, Manuel Moreale. He was so kind as to update my site. I gave him full creative reigns and he churned out this beautiful site for me. I couldn't be any more pleased. You can read about it on his guest post here.

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Truth be told, the main reason for my absence from writing is the trade-off between quantity and quality. Admittedly, I've always had a mentality to generate fewer ideas in my creative pursuits, and then obsess over the details. I'd spend countless hours trying to make each piece the most polished solution, ready to win awards. Whether it's a logo concept, a book draft, a sculpture, a painting, a song, there's a prevailing belief in the creative industry that a smaller body of work signifies higher quality.

This way of thinking has been instilled in our creative brains since our time in higher education. We are taught, as students, to work towards a portfolio that shows no more than 10 pieces of your best work. This influences students to focus their efforts on a single project in hopes to create a portfolio-worthy piece. This approach is hindering. Instead, we should be encouraging students to produce as much work as possible, to explore, to be curious, rather than spending an entire semester on a single project with the hopeful expectation that it might secure a job.

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We also need to educate that ideas one may deem as bad are not failures, and there should be no embarrassment in having that idea tied to their name. We often focus too much on being scared of creating a bad idea, when, in fact, the only way to learn more about your craft is by failing in practice.

Stan Lee began writing comics in 1939 but didn't achieve significant success until late 1961 with 'The Fantastic Four.' Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day. Van Gogh created over 900 paintings. Emily Dickinson wrote over 1,500 poems. Mozart composed more than 600 works. Frank Sinatra recorded over 1,200 songs. Do you see the pattern? All of these powerhouses in their respective fields produced a substantial volume of work, and not all of it was a hit.

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I'm not suggesting that the objective is to create a plethora of mediocre work with occasional wins. The goal is to refine your craft and expand your way of thinking by avoiding self-imposed limitations. Explore various ideas without fixating on perfecting everything. If you become preoccupied with making every idea 'the one,' you may overlook the genuinely original ones.

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