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Get it all out

I was out with my friend Ben the other night. It was late and we ended up, as we had so many times before, at Bar 9 on 53rd and Ninth.

After a lull in the conversation, he turned to me and said, “so I finished my first novel.” I was shocked, and confused and impressed. I went to college with Ben, and talk to him everyday and knew he painted sometimes and played in a band occasionally as well as being a full time graphic designer. This was the first time I had heard of a novel.

I know that everyone here has a lot more creativity built up inside them than can be released through graphic design day jobs. I personally take photographs and paint occasionally. How do you release your built up creative energy? Or, does your job let you get it all out?

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PUBLISHED ON Dec.01.2003 BY David Weinberger
David W’s comment is:

Also, feel free to show us what you create.

On Dec.01.2003 at 11:28 AM
Armin’s comment is:

I'm a bad painter, illustrator or anything that has to do with brushes. Most of my creative energy goes into Speak Up of course, so I don't have lots of free time to explore other venues.

I wrote a short story like a year ago, I enjoyed it and my wife has bugged me ever since to keep writing more. I started working on a second one and it opened with an african-american punching a redneck-american outside an airport´┐Ż not very politically correct, I know.

I like to take photos too, haven't done it regularly in a while. But you can see some of 'em here. Also there, my wife's bundles of creative energy.

On Dec.01.2003 at 11:38 AM
David W’s comment is:

I don't have much digitally, but here is a painting and a photograph.

On Dec.01.2003 at 11:42 AM
Patrick’s comment is:

I take photos as an outlet for the types of things I think about but can't really put into a client's brochure. (I almost got a double major in college, but due to creative differences didn't finish the photo part of it.) I've had a few gallery shows in New York and Georgia. It's been a couple busy years professionally, so I haven't put as much time into it as I would like, but I'm in the process of finishing up a new series.

A couple small examples below.

You can see more here.

On Dec.01.2003 at 11:56 AM
KM’s comment is:

Does drinking count?

On Dec.01.2003 at 12:12 PM
KM’s comment is:

Seriously, I have been trying to work on this little thing but haven't had much time. A lot of graphic designers have aesthetic playgrounds, this is more of a typographic experiment. Copying, exactly, some examples of type that I find beautiful or ghastly.

On Dec.01.2003 at 12:18 PM
#2 on the SU banned list’s comment is:

Unfortunately, much of my free time of late has been spent in airports. So, consequently, the airport becomes sketch book fodder. Abstracting the forms, shapes and playing with the interaction of both negative and positive space keep me sane. Many more doodle on my personal blog.

Patrick, I like the upper image. Is that text part of the frame? What does it say?

KM, of course it does, I have mastered it.

On Dec.01.2003 at 12:25 PM
Mike Langlie’s comment is:

I'm finishing up a new album of toy piano tunes.

On Dec.01.2003 at 12:25 PM
kev leonard’s comment is:

i read a lot. i spend time with my wife. i collect distressed metal and use what i find for sculptures. not much time for much else.

On Dec.01.2003 at 12:37 PM
Lea’s comment is:

Jeez, I still draw and doodle and I'm trying to make a comic right now. I keep connected to the sequential art and illustration community as much as I can. Also, I write a lot of fiction. I wrote a book when I was 13, but never sent it to get published (it was pretty bad!) I want to get a novel published. I like to sing. Is that creating anything?

My boyfriend likes to make movies for fun. Him and his friends like to write screenplays, too. They have large dreams. ;-)

On Dec.01.2003 at 12:49 PM
ps’s comment is:

if drinking counts, maybe a speakUp top10 list of drinks might be a neccessity... my (current) vote probably won't make the list but it goes to "arrogant bastard" from stone brewing.

if i get time, i paint, and fill sketchbooks with doodles.

hey # 2 of the banned... i like the airport sketches


On Dec.01.2003 at 12:52 PM
mrTIM’s comment is:


Neal Stephenson just came out with "The Baroque

Cycle," which is taking up all my spare time at this point.

Plus there's a wedding to plan....

And all the freelance clients...

And the 505 (sailboat) that I'm rebuilding...



On Dec.01.2003 at 12:57 PM
Patrick’s comment is:

>Patrick, I like the upper image. Is that text part of the frame? What does it say?

It says "rigid" - a reference to inflexible gender stereotypes. I used an old set of lead type I have to stamp the title of each piece on the black bar that crosses the image and is bolted to the frame.

btw, Armin, I've always liked your parallel motions site as well as the images on it. My wife and I have always found it tough to collaborate, though we do have a comic book we're working on together.

On Dec.01.2003 at 01:10 PM
marian’s comment is:

Wow, so much great work.

I draw and paint and make other imagey things. I have 3 cameras and use them sporadically.

I used to write and I have several unfinished stories and plot outlines for movies and novels, but hey, writing's a full time job. Now I just keep a blog.

I also used to play the guitar, but I picked it up last night and it had, like an inch of dust on it.

Oh yeah, I've been renovating a house for the past nearly-3 years.

On Dec.01.2003 at 01:26 PM
ps’s comment is:


good going on the house. forgot about it in my previous post... purchased a place in march and thats where every free second. and every extra dime seem to go.


On Dec.01.2003 at 01:34 PM
Todd W.’s comment is:

After years of saying I'd like to write a novel I finally admitted to myself that since I wasn't actively writing much of anything I probably didn't really want to write a novel. But I did start to take pictures, so photography turned out to be my creative outlet.

On Dec.01.2003 at 01:35 PM
amanda’s comment is:

Well i illustrate a billion things (one example above). I want that to be more of a full time thing than design stuff eventually. I also do alot of crafty things, murals, photography, reading and just play. One time i did a mask for this paper contest thingie (also above) I think it is very important to do such things, it gives inspirations for your design work / day job.

illustrations are here

crafty fun is here

whee. neat stuff everyone!

On Dec.01.2003 at 02:00 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Marian, the view out of your house sucks man. Sheesh, fluffly clouds, lovely sunsets, water, mountains´┐Ż it sucks, I tell ya.

> btw, Armin, I've always liked your parallel motions site as well as the images on it. My wife and I have always found it tough to collaborate, though we do have a comic book we're working on together.

Thanks Patrick! It's a fine line between collaboration and strangulation of your loved one. Bryony and I, a year ago, could not work on one single thing together (related to graphic design) without rolling our eyes at each other constantly. Somehow, and we have no clue why, we have started working very well together and we actually enjoy it.

On Dec.01.2003 at 02:31 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Free time:


rebuilding an '89 Honda CRX Si

home improvement projects

working on my web site

helping with my father-in-law's businesses (1,2,3)

helping with my wife's business

oil painting

On Dec.01.2003 at 03:43 PM
stew’s comment is:

playing the xbox, its good for clearing the mind.

i also spend time with my girlfriend and do some photography... nothgin much but a bit.

On Dec.01.2003 at 04:17 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

Marian, you've given me hope that my house will eventually see a brighter day! We moved in this August and just got the kitchen working the day before Thanksgiving. So, needless to say, that's been my creative outlet.

I would love to do more photography, but just haven't gotten myself motivated.

Basically, I dream of paint colors and furniture.

On Dec.01.2003 at 04:53 PM
sena’s comment is:

I brew my own beer.

It is an activity which makes use of both the technical and creative sides of my brain. Very satisfying.

(Besides which, it is a very cool thing to hand a good beer to a friend and say, "I made this.")

On Dec.01.2003 at 06:13 PM
Elliot’s comment is:

It takes a combination of artistry, optimism, and energy to stick with design -- things that are difficult to turn off in evenings and on weekends -- and I think that's why so many of us participate in labors of love outside of our day jobs that often don't earn one thin dime.

One of mine is an online magazine I've been working on with the help of both friends and strangers (or friends I haven't met yet) for the last couple of years.

On Dec.01.2003 at 10:05 PM
matt cassity’s comment is:

some words: http://www.humbleempire.com/zine/

some pictures: http://thecuteshow.com/matthew

On Dec.01.2003 at 10:56 PM
pk’s comment is:

i tap dance. a lot.

On Dec.01.2003 at 11:41 PM
Viviane’s comment is:

Mosaics — after a whole day of keyboarding and mousing, there's nothing like breaking glass and tiles and putting them back together again.

On Dec.01.2003 at 11:49 PM
marian’s comment is:

Marian, the view out of your house sucks man.

Hey, you had an invite .. but oh no, 'fraid of the water, I heard ...

Thanks ps & jonsel. Yeah I always think "where the hell does my time go? What have I been doing for the past 3 years?" Then i look around and go, oh yeah.

I love your mosaics Viviane. One of the things I want to do is patch the walls outside the house (from where we moved windows) with mosaics from broken china. I got around to smashing the china in the summer (very satisfying), and sorting it ...

On Dec.02.2003 at 01:11 AM
Mark’s comment is:

beautiful work on the house!

i have been restoring our circa 1850 clapboard house. gutting it, rebuilding it, insulating it, updating it. Keeping as much as the character and charm it deserves but improving the efficiency and flow. its a great outlet, and I love being a designer with callus'

lots of photography. the digital cameras have saved me a fortune on developing, although i am planning to rebuild the darkroom in my basement.

music. some guitar (although not well) and bongos. and just listening to music that acts as the soundtrack to your life (who thought a 30gig iPod could be filled up so quickly?)

kids. we have twins (almost 1 yr old) you can be silly in public and not get the same stares i used to.

and dreaming. planning to create a organic farm/sustainable community/B&B/../.../... kind of thing.

On Dec.02.2003 at 08:50 AM
Paul’s comment is:

I'm not ripping on the pastime, because I too love my Xbox for relaxation purposes, but c'mon...it may be fun, but it is the opposite of creative. I sometimes have to consciously avoid the damn thing and make myself go out and practice guitar/write.

Music is what will always bring me the most satisfaction, and it is my favorite creative outlet. In fact, I'm just starting up a new band after a few years of not being in one, and it is firng up all aspects of my life. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I started doing it again.

(btw, my xbox live gamertag: Hidell)

;^ )

On Dec.02.2003 at 10:44 AM
#2 on SU banned list’s comment is:

Armin, I find this thread fascinating and would like to see more similar every once in a while. It gives great insight to the real people behind the comments left on SU.

I think it is kind of similar to the desk photos done a while ago.

Mike L, I am already in line for the next album. If y'all never heard the first, treat yourself. I traded Mike a hand made book for a copy. I got the better end of the deal!

Viviane, way cool! Do you draw out what you want to do or does the glass "guide" you?

How come so many musicians, but no music is posted, I wanna hear you guys. Does anyone do hand made books? How about graphic novels or underground comics (no anime PLEEEASE!)?

step away from the Xbox.

On Dec.02.2003 at 02:12 PM
Amber’s comment is:

I book and promote hardcore & metal shows. Provide an outlet for myself and the other weirdos my age to watch big sweaty men screaming and grunting into microphones.

Haha but seriously. I do that.

And there's my web site, and the messageboard which seem to attract a few bored individuals from time to time.

Guitar, painting and collage. Reading. When I have free time (not often).

On Dec.02.2003 at 02:16 PM
Cheshire’s comment is:

That's gorgeous, Viviane.

I agree -- seeing the work people here do just for themselves is wonderful.

For my own part, I'm working on a novel, and once the first draft of that is done I have a couple more ideas for animated shorts that I'm planning on working on.

On Dec.02.2003 at 02:45 PM
.sara’s comment is:

Viviane -- that mosaic is wonderful. (: And Amdanda: I love your illustrations.

After being at the keyboard and mouse for eight hours, I find getting my fingers all dirty most enjoyable. (:

On Dec.02.2003 at 07:02 PM
Karye’s comment is:

I'll usually go on a good long run (with I Pod in hand) to get away for a bit, and I'm a big fan of black and white photography. I've also taken up Asian cooking... ok, I'm trying.

On Dec.02.2003 at 09:00 PM
Michelle’s comment is:

In my free time, ha ha, I make jewelry and work on the endless number stained glass projects I have started and have yet to finish.

On Dec.02.2003 at 11:11 PM
Christopher Johnston’s comment is:

Rogue Typography:


On Dec.03.2003 at 09:26 AM
jesse’s comment is:

I take photos, some here and here, more to come when I get the time. I also paint, mostly in watercolors and egg tempera. Here's a tempera from last year:

I also like to read, write, take walks. Road trips are always good and inspiring.

On Dec.03.2003 at 02:03 PM
Tan’s comment is:

When I was 9, my oldest brother converted our basement bathroom into a darkroom -- and since then, I've been a photography buff. It has suited well with a design career.

But unrelated -- I'm also a food nut. I worked my way through school in a series of 5-star restaurants, and became somewhat of an accomplished, amateur chef. I've actually won a few cooking competitions here and there.

I do most of the cooking at home -- including a 22 lb turkey just this past Thanksgiving. My wife does all the baking though, as she is much more talented at pastries.

Cooking is a creative, satisfying release for me. I consider the culinary arts to be as challenging and rewarding as any other visual arts, including graphic design.

...and btw, everyone's work here so far is just beautiful. Very inspiring to see.

On Dec.04.2003 at 01:42 AM
Christopher Johnston’s comment is:

"Cooking is a creative, satisfying release for me. I consider the culinary arts to be as challenging and rewarding as any other visual arts, including graphic design."

I fully agree with you Tan but I would go so far as to say that the disciplines are intertwined. I trained to be a line chef at a 5-star back in the Dark Ages and I know what you mean. For some reason the core ingredients of a dish always felt like a canvas and spices as different hues of paint. I know it might sound strange, but my methodology behind cooking follows a taste=color philosophy. Taste a spice (just a little bit) then close your eyes and imagine a color that would fit what the taste in your mouth. For instance, to me: Cinnamon=Burnt Sienna, Cilantro=Bright Green, Paprika=Deep Red, Wasabi=White/Blue, etc. When I put together a design piece I normally start off by picking a complimentary color story so why deviate when cooking? Seems like a good rule of thumb to me and hasn't really let me down that often.


On Dec.04.2003 at 09:20 AM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Tan - Very interesting information regarding the culinary arts. I was actually at a crossroad of sorts regarding my career path prior to entering college. I didn't know if I should pursue the culinary arts or graphic arts. My main reason for choosing graphic arts was the work environment. I prefer to work at home or in an office. I've done the busy kitchen thing and I know how demanding it can be. It is definitely a skill which I hold in high regard. My first recipe, as a kid, was spaghetti pancakes. It is made by placing spaghetti in a frying pan, chopping it up into very small pieces with a spatula, then frying until crispy on one side. After one side is done, flip like a pancake and brown the other side. Top with parmesan and it's done. Let's see you try that at your fancy five-star restaurant. ;)

On Dec.04.2003 at 09:28 AM
Tan’s comment is:

> I know it might sound strange, but my methodology behind cooking follows a taste=color philosophy.

I know exactly what you're talking about, Christopher. There are lots of color theories behind cooking/plate presentations -- if you've been through some formal training, I'm sure you've been introduced to it one way or another. I don't remember where I read it -- but I've definitely seen cooking philosophies based on color combinations. To me, Indian food is the most color intense.

A while ago, while on vacation, I signed-up for a 3-day course at the Cordon Blue in Paris. I was basically auditing a couple of graduate classes for a few days. It was interesting to see the similarities in structure and dynamics between their cooking classes and my design clases back in school. Demonstration, lecture, application, presentation, and group critiques. It was just like any other design lab -- only with yummy food.

> I've done the busy kitchen thing and I know how demanding it can be.

Yup. It's amazingly hard work -- tough, laborious, and a life-consuming career. Statistically, that's why so many chefs are alcoholics and divorced. Like you, I chose the design path for the same reason you'd mentioned. I'd much rather be on the other side of a restaurant kitchen these days.

On Dec.04.2003 at 03:45 PM
nancy mazzei’s comment is:

I make photo diaries this one combines Harlem, The Staten Island Ferry and Coney Island, 3 of my fav's.

On Dec.05.2003 at 01:40 PM
Julie’s comment is:

I've recently taken up sewing in my free time. I love the creative outlet that goes into designing and making my own things with fabric. I am also taking a fibers class in which I've just weaved a blanket.

On Dec.05.2003 at 01:47 PM