Cultivating Creativity When Sheltered-in-Place

Chase away the blues of a mandatory shelter-in-place order by cultivating your creativity, instead of ceding your idle hours to moments of boredom

Staying cooped up all by yourself in your home for days or at worst, for an indefinite period of time, can really be downright disheartening. Until your community or state can control the spread of the Covid-19 disease, the best protection you can have against possible exposure to the virus is to stay within the safety of your home. However, there may be occasions when you experience moments of loneliness and anxiety, which could lead to depression.

Understanding the Rationale Behind Shelter-in-Place Restrictions

Keep in mind that you are not the only one who is going through this type of ordeal. Millions of people in China, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Poland , El Salvador and Spain are going through the same experience. The governments in those countries have implemented mass quarantine, as a measure that will prevent the disease from infecting the majority of their population.

Except for Italy, which took on the mass quarantine approach at a stage when thousands have already been infected, most of those countries, including China, have succeeded in “flattening the curve” so to speak. “Flattening the curve” as the World Health Organization (WHO) explains, is that phase of an epidemic in which the rate by which the infectious disease is spreading, has already slowed down. Once achieved, health care systems can manage and effectively attend to all patients needing medical attention. .

In the U.S. only the states of California, Illinois, New York and a handful of communities in Colorado, Georgia and Maine have imposed mass quarantine measures, which American authorities prefer to call a “shelter-in-place” directive. The rest of the nation is still trying to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 by ordering the closure of bars, nightclubs, casinos and movie houses, as well as prohibiting the holding of events, concerts, fairs, festivals or any gathering where more than 25 to 50 people will be in attendance.

Currently, the U.S. is still dealing with a rapid rate by which the Covid-19 disease is spreading. As it is, the number of community-transmitted cases has spiked from hundreds, to thousands, which to date is nearing 20 thousand in a matter of one week.

Embark on Creative Activities to Chase Away Quarantine Blues

Many of those who are currently under mandatory quarantine or shelter-in-place order, have put forward recommendations on how to while away time creatively and productively. So far, the most popular recommendation is to cultivate one’s creativity by learning how to draw, paint, sculpt or recycle scrap materials. After all, there are several how-to, easy-to-follow instructional videos available at YouTube.

Learning how to draw seems to be the most practical, since you will only be needing pencils, papers and erasers. Painting and sculpting materials tend to be expensive, and it would be wiser to save whatever extra money you have for food and for emergency purposes. However, do not drive yourself to frustration if it seems you do not have a natural ability to draw, no matter how hard you try.

According to astrologers, creativity among individuals comes in different aspects and not just in terms of creating art works. The sun sign and moon sign of a person can influence the kind of creativity possessed by a person, which suggests that it depends on the inclusive zodiac signs dates in which a person was born.

Some are said to be born under zodiac signs that yield individuals with natural talent to create artwork. Some others demonstrate creativity by analyzing and solving problems in ways that not everyone could imagine. There are also zodiac signs that influence a person’s creativity in developing designs, concepts, methods, approaches or applications on how to make life on Earth better.

The point being driven at is that in order not to be frustrated with your creativity project, it would be best to first find out your creative strengths. That way, you can focus on areas where you will likely be more productive during the shelter-in-home period.

Mexican Art Critic Causes Controversy by Breaking a Sculpture at the Zona Maco Art Fair

Avelina Lesper, a Mexican art critic, has stirred quite a controversy when she decided to place her empty soda pop can next to a delicate glass-sculpture created by contemporary artist Gabriel Rico. As a result, the glass and stone art work in which several objects had hung on a balance, toppled down  and caused the glass pane to fall on the floor, shattering into bits and pieces.

 

The art fair host, Galeria OMR, known for supporting contemporary artists, condemned Ms. Lesper for her “enormous lack of professionalism and respect.” in a statement posted on Instagram, Galeria OMR said they do not understand why an art critic claiming to be a professional, would come close to an art work, and place an empty soda can, just to show her disdain.

The gallery added that Rico’s work is currently in high demand and the glass sculpture entitled “Nimble and Sinister Tricks (To Be Preserved Without Scandal and Corruption)” has an estimated value of US$20,000.

Although Ms. Lesper apologized and insisted that the destruction was not intentional, she admits placing the soda can on the glass sculpture to show her disdain for the piece. As a solution, she suggested that the gallery leave the shattered sculpture as it is, as a way of demonstrating its evolution. However, the suggestion was rejected by Galeria OMR; prompting Ms. Lesper to offer a replacement instead.

In a statement she made in Milenio, the Mexican newspaper that features Ms. Lesper’s column, the art critic described the incident as “lamentable,” whilst stating

”It was as if the work heard my comment and felt what I thought of it.”

Galeria OMR Still to Decide on What Actions to Take

Galeria OMR, the art gallery founded by Patricia Ortiz Monasterio and Jaime Riestra in 1983, and which The Observer cited last year as “one of Mexico City’s largest blue-chip and longest-running galleries” still has to decide on the appropriate actions to take,

The gallery officials informed Ms. Lesper that she will hear from them after discussing the matter with sculptor Gabriel Rico and the organizers of the Zona Marco art fair. The gallery made it known though that currently, the demand for Rico’s art work is high, being one of the most outstanding artists of today.

Gabriel Rico on the other hand told BBC News that he was saddened by the disrespect shown by Ms. Lesper, and has described the situation as regrettable.

Will the Culturally Historic Binna Burra Lodge Rise Again?

The catastrophic Australian fire that is currently engulfing swathes of regions around the country had started out in September 2019. as a bushfire that decimated the culturally historic Binna Burra Lodge. The fire was swift, barely giving time to evacuate about a hundred guests staying at the heritage-listed lodge at the time the fire started.

Binna Burra Lodge Chairman, Steve Noakes said the experience of seeing the damage the bushfire made to the complex was fairly traumatic.The devastation was extensive and far worse than what Mr. Noakes had imagined. It practically took his breath away when he first saw the extent of the damage. Mr Noakes reported

“The places where people had gathered through generations, the dining area, the library, the lounge, and even parts of the newly built Skylodge buildings, are gone.”

 

Binna Burra Lodge a Significant Part of Australian Heritage

Since Binna Burra opened in 1933, the environmental lodge had provided temporary home to hundreds of thousands of ordinary people coming from different parts of the world, when they set to explore and experience the grandeur of the world-heritage rainforest site known as Lamington National Park.

Started 86 years ago by prominent Australian conservationist, journalist, photographer and adventurer Arthur Groom with fellow conservationist and national parks advocate and engineer Romeo Lahey, Binna Burra never took on the air of plush and luxury.

The quaint wood-slab cabins, and the reception lounge with its big fireplace were all built with ordinary folks in mind. Binna Burra gave access to the national forest with only one road in coming from the Gold Coast; from the ridge of Beechmont to a final climb through a single-lane through the eucalyptus forest going to the edge of the rainforest.

Spanning 86 years, the Binna Burra Lodge had served as a beacon to bushwalkers, camping out school children and tired business executives looking for moments of quiet respite.

Binna Burra is gone and its future remains uncertain at the moment, because restoring the site to its original condition has to take a lot of things into consideration. Mr. Noakes acknowledges that there are now different dynamics affecting the way land is managed today, when compared to how it was 86 years ago.

Professor Catherine Pickering from the Griffith University – School of Environment and Science at Griffith University, said that if rebuilding of the complex is to be tackled, the structures must be designed in a way that factor in changes in climate conditions. As it is, changing patterns of dryness and rainfalls have been expanding, which is also driving changes in the way humans must interact with the land and its ecosystems.

Still, the Binna Burra website carries on with hope for the rapid rebuilding and rehabilitation of Binna Burra Lodge with the help of the taskforce created by the Queensland State Government.

Note: This guest post is sponsored by mebsites.com, which provides facilities for web hosting gold coast.

Art Censorship Wielded on Karachi Biennale’s “Karachi Killing Fields” Exhibit

Art censorship and repression have become issues that have received annual reports detailing documented cases of intolerance to artworks. In light of the threats posed to artistic freedom, Freemuse published a report last April 2019, captioned as “Whose Narrative Counts;” presenting hundreds of documented cases of art censorship from across 80 countries during the past year.

The most recent case that the Freemuse organization will like include in its next report is the closing down of the “Karachi Killing Fields,” sculptural exhibition of Paskistani artist Adeela Suleman. A few hours after the courtyard of the historic Frere Hall opened to display Suleman’s 444 tombstone-like sculptures, a pair of plainclothes policemen arrived and ordered the biennale organizers to shutdown that particular exhibit.

Suleman, who teaches at the Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture, held a press conference to voice her reaction against the censorship; saying

“My work was just a story of incidents that took place in Karachi around a year ago.” — There was nothing in it that was not already public knowledge”

However, Pakistani authorities also ordered the discontinuance of the press conference, since Suleman was referring to the numerous incidents of extrajudicial killings carried out by local police authorities working under former police chief superintendent Rao Anwar. Her tombstone sculptures reminded people of victims that died as a result of instantaneous and wide open summary killings.

Actually, Suleman’s tombstone sculptures were also knocked down and the door leading to the “Karachi Killing Fields” exhibition was padlocked. The head of the Karachi Parks Division later told Samas TV said that the exhibition was removed because Suleman’s installation was as a form of vandalism

Biennale Organizers’ Reaction to the Shutdown and Destruction of Suleman’s “Karachi Killing Fields” Exhibit

The shutdown of the exhibit mounted by Suleman sparked outcries of protests coming from both local and international artists and activists. Some even staged a “die-in” protest against the censorship, but to no avail.

The Karachi Biennale organizers issued a statement saying that they are also against censorship of art. However, with regard to the exhibit in question, they came to realize that the artist’s perspective was not compatible with the biennale’s theme of “Ecology and the Environment” and the ethos of the biennale under KB No.19.

UK Study Provides Proof that the Arts and Culture Offer of Communities Pose as Place-Shaping Factors

In 2017, the Arts Council England commissioned Wavehill Ltd to conduct research to determine whether the arts and cultural offering of an area is a factor that attracts individuals and businesses to settle there; and of how that area’s cultural offer shapes local identity of that place.

The report on the study entitled “The Value of Arts and Culture in Place-Shaping” was published on August 21, 2019, giving insights on the impact of arts and culture in shaping six (6) different places: Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham, Halifax, Hastings, Southampton and Redruth. In conducting the study, the research company examined 1,756 responses to the UK-wide survey launched in 2017. The report proved that funding for the arts is a valid cause, as the analysis showed that art and cultural features have been instrumental in attracting new residents to the smaller communities.

Nicholas Serota, the chairperson of Arts Council England and former Tate director, also wrote an essay in The Guardian, giving emphasis to the hard evidence provided by the research. He elaborated on how the study shows that the arts matter to people across the country, giving support to the importance of making greater investments in cultural dwvelopments.

Based on the latest report commissioned by the Arts Council England, Mr. Serota wrote of how from Hull to Margate, creative projects not only brought money and life back to high streets but also also boosted wellbeing, among community dwellers. Moreover, the study also revealed how people tend to base decisions on where to live by looking into the arts and culture, in addition to offers of good schools. The Arts Council England chairman wrote

”There is not only tangible value in investment in the arts, but also huge public demand for it.”

The City of Hull Sets a Good Example of How Investments in Arts and Culture Create Positive Impact

In the essay, Chairman Serota cited the city of Hull as the most obvious example. The positive impact of art and culture made Hull the City of Culture in 2017. Hull’s economy received a boost from their programme, as the local tourism industry generated £300m throughout the year.

The Art Council England chair also wrote that the benefits experienced by the city went far beyond economic growth. Arts and culture helped instill in the local people, a renewed pride in the history of Hull and in boosting their confidence over its global role. At the end of the year, 75% of Hull residents said they were proud to live in the city.

Even worth mentioning is that Hull’s achievement has been replicated by smaller towns, including post-industrial, coastal and market towns.

Studies Prove the Importance of Emotional Connection to Creative Marketing Ideas

Marketing professors Kelly Herd of the University of Connecticut and Ravi Mehta of the University of Illinois recently conducted experiments that proved the importance of emotional connection to the effectiveness of creative marketing ideas.

According to Professor Herd, the study can be linked to a 2016 report published in the Business News Daily, which found 82% of company executives sharing the belief that there is a strong connection between business results and creativity. The view relates to the current marketing strategy of sourcing new ideas directly from consumers; by asking suggestions about products or services that they want the company to introduce as new product line.

Professor Herd cited how companies like Starbucks, Frito-Lay, LEGO and even the U.S. Army, base their innovation, as well as their research and development mostly on consumer recommendations. The view is that in a highly competitive marketplace, innovation and new products based on consumer recommendations, will enable manufacturers to survive and endure the competition.

Yet mental imagery depicting consumer emotion, used creatively in marketing new products is also of utmost importance. Through their research, marketing professors Kelly Herd and Ravi Mehta, provided new evidence demonstrating the importance of creativity influenced by mental imagery and its ability to affect consumer emotion. They then presented the results in a report entitled “Head vs. Heart: the Effect of Objective versus Feelings-Based Mental Imagery on New Product Creativity,” .

How the Study was Conducted

The objective of the experiments conducted was to show, how giving value to an end-user’s feeling can be a powerful tool in developing designs for new products deemed as solutions to problems found in the marketplace.

The research was founded on the premise that initially focusing on emotions or feelings based on the point of view of consumers creates cognitive flexibility among the designers. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to simultaneously consider matters in different perspectives. In having such an ability, product designers can “shift avenues of thought” when perceiving and processing information toward creativity.

Separate experiments were conducted in which participants were asked to design a kid’s toy, to select ingredients for a new cereal for children and to reinvent a grocery cart for the benefit of the elderly. Half of the groups of participants were instructed to imagine their respective target consumer’s feelings and emotions before starting out with the task. The other half was simply tasked to perform the assignment objectively, without considering consumer emotions or feelings.

Judges regarded as experts in the subject product, were simply asked to identify the most creative design based on their own expertise and knowledge of the subject. They had no knowledge of the objective and the emotion-based approaches that specific groups received as instructions. As the judging results demonstrated, creative product designs that took into consideration consumer-emotions, proved the importance of using product imagery created by way of cognitive flexibility.

Van Gogh’s Letter to Critic Who Wrote First Printed-Review of His Artwork Now on Public Exhibit

Vincent van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter acclaimed as the greatest Dutch painter next to Rembrandt, but only much later after his death in 1890 at the age of 37. Throughout his career as a painter, this famous Dutch artist was practically unknown, and had remained poor during his lifetime.

After a series of failed courtships and relationships, as well as rejections encountered in his bid to become an evangelist, Van Gogh’s psychological condition slowly deteriorated. Hi mental decline had led to a particular incident in which he cut off his ear and subsequently committed to a mental asylum.

Today, Van Gogh paintings are ranked among the most priceless in the world, fetching owners as much as $53.9 million, (“Irises”) to $82.5 million (“Portrait of Dr. Gachet”) at auctions.

A Backgrounder to the Critic’s Letter

Even while at the asylum, Van Gogh continued to paint, to which the most notable artwork he produced was “The Starry Night.” An art critic named Albert Aurier, wrote a first ever-printed review that praised one of Van Gogh’s works, describing it as

“…excess, excess in strength, excess in nervousness, violence in expression.”

Vincent was so elated over Aurier’s positive review, he wrote the critic a thank-you letter, expressing his appreciation,

. “I rediscover my canvases in your article, but better than they really are – richer, more significant…”

Sadly, four months after sending the thank-you letter, Vincent Willem van Gogh committed suicide. Although Van Gogh was discharged from the mental asylum earlier, he was still distraught about his future and apparently found a reason to end his life by fatally shooting himself in the chest.

Van Gogh’s Letter to Critic Aurier Goes On Public Display at Amsterdam Museum

Through the years since Van Gogh became one of the world’s most important artists, Van Gogh’s letter to the critic passed through the hands of several art collectors. The last owner, a murky character named Aristophil was able to purchase the letter from an auction where the Van Gogh Museum had hoped to procure it. Aristophil though, a known schemer of investments went bankrupt, finally sending the much coveted Van Gogh letter in the auction market in Paris.

Early this month, and with the financial assistance of Hong Kong tycoon Cheung Chung-kiu, the Van Gogh Museum was able to secure Van Gogh’s letter to Aurier, and put it in public display in what is believed to be a first time.