Marilag Lubag's Blog

The War between Mess and Cleanliness | February 1, 2016

People often stereotype artists for being messy and unreliable. Like other artistic stereotypes, it’s an exaggeration of how artists really are. It’s the sliver of truth among the mountain of lies. An artist needs mess in his or her life because creativity thrives in chaos. Often, there are hidden treasures hidden in the cesspool of mess. An artist could see the association—like a spark that could create the fire. As long as there’s mess, an artist could organize it to his or her advantage, creating something entirely new.

Artists thrives in the mess, either in their lives or in the way they organize their materials. That isn’t to say that an artist won’t benefit from being organized. It would simplify their lives. Last week, I was trying to remember the steps I took in order to create my dad’s beanie. However, I had forgotten the color of the yarn I used. I had to go to the yarn’s website in order to get the color of the yarn. Needless to say, it taught me to become more organized. That afternoon, I spent the entire time cataloging my yarn collection.

Having an extremely ordered environment kills creativity. For some reason, I find myself experiencing writer’s block if I had to do an outline. That being said, when I’m writing a story, I let my mind wander and let myself sort through the mess that was my mind’s vomit after I step away from my story. New ideas occur more frequently when it is between cleanliness and chaos. If an artist is extremely organized, I would have to wonder if the person is truly an artist. I understand if a painter is organized in terms of their paint or their brushes. However, if they don’t make a mess while they’re working, I often wonder if they’re using their right side of the brain—their creative mind. On the other hand, it would make things harder to find if people are extremely disorganized. Instead of making a quick edit, it would take a writer two hours just to find the special pen they use for that particular job.

An artist needs to find a balance between the two—they need to be messy enough so that they could be creative but organized enough to find the things they needed to find quickly. Finding the balance is the key to creating the project they were making in a unique and timely manner.

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