I'm calling it. The creativity revival. It's happening, and it's about time.
When did you last pick up a pencil with the intentions of creating more than a well-crafted shopping list? When did you last speak to a friend about this wondrous project you've started that's so personal to you? When did you last feel that buzz of achievement from self-expression?
Until a year and a half ago, mine was when I booked a life drawing session for a friend's birthday in 2015, and I think that only answers the first of my three questions. I'll be honest, I intended to find something unusual that would make my prudish friend uncomfortable - that gives you a little insight into our friendship! I cracked myself up as I convinced her that these ten people in the room were expecting her to strip down and pose as the drawing subject. As she turned back to leave the room, the naked model entered.
Charcoals selected and canvas straightened; silence echoed the room. It turned out that I was the immature one that spent the first 15 minutes awkwardly giggling behind the easel as my friend intently shaped and blended the model's curves.
An hour in, our charcoaled fingertips were accompanied with the buzz of doing something new (oh wait, am I answering the third question?). We proudly discussed how much fun it was to dedicate time to art - something that we would never do as two girls working in the corporate London bubble. We vowed to continue and book on to another class as we promised to make this a regular thing. After all, it's a class that runs every Saturday - what a winning idea. We erupted with enthusiasm to get to the next session. It was a place for the pure joy of swooping strokes of black carbon against that white canvas with no broader purpose than to create. A bold, vibrant and connecting experience.
We booked on to the next six classes, is what I would like to tell you. But it remains a pipe-dream for those two city girls from four years ago.
The older I get, the more it feels like life clicks into survival mode and we only make time for the necessities in life (and somehow Friday night Aperols are included in that). Where has our creativity gone? Why does it slip away from us after childhood?
I wondered if it has something to do with the creative confidence dip. We are more self-conscious and self-aware than ever and have become labourers to comparison. (I include myself in this too.) Creating can be easy and difficult, simple and complex, grounding and revolutionising, connecting and disconnecting all at the same time. That's the beauty of it.
Creating should be the most liberating of acts that is a product of our unique insights and experiences - art is wholly subjective and shouldn't be about crowd-pleasing or external validation but more about enjoyment and release. The irony is that connection is the byproduct of our most authentic expressions.
That's why it's my mission to create and connect deeper as we round off this year, which leads me to announce - Creative Connections with Rachel Matthews. My new business podcast where I will chat with people that have made bold life changes to prioritise creativity; I'll ask them how they started and what creating has brought to their lives. Think of it as a creative podcast accompanied with probing business questions for those that want to turn a passion into something more. That being said, it's equally relevant to those of you who fancy hearing how the creative business owners live so you can nab aspects to introduce into your everyday life.
So, trade-in an hour of those spreadsheets for creative audio while splatting your paint ridden fingertips across that blank canvas; who knows what you could create.
Creative Connections with Rachel Matthews coming late 2019.