Responses to The Creative Vacuum

It’s always exciting to hear from ASBX readers and listeners! Mara Thomas’s most recent blog post about the Creative Vacuum (that yucky time after a creative finish line) sparked some interesting conversation and helpful tips from local artists. Hurrah! You’ll see three responses below as well as an excerpt from Mara’s post (go back and read the whole thing!). Note: the most frequent comment that we received from her blog post was how REAL the creative vacuum is. It’s real.

Hang in there, artists. Take care of yourselves in all the phases of your process. Let us know if you have thoughts/tips/perspective shifts that you’d like to share.

Excerpt from The Creative Vacuum:

Who out there is familiar with the creative vacuum? 
You’ve been rehearsing for weeks and the show finally opens and then… 

You’ve written and recorded new songs, had the album release and then…

You’ve been working furiously in the studio getting ready for the gallery show and then…

The culminating event has happened, the frenetic pace you’ve been working under no longer needs to be maintained, you suddenly have [gasp!] free time and instead of feeling relaxed and content you feel kind of… flat. Empty. Hungover. 

Welcome to The Vacuum. 

Response from Jim McQuaid, Filmmaker, Turnip Films

“The post-artistic-letdown vacuum is certainly real. I’ve found that an approach which Scott Myers (gointothestory) calls “stacking” is useful. 

Stacking projects simply means being in different stages of multiple projects. I find that the the energy of production & pre-production is very different from the energy of writing, which is different from editing & finishing a film. 

Mixing in work for others that is more bounded (directing a short for a friend or doing a few days of shooting on someone else’s project) is a good element in the mix. And educational. 

One of the things I love about filmmaking is this very impure mixture of activities and types of work. Of course that’s the good news / bad news thing about low-end indie film. One generally has to wear a lot of different hats. 

Finally, film enables the “vacuum-friendly” situation where just watching TV can be counted as ‘education,’ even if it’s really vegging out. “

Response from Wendy Spitzer, Musician and Interdisciplinary Artist, Felix Obelix

“The comedown is so real.  I’m no longer surprised, but it never gets any easier or feels any different, even though it’s predictable. One trick I’ve found is to not go from Giant Project X’s ending directly into nothing. You think you’ll want to just sit around and do nothing, but that’s when the real lows start for me. Downshift with a smaller, easily achievable project so you’re not going from the adrenaline high directly into a complete void. It takes the edge off.”

Response from Erin Bell, Photographer, Bull City Photography

“Rest is part of the art y’all.”

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