Hello, I'm a creative
Hello, my name is Alan and I’m a creative.
I've been accused of being an artist but I've never been comfortable with that title
I've had four small local showings. One with my daughter, “Down the Rabbit Hole”, and one solo, “Summer of Love” devoted to the 1967 San Francisco summer of the same name. Along with two showings focused on my photography. (Side note: I will accept the title of photographer.)
Along the way I have sold a fair share of creations.
I create things.
I don't see a beautiful landscape and paint it. I don't pose a model and mold their image from a brick of clay.
I dream of things to create, and then go about the process needed to make them a reality.
I’ve used all sorts of materials in my creations. I’m fond of reusing materials, keeping them out of the landfills. I’ve torn apart, sanded and planed more old pallets than I care to remember. Sheets of Styrofoam are also a favorite medium.
I’ve burned images into wood using torches and gunpowder.
I created a gnome from a concrete statue for the Iowa State Fair.
I created a six-foot popsicle for that Summer of Love show.
At one point in life I created stage sets for a national organization’s annual awards show. I’d fabricate them in my home’s two-car garage, pack them in a cargo van and drive them to their destination, set them up the day of the show, tear them down that night and drive them back home again.
For Austin, Texas, I created eight-foot Styrofoam electric guitars with fiber optic lights, and four-foot musical notes hanging from 10-foot tall poles. For Minneapolis, Minn., it was an 8-by-12-foot shopping bag made from plywood with a pink piggy bank, artist pallet and television spilling out the side. For Savannah, Georgia, it was a six-foot tall, 16-feet wide, stained glass installation made with plexiglass.
Most recently I’ve downsized, devoting myself to creating lamps and clocks. I had a pretty good start with that prior to covid rearing its ugly head and seeming to take all focus away from anything not associated with work and daily life.
The gallery where I showed my creations closed just as covid swept in. It was dealt the death blow more by 2019’s Mississippi River flooding which forced an extended closure only to reopen a few short months prior to the pandemic, closing permanently in early 2020.
Since then I’ve had little time to find a new outlet for showing my creations so creating new pieces gradually moved to the backburner.
BUT, one thing I learned in just the past few months is I have to be creative. I have to be stirring the creative juices in order to be happy.
We all have things we do in life that make us happy. For some it’s gardening, for others it’s fishing, for still others it might be physical activity such as running or Crossfit.
For me, it’s traveling and being creative. Covid took traveling away and I didn’t realize how much I missed creating until this winter when the days seemed to drag and life itself became nothing but dull and dreary.
I’d allowed myself to drift away from creating things until one day I began work on a new project, painting a church pew I acquired when the gallery closed. Almost instantly, the sun seemed a little more bright and the days just slightly more cheerful. I did nothing more than begin work on that church pew and everything began to change.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. One I probably already knew but needed that reminder for it really to sink in. I’m a creative.
So as retirement comes I will be including creation in my life. I encourage you to do the same with your life. Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it and don’t forget to continue doing it. It’s far too easy to let things that make us who we are slip away as we deal with the challenges of just living a life.
It’s been said so often that it sounds so trite, but it still rings true, make time for yourself, before there’s no time left.