I doubt anyone would call artist and writer Julia Couzens’ life dull. She is an art critic for the Sacramento Bee, and a productive fine artist. She recently gave a presentation as part of the Centennial Lecture Series at the Sacramento City College Art Department. Her first slide said:
It’s the journey, not the destination.
Questions live longer than answers.
Sometimes the back side is the piece.
She also distributed the “Incomplete Manifesto for Growth” by Bruce Mau. This manifesto, she said, is the secret of life. It certainly is the key to understanding her creative life. In the subsequent slides she showed us her work. “I like chaos. I like dissonance.” Her work shows 3. Process is more important than outcome and 4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
I was able to participate in this lecture series because I enrolled in a Collage/Assemblage studio art class at Sacramento City College. It has been terrific for opening up both sides of my brain to more creativity. I recommend all leaders find a creative expression that helps them to be more intuitive and get back in touch with something you enjoy doing.
This weekend I caught up with my major professor now retired from USC. John Odell is taking voice lessons and sings in two vocal groups. He is finding great pleasure in this creative expression. Don’t wait until retirement to make time for this in your leadership life.
I am realizing that much of my redesign at 49 has evolved into finding the space for a creative life–writing, doing art, or taking naps. And in so doing I am approaching all of my work challenges more creatively. Taking the class this semester has helped me be much more intentional. Listening to Side Hustle School podcast has helped motivate me to work towards it every day.
Last week I listened to Rob Bell’s podcast “The Importance of Boredom” but I don’t think he really meant boredom. What he was really talking about is making time to unplug and allow creative thought. I am finding since I started the class that I am less interested in watching movies or television shows and more interested in creating my own stuff. And it is anything but boring because you inevitably grow and change when you create.
One last thought, I looked up a few of Julia Couzen’s reviews in the Sacramento Bee’s Arts & Theater and loved her review of the Diebenkorn and Matisse show at SFMOMA (March 23, 2017). It is is a beautiful example of Mou’s Manifesto #23. Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.